215+ Google Ranking Factors – The Ultimate List

We all know that Google uses more than 200 factors to rank a particular web page in search index. Today, we are highlighting all these factors together. Below is a graph showing all important parameters:

Some of below factors were never confirmed by Google; however, they are listed according to the expert opinions and numerous case studies. Scroll down for the detailed list of Google Ranking Factors: It will help you to optimize your website better.

Note: No one can tell you the concrete parameters used for ranking, except Google itself. However, this is just a small attempt to let you know how they ranks webpages.
Google Ranking Factors

I. Page Level

1. Keyword in Title Tag

The title of the web page is the most important thing that you should worry about. Your page title appears in Google search result which plays a crucial role in attracting visitor.

2. Keyword in Description tag (just to improve CTR)

This is not included in ranking factors but the meta description helps Google to analyze your content topic more specifically which also helps you to increase your CTR in SERPs.

title of post

3. Keyword in H1 tag

H1 is the second title tag of the content; they help search engines understand your content in a better way.

4. Content Length

Usually long length articles are more helpful than shorter ones. Less than 300 words (not fixed) are considered as a thin content. Take this post as an example, we can’t explain Google ranking factors within 300 words.

KeywordPositionWord Count
How To Conduct A Job Interview11810
How To Write A Cover Letter11254
How To Do Keyword Research11004
How To Groom A Beard1980
How To Hypotnize Someone12320
Most Expensive Software11075

5. Keyword as a first word in title tag

Title tags that start with focus keyword generally perform better than title having keyword at middle or end position.

6. Keyword in most frequent used phrase

Keyword distributed all over the content tells the relevancy of title and content which is another ranking signal.

7. Keyword Density

Keyword density factor is still used by Google and more than 2% density might hurt your web page ranking.

8. LSI Keywords in Title and Description tag

Quality content may contain few similar words in description tag. LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) looks for synonyms of focus keyword stuffed in tittle and description.

9. Duplicate Content

Duplicate or slightly modified content present on the same website can drop your ranking in search engine positions.

10. Page Loading Speed (HTML)

Web crawler (also known as spiders) can estimate (and measure) your site speed based on page code and content size. Slow page load time (usually more than 6 seconds) will definitely increase your web rank as well as bounce rate.

11. Page Loading Speed (Chrome)

Google also uses Chrome data to get more accurate information about page load time. Server response time and CDN service are also taken into account.

12. Canonical URL

Use Canonical URL to prevent multiple URLs for the same content. If you have more than one URL for single post, Google will consider them as multiple or copied data.

13. Recently Updated page

In case of time sensitive searches, Google Caffeine gives priority to recently updated contents. Google displays the page’s last update date along with the search result.

14. Page Update History

Frequency of page update also plays an important role in ranking. How often the information present in post updated; day, week, month or year? This shows the freshness of content.

15. Percentage of content update

One can’t simply fool Google by adding single white space or character in order to alter the update frequency. Along with the frequency, Google also analysis how much data have been updated.

16. Image optimization

The images present on the quality content are like cherry on the cake. Don’t forget to put title, alt text and description of image. They help Google to understand what your image is about.

17. Early Keyword

Keyword appearing in first 100-150 shows the content relevancy. No one will read your article if you go off topic. The same fact is used by Google while ranking web pages.

18. Keyword in H2 and H3 tag

Keywords appearing in Header 2 or 3 might enhance your chances to rank high.

19. Keyword in URL

This is another relevant factor – your keywords should present in URL instead of any random post id number.

20. Keyword Word Order

An exact match of the query and content phrase generally results in higher search position. That’s why Keyword Research plays a crucial role in traffic generation.

21. Keyword Density Across Domain

Krishna Bharat introduced a new algorithm Hilltop, which improved search by looking at the relevance of entire website, labeled experts. The algorithm first evaluates a list of most relevant experts on the query topic and then, identifies the relevant links within the selected set of experts and follows them to identify target web pages. The targets are ranked according to the number and relevance of non-affiliated experts that point to them.

22. Outbound Links

The URL(s) you are referring to, tells the search engine about the content relevancy. For example, if you write a word “Apple” and insert an outbound link to Apple.com, this will be interpreted as you are talking about the company, not the fruit.

23. Outbound link quality

Linking to trusted website having higher authority generally helps you in a positive way. Never redirect your audience to any unknown language page and malware.

24. Spelling and Grammar

Nowadays search engine checks for both spelling and grammar including natural language used in the content.

