200+ Google Ranking Factors You Should know In 2020

Google Ranking Factors

Google Ranking Factors

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In the time of the gods, men usually seek what the gods wanted in order to get what they want, and this majorly comes inform of sacrifices which sometimes included lives and property.

You might be wondering what these have to do with search engine optimization and Google ranking factors but they can also be related.

So many people have spent time trying to crack search engine optimization in the past years, but with the frequent changes in algorithm made by Google recently it becomes very difficut to know what works and what do not work.

I have curated a full list of each of them, and i did not do this alone.

I would like to credit my source website called Backlinko, he has been in the game longer than i am he is an seo expert and he is very great at what he does.

You can read more about this post here, I will try as much as possible to update this as i seem fit.

Google Ranking Factors.

Do you know that Google uses of 200 ranking factors in it search engine algorithm ?

I would be given you a very deep overview on what they are.

Just to let you know that Some are proven, Some are controversial while Others are cooked up by SEO expert.

Never mind they are all embedded here in details.

Before starting, this 200 ranking factors are subdivided into 9 sub factors as stated below.

  • Domain Factors
  • Page-Level Factors
  • Site-Level Factors
  • Backlink Factors
  • User Interaction
  • Special Google Algorithm Rules
  • Brand Signals
  • On-Site Webspam Factors
  • Off-Site Webspam Factors


Domain Factors

One of the most important ranking factor that is considers by Google is based on the domain of your website.

1. Domain Age

The longer your website lives on the internet, then the higher chances it has to rank and this have been proven by Google expert
Google’s Matt Cutts.

He recently stated that:

“The difference between a domain that’s six months old versus one year old is really not that big at all.”

Domain age is an SEO factor but i must tell that it’s no too important.

A website that follows SEO best practice can rank as quick as possible and even beat competitors even though its just one month old.

2. Keyword Appearance in Top Level Domain.

Having a keyword in your domain name doesn’t give you the SEO boost that it used to. But it still acts as a relevancy signal.

3. Keyword As First Word in Domain.

A domain that starts with their target keyword has an edge over sites that either don’t have that keyword in their domain (or have the keyword in the middle or end of their domain).

4. Domain registration length.

A Google patent states.

“Valuable (legitimate) domains are often paid for several years in advance, while doorway (illegitimate) domains rarely are used for more than a year.

Therefore, the date when a domain expires in the future can be used as a factor in predicting the legitimacy of a domain.”

This states that the longer you buy a domain name, Google thinks of it as legitimate and not a spam website and this can cause it to rank well.

This is not a very important factor, if you bought your domain for one year then it’s not a bad idea.

5. Keyword in Subdomain.

Moz’s expert panel agrees that a keyword appearing in the subdomain can boost rankings.

6. Domain History.

A site with volatile ownership or several drops may tell Google to “reset” the site’s history, negating links pointing to the domain. Or, in certain cases, a penalized domain may carry the penalty over to the new owner.

7. Exact Match Domain.

Exact Match Domains may still give you slight edge.

But if your EMD happens to be a low-quality site, it’s vulnerable to the EMD update.

Google EMD update

8. Public vs. Private WhoIs.

Private WhoIs information may be a sign of “something to hide”. Googler Matt Cutts is quoted as stating:

“…When I checked the whois on them, they all had “whois privacy protection service” on them.

That’s relatively unusual. …Having whois privacy turned on isn’t automatically bad, but once you get several of these factors all together, you’re often talking about a very different type of webmaster than the fellow who just has a single site or so.”

9. Penalized WhoIs Owner.

If Google identifies a particular person as a spammer it makes sense that they would scrutinize other sites owned by that person.

10. Country TLD extension.

Having a Country Code Top Level Domain (.cn, .pt, .ca) can help the site rank for that particular country, but it can limit the site’s ability to rank globally.

Domain extension like .ng allows you rank for that country alone

Make sure than when buying a domain you pick a .com domain

To sum up this section, here is an article that i wrote not too long ago, It helps you choose the best domain name and practice for your business.

In this section, it has become obvious that search engine rank websites based on domain factors as stated above.