25. Relevancy of Outbound link

The theme of the outbound link should be similar as your content. If you are writing about “Fast Cars” and linking to “Cooking methods”, this is obliviously gonna hurt your SERPs.

26. Useful supplementary content

Along with your content if you add few extra things that are somehow helpful for users; that is supplementary content. For example, if you are writing about personal home loans, you can add interest calculator, interest rate of various banks etc.

27. Number of Outbound links

There are 2 types of links Nofollow and Dofollow (learn more). Too many outbound Dofollow links can dilute the PageRank and so your search engine visibility.

28. Content Uniqueness

You have heard so many times “The content is King”. Well, that’s definitely true. Google is always hungry for a unique piece of stuff.

29. Number of internal links

The number of internal links shows the importance as well as dependency of web pages present on your website.

30. Quality of internal links

Internal Links from authoritative and well indexed pages always have a higher impact as compared to thin quality pages.

31. Multimedia

Adding multimedia such as Video, Infographics, Images or audio file can help your audience grab information efficiently and quickly, which is another quality signal.

32. Broken links

Having too many broken links on a single page is a sign of dead, old, inaccurate and not useful page. This might degrade your performance in search engine.

33. Affiliate links

Affiliate links alone can’t hurt your site at all. But too many affiliate links can attract Google to reanalyze your website. And if they found “no added value content” or “content made for affiliates only”, no doubt, they will penalize your webpage.

34. Novel Document Content

Google devalues a lot more than just similar content. It has different patent methods for calling your article uninteresting. One of them is Novelty Score, which determines the amount of novel content contained in each document of the ordered sequence of documents. The novelty score is usually checked against a page and overall website content.

35. Page Host’s Domain Authority

If similar content is present on two different pages of different domain, Google will give priority to the one having higher Domain Authority.

36. PageRank of Page

In previous case, what if the domain authority is same, then the priority will be given to the page with higher PageRank.

37. URL path depth

A post closer to the home page directory generally tends to have higher authority as compared to far away pages from home URL.

38. URL length

Excessively long URL is not good in Google’s perspective. That’s why many SEOs have URL length cut off functions.

39. Reading level

This shows the ease to read content. Too Long paragraph, ugly spacing, fonts and formatting, make your article hard to read.

40. Page Category

Similar content should clustered under a single category. If the category page is indexed well in search engine, then the post under the same category gets a boost.

41. WordPress Tag

If you relate one content to another or group of pages to other internal pages, Somehow this is gonna affect you crawl efficiency as well as webpage ranking.

42. References and Sources

Getting references from well-established sources or indicating few of those sources in your content is sign of Quality content. For Example: Wikipedia displays several external sources at the end of the article.

43. Pages Priority in Sitemap

Priority of page is given through Sitemap.xml file. You can set the priority from 0.0 to 1.0.

44. Too many Outbound links

Few pages consist of more than enough outbound links. According to Google’s perspective, they are only to distract user from content. The number is not fixed but around 150 outbound links can be considered as a threshold.

45. Bullet or Numbered List

Bullet and Numbered list are more user friendly and much easier to read as compared to paragraph. That’s the reason Google more likely prefer listed contents.

46. Layout Quality

If you are using well-structured layout which gives immediate visibility to the main content, your webpage will rank higher in search results. Don’t let the user scroll to get to the beginning of the article he/she is looking for.

47. Close Keywords

The closeness of one word to other implies association. For example, one paragraph about “second hand car in New York” would rank higher (especially in New York) than two paragraphs of “second hand car” and “New York”.

48. Age of Page

Google always prefers fresh content. However, the old content which is updated regularly gets more priority.

49. Useful Content

There is a lot of difference between Quality and Useful Content. Google prefers Useful Content. This can be best explained by taking an example, suppose you are searching for “Pinched Nerve”. You got 2 results. The first one is from ans.yahoo.com and second is from mayoclinic.com. The second one is written in a high professional language that contains formal and complex terms which is not clear to all, except doctors. Obviously, the second result is far better in quality, but not useful for major audience. So in this case, Google will prefer ans.yahoo.com.

50. Number of other Keywords page ranks for

If a page ranks very well for other keywords, this represents the quality and popularity of page.

51. LSI in Content

Latent Semantic Indexing searches for synonyms present in the content. For example, if your title is “New Cars” the search engine would expect to find related words in the content like “BMW”, “Mercedes”, “Used cars” “automobile” etc. That means, having synonyms or related phrase might produce a fruitful result for your web page.

52. Code Error on Page

Lots of HTML, CSS, JavaScript and PHP errors and broken codes indicate poor quality webpage which is gonna hurt you in SERPs.

53. Page TF-IDF

Term Frequency-Inverse Document Frequency weighs the density of the keyword on a page in order to under the article. It ignores the words like “the”, “or”, “it” in computation and establishes how many times a human writer should probably mention a phrase in an article. It gives reasonable salience predictions.

54. HTTP Expires Headers

Invalid HTTP tag and expires header can cause problems with search indexing by telling search engines that content will not be refreshed again for potentially a long time.

55. Human Editor

Although, Google Algorithm is not smart enough yet to detect all loopholes, they also allow human (Manual Action) to influence SERPs in order to provide better results.

II. WebSpam 

On-Page Factors

56. Panda Penalty

On 23rd February 2011, Google launches first Panda algorithm in order to punish thin and duplicate content. This was the major step taken by Google that affected 12% of search queries.

57. Redirects

Sneaky redirects/cloaking is prohibited. Websites get banned or penalized hardly for doing so.

58. Linking to Low Quality Content

Be aware of your external links. Linking to low quality neighbors can affect you in a negative manner.

59. Page Over Optimization

Page over optimization is considered as gaming Google into tricks. These kinds of articles were written for search engine instead for reader and also they don’t provide any value. Keyword stuffing is a great example of over optimization.

60. Site Over Optimization

This one is same as above, but at domain level. It generally includes keyword stuffing, excessive keyword (and links) in header or footer, hidden text etc.

61. PageRank Sculpting

Excessive PageRank Sculpting i.e. adding Nofollow tag to all outbound and internal links might gonna hurt you.

62. Meta tag Spam

It is usually observed that majority of keyword stuffing is done in Meta description. Repeating your focus keyword in meta tag can penalize your entire website.

63. Affiliate Links

Site with Affiliate links are observed carefully and if your website contains a lot of distracting links directed to eCommerce site, you deserve to be penalized.

64. Hiding Affiliate Links

If you are trying to hide few affiliate links with cloaking, better not to do so.

65. Distracting Ads

Distracting ads like Pop up and Pop under are generally found in low quality websites/contents. This includes too many ads on a single page, high ads to content ratio, “download” ads, extra-large and flashy banner.

66. Long Internal Link Anchors

Too long internal anchor text could draw keyword stuffing webspam penalties. Make sure your anchor texts have reasonable lengths.

67. Overuse of Heading Tags

Make sure you are not using too many heading tags (h1, h2 or h3). Placing multiple h1 tags could result in penalty. The best technique is to use single h1 tag following relevant number of h2 (and h3) tags.

68. High Link-to-Text Ratio

Having a webpage that is all links and no added content is the sign of low quality site. You might get penalized for doing this.

69. Ads Above the Fold

Ads above the fold are OK. Even Google search results show ads at top position. But too many ads that force the reader to scroll the page to find original content is not a sign of good quality. Remember, visitor is the first priority for Google, distracting them from valuable content in any form could cause penalty.

distracting with ads

70. IP Address Spam

If the IP address of your server is already blacklisted by Google or if it contains too many spammy websites, this could affect your SERPs.

71. Autogenerated Content

According to the Google Guideline, if your site is delivering automated or computer generated content, it could result in penalty.

72. JavaScript and CSS hidden Content

If your site uses JavaScript, make sure you place the same content from the JavaScript in a <noscript> tag in order to avoid cloaking penalty. Also, make your CSS files accessible via Robot.txt file.

Off Page Factor

73. Penguin Penalty

On 24th April 2012, Google releases first Penguin algorithm which is designed to target link bombing and spam indexing. The aim is to drop the ranking of particular websites violating Google guideline rule and still remain on the top.

74. Percentage of Low Quality Links

Major amount of low quality links are result of Black Hat SEO such as blog commenting, profiles in forms etc. If you don’t have backlinks from high authority sites, your site can’t rank on top for high competitive keywords.

75. Linking to Relevant Site

Large number of irrelevant or off topic links can cause penguin penalty.

76. Unnatural linking

Unnatural linking refers to any linking process that is done with intent to fool search engines. Google sends thousands of manual penalty warning and messages through Webmaster tool for detected unnatural links. This likely result in “ranking drop”.

77. Link Building on Same Server IP

Not only the quality and quantity of backlinks, Google also observes how and from where the site is gaining those backlinks. Getting links from the same server IP is a sign of blog network link building which will not give you any benefit.