Here is an article i recommend you read to guide you in choosing the proper domain name for your business.

Page-Level Factors

This section has to do with content and how google ranks content on it’s search engine.

One of the most important factors that is most necessary for search engine optimization is search engine optimization.

11. Keyword in Title Tag.

Although not as important as it once was, your title tag remains an important on-page SEO signal.
It is highly recommended that you implement keyword research in the title of your article.

12. Title Tag Starts with Keyword.

According to Moz , title tags that starts with a keyword tend to perform better than title tags with the keyword towards the end of the tag.

13. Keyword in Description Tag.

Google doesn’t use the meta description tag as a direct ranking signal.

However, your description tag can impact click-through-rate, which is a key ranking factor.

When using a CMS like WordPress you should use an SEO plugin like smartcrawl to help you edit your meta.

If you don’t have an SEO plugin installed the meta section of you content is the first three lines of your blog post.

14. Keyword Appears in H1 Tag.

H1 tags are a “second title tag”.

Along with your title tag, Google uses your H1 tag as a secondary relevancy signal.

15. TF-IDF.

TF-IDF  stands for Term frequency-inverse document frequency

A fancy way of saying: “How often does a certain word appear in a document?”.

The more often that word appears on a page, the more likely it is that the page is about that word.

Google likely uses a sophisticated version of TF-IDF.

16. Content Length.

Indeed, one recent ranking factors industry study found that content length correlated with SERP position.

Most bloggers do not agree with it and so then they write very short content thinking that people don’t read very long content, but in actual facts they do.

When creating your content you should aim for 2000 words and above.

17. Table of Contents.

Using a linked table of contents can help Google better understand your page’s content.

It can also result in sitelinks

18. Keyword Density.

Although not as important as it once was, Google may use it to determine the topic of a web page.

It is also important to note that when keywords are stuffed in a content you might be penalized for such act.

19. Latent Semantic Indexing Keywords in Content (LSI).

LSI keywords help search engines extract meaning from words that have more than one meaning (for example: Apple the computer company vs. Apple the fruit).

The presence/absence of LSI probably also acts as a content quality signal.

20. LSI Keywords in Title and Description Tags.

As with webpage content, LSI keywords in page meta tags probably help Google discern between words with multiple potential meanings.

May also act as a relevancy signal.

21. Page Covers Topic In-Depth.

There’s a known correlation between depth of topic coverage and Google rankings.

This means that you should try as much as possible to write very deep on any topic you intend to write about.

Google is likely to rank and page that talks very deeply about a topic that a page that covers it on the edge.

22. Page Loading Speed via HTML.

Both Google and Bing use page speed as a ranking factor. Search engine spiders can estimate your site speed fairly accurately based on your page’s HTML code.

23. Page Loading Speed via Chrome.

Google also uses Chrome user data to get a better handle on a page’s loading time.

That way, they can measure how quickly a page actually loads to users.

24. Use of AMP.

Google AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) Project is an open source project that’s all about page speed and creating a new format for mobile pages that load far more quickly than the traditional mobile page

While not a direct Google ranking factor, AMP may be a requirement to rank in the mobile version of the Google News Carousel.

25. Entity Match.

Does a page’s content match the “entity” that a user is searching for? If so, that page may get a rankings boost for that keyword.

26. Google Hummingbird.

This “algorithm change” helped Google go beyond keywords. Thanks to Hummingbird, Google can now better understand the topic of a webpage.

27. Duplicate Content.

Identical content on the same site (even slightly modified) can negatively influence a site’s search engine visibility.

28. Rel=Canonical.

When used properly, use of this tag may prevent Google from penalizing your site for duplicate content.

29. Image Optimization.

Images send search engines important relevancy signals through their file name, alt text, title, description and caption.

30. Content Recency.

One thing Good loves about your content is freshness so therefore you should not just post one time and forget it.

Make sure to come back as often as possible to slightly modify it so that is seems fresh.
Highlighting this factor’s importance, Google shows the date of a page’s last update for certain pages.

It’s not necessary to rewrite your old content, that would be very foolish.