78. Anchor Text Spam

Getting a majority of backlinks from same anchor text shows the sign of spam. Usually this results in penguin penalty.

79. Selling Links

Gone are the days when buying or selling links helps you to rank high. Nowadays the situation is exactly opposite; doing so can penalize your website for building unnatural links.

80. Manual Penalty

In spite of all smart algorithms search engines have, what if you still know a trick to rank high? In that particular case, Google can take manual action against any thin quality content.

81. Disavow Tool

Disavow tool helps webmaster telling Google Not to follow few specific links. If you believe there are a few links that can harm your site, you can send them through disavow tool in CSV and txt format. The tool is generally used for lifting manual and algorithm penalty.

82. Chrome Blocked Sites

Google Chrome comes with a tool that allows you to block certain sites. There is no concrete proof that this is an automated ranking factor, but we also don’t believe that nobody (especially from the webspam team) is looking at this data.

83. SandBox

Google Sandbox (a temporary name) is a concept which is used for brand new websites only. If a site suddenly gets large amount of ordinary links, they are put under sandbox which means they are temporary out of the top pages.

84. Google Dance

In this concept, Google runs the update on a specific day. Then it will gradually push out that impact over 10-15 days or so throughout the month. The cycle repeats every month.

85. Overuse of Bold, Italic and other emphasis

Bold tags are often given additional weight compared to the rest of the content. However, if you make your whole content (or major part) bold or italic, you could get penalized for “spammy activities”.

86. Reconsideration Request

The webmaster can send a reconsideration request in case of manual action. Within 2-3 week, Google replies whether the penalty is revoked or not. However, a lot of webmasters say that they haven’t seen any change in traffic behavior even after the penalty is revoked.

 

III. Backlinks

87. Number of Pages Linked

This is the number of pages linking to your site. Whether links come from the same domain or from different sources, they matter.

88. PageRank of backlink

Just one link from higher PageRank (PR) site is more powerful than n number of links from site having low PR. For example, it is more profitable to have 1 link from a PR 10 website rather than having 100 links from different PR 3 sites.

89. Linked Domain Age

The age of the website that is pointing you plays a very crucial role in ranking. The old domain has a much powerful impact than the new one.

90. Number of Links from separate class

Links from different server represents how wide and well known your site is.

91. Links from .gov, .edu and .org domains

Most of the people have a great misconception about links from other domain extension like .edu and .gov are more powerful than .com extension. Google is not racist 🙂 they give equal importance to all domain extensions. That means, it’s quality of link that matters, not extension.

92. Authority of Backlinking Domain

The authority of domain ranges from 0 to 100. It’s more difficult to get value 50 from 40 than getting 20 from 10. Higher the page authority of back-linking website, higher will be your profit.

93. Placement of Link (Content)

Link at the beginning are slightly more powerful than the link at the bottom of the content.

94. Placement of Link (Page)

Links present in the content body are given more priority than the links in footer, header and sidebar.

95. Rapid Gain/Loss of Links

Rapid link growth or fall is highly likely to invite additional scrutiny from webspam filters. However, it seems fine when it comes from genuine (or high authority) webpages in case content goes viral.

96. Social Share Link

Social Share can influence the value of page that has been shared. In fact, large numbers of g+ page followers can improve your organic traffic, as the follower can see your post in search results.

97. “Our partners” Link

A few keywords like “sponsored links”, “our clients”, “advertisement”, “sponsors” etc. can degrade the value of links.

98. Anchor Text (Backlink)

Backlink anchor text often provides a small description of a web page. Nowadays getting excessive links from same anchor text is considered as a sign of webspam.

99. Anchor Text (Internal Link)

Internal anchor text link is also counted in ranking factor however they are not as much powerful as Backlink anchor text are.

100. Link Title

Here we are talking about the link title that appears when you hover on anchor text. Although, they didn’t have much impact but they still taken into account.

101. Alt text of Image Link

You didn’t get links through content’s text but also through images. Alt text is the anchor text of the image of back-linking website.

102. Number of Root Domain

More importance will be given if a website’s home page is pointing to your site.  The quantity as well as quality of linking root domain plays a crucial role while ranking web pages.

103. Content Links

Links embedded within the article are extremely powerful as compared to links on comment section or forum profile.

104. Link Type

High percentage of links that comes from the same type of sources like forum profile, blog commenting is a sign of unnatural linking or spamming.

105. Backlink Age

Older backlinks are given higher priority over newer ones.

106. Competitor Links

Getting links from competitive website or site ranking for same keyword in search engine can boost your performance.

107. Links from low quality site

A low quality site is one that contains duplicate or low added value content, spams, automated redirection, high ad to content ratio, nasty layout etc. Getting links from these sites likely results in penguin penalty.

108. NoFollow Links

Google says they don’t follow them, but in certain cases they do. For better results you must add rel=”nofollow” to untrusted user comments, guest-posts and paid links.

109. 301 Redirects to Page

Excessive links coming through 301 redirect affects PageRank in a negative manner.

110. Country Specific Domain

Getting link from domains like .co, .uk, .in, .de, .cn, .us etc. can help your website rank higher in that particular country.

111. Linking Domain Relevancy

Generally, a link from similar website is more powerful than the link from off topic site.

112. Linking Page Relevancy

Same as above, but this works at page level i.e. links from similar page content have more positive impact than the links from random page.

113. Link Review

Google also analysis’s the words around the anchor text of the website pointing at your page. Somehow the ranking depends on whether your site is part of recommendation or negative review. And of course, negative emotions around links can hurt your ranking.

114. Similar Keyword in Title

Links on the page that contains your focus keyword in title tag are given more importance.

115. Link Velocity (Positive)

Link velocity is the rate of speed of links you are getting. For example
Week 1: 10 backlinks
Week 2: 20
Week 3: 50
Since the links over time are increasing, Google will detect the increased importance of your website and rank you better.

116. Link Velocity (Negative)

This is the opposite case of above; if backlinks are decreasing consistently, Google will detect the decreased importance of your site and drop your rank in SERPs.

117. Nasty or Unnatural Anchor Text

The excessive amount of brand name anchor text, “click here” anchors, URL anchors naturally invite devaluation of a page in search engine’s eye.

118. Link from Wikipedia

Links from Wikipedia is sign of trusted information. Although the links are nofollow, still they are counted by Google.

119. Links from Top Source(s):

According to the Hilltop Algorithm, links from the special and top resources (Hub) such as techcrunch or theverge likely carry more weight.

120. Authority Site Links

Website containing numerous backlinks from Top Sources (Hub) is generally known as “Authority site”. Getting links from authority sites can boost your performance in search engine.

121. Co-occurrence:

Not only anchor text, Google also sees the neighbors of anchor text which helps them to analyze whether the backlinks is an actual recommendation or just a part of spamming activity.

122. Links from spam blogs

Nowadays, the number of new blogs is increasing at an exponential rate and most of them are somehow involved in spam related activities. Getting too many links from new spammy blogs can harm your site.

123. Reciprocal Links

Also known as link exchange which is nowadays treated as a violation (if excessively done) in Google guideline policy. And we all know the consequences of violating Google’s rule.

124. DMoz

Not officially confirmed but experts believe that Google gives slightly extra priority to those sites that are listed in Dmoz.

125. Yahoo Directory Listed

Yet another not conformed factor; Google gives an extra priority to those sites that are listed in Yahoo Directory. For how long it has been listed is also taken into account.

126. Number of Outbound Links per Page

Backlinks from a page that already contains a hundred or even thousands of other outbound links pass very less PageRank.

127. SiteWide Links

A link that appears on all pages of a website is known as sidewide link. These links are compressed to count all of them as a single link.

128. Content Length of Linking Page

Usually, a link from a  page containing 1000 words is more powerful than the page having 50-100 words.

129. Quality of Linking Page

Links from spammy, duplicate, no-added-value contents are not much useful. In fact, they can harm the reputation of your site.

130. Forum Links

The level of spamming has been increased tremendously in the last couple of years, in which forum profile generation and linking were the most common issue, that’s why Google reduced the value and importance of forum links.

131. User Generated Vs Actual site owner links

Google can easily identify whether the link has been generated by a user in intent to gain backlinks or the link has been recommended by the actual site owner. Higher priority is given to the Link that is embedded by the site admin.

132. Guest Post links

Guest post has now become a virtual source of link bait and spamming. That’s the reason Google is no more giving much importance to guest post links.

133. Natural Link profile

Considering all those above backlink factors, if the overall linking strategy looks normal (i.e. non paid, not done with intent to fool search engine) then Google is obviously gonna rank you well in search index.

IV. Website Level

134. Special Added value or Unique content

If your site is just copying or rehashing content from other websites, this is not gonna help you. Google is always hungry for unique piece of stuff and if you can’t provide it, don’t accept organic visitors. Although if you are copying from other sources, try to include additional value that is useful for readers and can’t be found anywhere other than your site.

135. Site Layout

A layout should be as simple as possible where user can easily read, navigate, comment, travel from one page to other and identify the difference between ads and real content.

136. Number of Pages

Not much powerful factor but it is sometimes used to identify the quality of website. A thin website (generally affiliate sites) has less number of pages, whereas popular and high quality sites such as Themeforest, Moz, Mashable contains thousands of pages.

137. Duplicate Meta Information

Duplicate Meta data can drop your performance in SERPs. That’s the reason most webmasters avoid to index tags, archive and category pages.

138. YouTube

YouTube videos are always given special value. In fact, the traffic of YouTube has been increased linearly after the release of Google Panda. You can generate more organic traffic by uploading video related to your site content.

139. Site Usability

A site that contains nasty text color/fonts, difficult to navigate, provides bad user experience, that usually results in high bounce rate which can reduce your organic traffic.

140. Site Uptime

Frequent downtime due to maintenance or server issues can hurt your indexing position in Google.

141. Breadcrumb Navigation

This is the sign of good web structure that helps reader as well as search engine know the path direction of the opened page.

142. Responsiveness

Is your site is compatible with other latest devices (tablet, smartphone). The responsive site gets an advantage in search results on mobile and tablet platform.

143. Contact Us page

You get a plus point if your website has a contact us page with sufficient and accurate information. It’s good if your contact details match whois info.

144. Service or Policy Pages

These kind of pages simply helps search engines and readers gain trust with your website.

contact us

145. Server Location

Server Location is really important for Geo specific searches. You might get great results from a particular country where your server has been placed.

146. Sitemap

A sitemap helps search engine finding web page and indexing them quicker. Sitemap is important for new websites that doesn’t have any backlinks.

147. Site Updates

No one wants to read outdated content. Adding and updating contents is a way to tell Google that your site is active. Moreover, Adding 4 quality contents per week can boost your site ranking.

148. SSL

SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer, which is necessary these days for eCommerce website. For blogs, websites broadcasting any kind of information doesn’t need to have SSL.

149. User Reviews

Being bad to your customers or reader is bad for business. The same fact is used by Google, lots of negative reviews on popular sites (such as yelp.com), can degrade your website’s performance in search engine.

150. TrustFactor

TrustFactor doesn’t have any specific algorithm and it’s a general term that Google commonly uses. TrustFactor is the mixture worthy backlinks, accuracy of data presented on website, correct domain information and brand name.

151. Google Service

Two tools by Google  i.e. Analytics and Webmaster Tool are used to analyze traffic and search indexing. Integrating your website with these tools will help you a lot. You can get exact real time traffic data, bounce rate, landing pages, site speed, index status, crawl rate information and much more.

V. Special Algorithm

152. Wide Results

Google never returns the same type of information especially at the top 5 results.  For example, if you search “Panda”, you will get diverse results that include Panda Animal (information/images/videos), Google Panda algorithm and Panda Security company.

153. Fresh Results

Nobody wants to see outdated information, especially if the query is time sensitive. Google gives priority to update data in search results.

154. Browser History

If you already signed into Google account (Chrome), you will see that the website you visited the most sometimes gets priority in SERPs. These kinds of search results are specially optimized for single user according to his like and dislike.

155. High Dwell Time

This is an actual duration of time that a visitor spends on a webpage before returning to the search engine. Longer the dwell time the better it is for your website – this states that visitor has consumed most of the content on a page before leaving your site.

156. Safe Search

Adult images, videos and information will automatically filter out if you keep safe search option on.

157. GEO based results

Google gives priority to sites having local server IP and country domain extension.

158. Search History

Your search history influences the later query results. If you search for “computers” and then again search for “review”, Google might return “computer reviews” results top in SERPs.

159. Crawl Rate Modification

Google Webmaster tool allows you to modify the rate at which Googlebots crawl your site. For some reason, if you slow it down to zero, it can cause problem with indexing, which further creates a problem for ranking, especially if your website revolves around news or fresh content.

160. Quick Answer Box

why sky is blue

Quick answer box is designed to give you short and useful answer without digging into any specific webpage. The answer is extracted from the webpage indexed in Google (usually from high authority & trusted sites).

Learn More: How Smart is Google Quick Answer Box? – Interesting & Incorrect Results

161. Google+ Advantage

Your website will rank higher in Google search engine for those people who have added you in g+ circle.

162. Domain Diversity

Usually, a search result classified as low quality if too many results are from the same domain. To provide diverse and quality information Google return different results from different domains.

163. Schema.org Format

Pages that support schema.org format usually rank well in search engine. Data type such as breadcrumb, thing, person, webpage and review are used to markup HTML pages.

164. Knowledge Graph

Knowledge Graph represents semantic-search information gathered from a wide variety of sources. The aim is to provide users structured and detailed information without navigating other sites.

knowledge graph

165. Local Searches

Google displays g+ results and reviews (on the very first page) for local destination searches.

166. Image Results

The organic traffic doesn’t come from only web searches but also through Images. Google indexes your image format file (.png and .jpeg are the most common format) in their image database. Although, you can tell Google not to index your images using Robot.txt file.

167. Special Searches

Google displays different results for different queries. For example, for shopping related keyword (buy/sell), you get top results from eCommerce websites.

168. Google News

Google news story box displays the cluster of article on same topic. From there you can get depth knowledge about certain events.

Google news

169. Single Site Results

If you search for specific site page with brand keyword, Google will return you numerous pages from the same site.

170. DMCA complaints

Getting too many DMCA takedown complaints is a sign of duplicate and thin content which can drop your ranking in SERPs.

171. Easter Egg Results

Google has more than 15 “Easter Egg Results“. For example, searching “Drag queen” will return rainbow navigation bar.

Easter Egg Results

 

VI. Domain Rule

172. Keyword in the Domain

Having keyword in the domain will always be an additional plus point for you. But not much powerful plus point at once it was used to.

173. Keyword Position in Domain

For long term benefit, you should get keyword in root domain at the very first position. This always has an edge over keywords at middle or end position of the domain name.

174. Hyphen-Separated URL words

The ideal method of separating words in URL structure is to use hyphens instead of underscores. This is because underscores can be confused with programming language, preventing search engines to see URL words as separate keywords.
P.S: Using hyphens will not make a website rank higher.

175. Exact Match Domain

Exact Match Domain (EMD) has a plus as well as negative effect. The plus point is, if your site contains unique quality contains, you can rank very high (1st – 5th result)  for targeted keywords in less time. And the negative point is, if you have thin, duplicate or less than average content, you might get penalized by EMD algorithm.

176. Keyword in the Subdomain

Subdomain containing focus keyword can boost your performance in SERPs.

177. Age of Domain

Google uses the domain age parameter in their ranking techniques. However, this factor is not so crucial. There is not a big difference between 6 month old domain and 1 year old domain. But the situation will be different if you compare 1 year website with 10 year old website.

178. Domain Privacy

Don’t hide your domain privacy service until it’s very important. This can make your site less trustworthy than the normal in case you don’t have many visitors and backlinks. Also, make sure the domain registration and contact data doesn’t conflict with your privacy policy or any data displayed on website.

179. Domain History

A site violating authorship of whois or numerous drops is a sign that tells Google to reset the domain history and remove all links point to the domain.

180. Domain Extension

Country top level domain (such as .au, .in, .ca, .de) helps you to rank well for particular country. On the other hand, it also limits the ability of website to rank for other countries.

181. Domain Valid till

This one is very tiny factor still in action. Valuable or high authorized domains are usually registered for years or a decade in advance whereas low valuable domains are rarely used for even one year. That’s why, “when the domain is going to expire” can be used for predicting the value of domain.

182. Penalized Owner

If Google identifies a particular owner (through whois data) doing spam or uploading malware, they could possibly restrict all other as well as future website(s) from indexing that is owned by the same person.

183. Parked Domain

Parked Domain is one that is registered for future use and doesn’t have any quality content. Sometimes they are filled with ads only. On 1st December 2011, Google released a bunch of algorithms in order to remove all parked domains from search index.

184. Domain Marked as Spam Permanently

Be careful while registering for a new domain. Check the history of domain name before buying. There are chances that domain has already marked as spam by Google because of its past behavior. The probability of getting indexed for the same name in future is almost none.

VII. Social Network Impact

185. Number of G+1’s

Although, this was never confirmed by Google, but case studies say that you get the advantage in SERPs if you have large g+circle.

186. Authority of G+ user Account

Google gives more importance to the +1s that comes from authoritative accounts (having large number of followers).

187. Number of Tweets

Higher number of re-tweets can influence your rank in Google.

188. Authority of Twitter user Account

Tweets coming from authorized or large follower accounts usually have greater effect than low profile account.

189. Facebook Likes

Not very much but Google sees the number likes on the authorized page to check its popularity.

190. Facebook Shares

Fb Shares have stronger effect than likes. Sometimes a large number of shares represents quality of content.

191. Authority of Facebook User Account

Just like Twitter and g+, shares /likes coming from popular account or pages contain much more weight.

192. Other Social Sharing Site

Google might also gather information from other small social networking sites such as LinkedIn, Stumbleupon, Reddit etc. in order to know how a website is performing among different social accounts.

 

VIII. User Interaction

193. Direct Traffic

Google uses data from Chrome, how often reader visited your site by directly typing Domain URL. A large percentage of direct traffic is a sign of high quality and compelling stuff.

194. Bounce Rate

Bounce rate shows the percentage of visitors who left the site after viewing a single page. Too high bounce rate can degrade website performance in search engine.

195. New vs. Returning Visitors

Google also checks whether or not readers get back to your page again or not. Large number of returning visitors might drag your rank a little upward in SERPs.

196. Google Toolbar Data

Google Toolbar collects the data such as pageload time in seconds, dwell time, landing page, bounce rate etc. Google uses this data to analyze the behavior of audience.

197. Chrome Bookmark

They also collect the Bookmarked page data. Articles that get bookmarked on Chrome might perform well in Google search engine.

198. Organic CTR for specific keyword

Pages on Search engine which has higher click through rate usually get a boost in SERPs for that particular keyword.

199. Organic CTR for all keywords

If the click through rate is very high for almost all keywords then overall site performance also increases in search index.

200. Time Spend

Google also collects few data such as how much time spent by visitors coming through search engine and social networking sites. If people from different locations spend a lot of time on your site, you will get benefit in SERPs.

201. Number of Comments

Number of Comments on each post represent the interaction as well as the interest of your audience.

IX. Brand Name

202. Brand preference

After the Vince update, Google starts giving favor to big brands. A brand is a mixture of high Trust, Authority, Reputation and PageRank.

203. Brand Anchor Text

Brand anchor text is a strong brand signal which is used while ranking your website.

204. Brand Searches

Google also looks whether audience searches your brand keyword on search engine. For example, if someone entered “most expensive software” or the same keyword followed by brand name “most expensive software 3rank”, the second query gonna help Google recognizing your brand.

205. RSS Subscribers

FeedBurner Rss is owned by Google, obviously they look how many subscriber you have.

206. Brand on Twitter

Twitter profile with lots of followers represents popularity of the brand.

207. Brand on Facebook

Usually a quality brand has thousands of shares and millions of likes on Facebook.

208. Brand on News

Big brands often get mentioned on Google and on other authorized news site.

209. Non Linked Brand

Google can easily recognize a brand with or without hyperlink. It is not necessary your brand name should always link to your site in order to get attention from search engines.

210. LinkedIn Page

It is found that most of the real business has an official page on LinkedIn. Google might take advantage of LinkedIn pages to get more information about the brand.

211. LinkedIn Employee

Not a very crucial factor but according to Moz, LinkedIn profile that say they work for you, considered as a brand name.

212. Social Media Behavior

Getting thousands and millions of followers in not enough, how often you interact with them matters the most. An old profile with thousands of followers with just a couple of tweets can’t be considered as active or well established brand.

213. Tax Paying Business

In some (rare) cases, Google might look whether a site is a tax paying business for not. If it is, you might get an additional plus point.

214. Brand Location

Big brand has offices to work. Google checks for the location of your brand through g+ data and if it is there, they will index it into their database.

Recent Updates

215. SSL/HTTPS (per URL signal)

Google is now giving more priority to security. For now, HTTPS is a lightweight signal carrying less weight than other ranking factors such as quality of content and backlinks.

216. Mobile Friendly Update

On 21st April, Google released a significant new mobile-friendly ranking algorithm that is developed to boost mobile friendly webpages in Google’s mobile search result. The desktop SERPs didn’t get affected by this update.

Recommended: Google Search Algorithm Change Timeline

Leave a reply

3 comments
  • I think you left nothing to point out here. Also categorization of factors as on-page and off-page also helps understand each point with different perspective. It is not a post but a checklist for every blogger to must go through each point at least once or preferably in each quarterly review of his blog.
    Great, thanks for sharing.

    • Thank you very much Mi Muba for appreciating our work 🙂
      Only Google knows the actual ranking factors, we have just merged expert’s opinions, few case studies and best in our knowledge.