Adding a line or two is not a bad idea at all.

31. Magnitude of Content Updates.

The significance of edits and changes also serves as a freshness factor.

Adding or removing entire sections is more significant than switching around the order of a few words or fixing a typo.

This simply means that you should continue to make research on every topic you write about and update it as often as possible with additional ideas.

32. Historical Page Updates.

To rank more on Google, you should update more frequently.

This can serve as a very good signal to search engines and eventually lead to the search engines coming back to crawl your content and even retain you position in the SERP (search engine result page)

33. Keyword Prominence.

Having a keyword appear in the first 100 words of a page’s content is correlated to first page Google rankings.

34. Keyword in H2, H3 Tags.

Having your keyword appear as a subheading in H2 or H3 format may be another weak relevancy signal.

In fact, Googler John Mueller states:

“These heading tags in HTML help us to understand the structure of the page.”

This means that you should state out action points and using the sub heading tags that using a bold text format.

35. Outbound Link Quality.

Many SEOs think that linking out to authority sites helps send trust signals to Google.

And this is backed up by a recent industry study.

36. Outbound Link Theme.

According to The Hillop Algorithm, Google may use the content of the pages you link to as a relevancy signal. For example, if you have a page about cars that links to movie-related pages, this may tell Google that your page is about the movie Cars, not the automobile.

37. Grammar and Spelling.

Proper grammar and spelling is a quality signal, although Cutts gave mixed messages a few years back on whether or not this was important.

38. Syndicated Content.

Is the content on the page original? If it’s scraped or copied from an indexed page it won’t rank as well… or may not get indexed at all.

39. Mobile-Friendly Update.

Often referred to as “Mobilegeddon“, this update rewarded pages that were properly optimized for mobile devices.

40. Mobile Usability.

Websites that mobile users can easily use may have an edge in Google’s “Mobile-first Index”.

41. “Hidden” Content on Mobile.

Hidden content on mobile devices may not get indexed (or may not be weighed as heavily) vs. fully visible content. However, a Googler recently stated that

hidden content is OK. But also said that in the same video, “…if it’s critical content it should be visible…”.

42. Helpful “Supplementary Content”.

According to a now-public Google Rater Guidelines Document, helpful supplementary content is an indicator of a page’s quality (and therefore, Google ranking).

Examples include currency converters, loan interest calculators and interactive recipes.

43. Content Hidden Behind Tabs.

Do users need to click on a tab to reveal some of the content on your page? If so, Google has said that this content “may not be indexed”.

44. Number of Outbound Links.

Too many dofollow OBLs can “leak” PageRank, which can hurt that page’s rankings.

45. Multimedia.

Images, videos and other multimedia elements may act as a content quality signal.

For example, one industry study found a correlation between multimedia and rankings:

46. Number of Internal Links Pointing to Page.

The number of internal links to a page indicates its importance relative to other pages on the site (more internal links=more important).

47. Quality of Internal Links Pointing to Page.

Internal links from authoritative pages on domain have a stronger effect than pages with no or low PageRank.

48. Broken Links.

Having too many broken links on a page may be a sign of a neglected or abandoned site.

The Google Rater Guidelines Document uses broken links as one was to assess a homepage’s quality.

49. Reading Level.

There’s no doubt that Google estimates the reading level of webpages. In fact, Google used to give you reading level stats:

But what they do with that information is up for debate. Some say that a basic reading level will help you rank better because it will appeal to the masses.

But others associate a basic reading level with content mills like Ezine Articles.

50. Affiliate Links.

Affiliate links themselves probably won’t hurt your rankings. But if you have too many, Google’s algorithm may pay closer attention to other quality signals to make sure you’re not a “thin affiliate site“.

51. HTML errors/W3C validation.

Lots of HTML errors or sloppy coding may be a sign of a poor quality site.

While controversial, many in SEO think that a well-coded page is used as a quality signal.

52. Domain Authority.

All things being equal, a page on an authoritative domain will rank higher than a page on a domain with less authority.

53. Page’s PageRank.

Not perfectly correlated. But pages with lots of authority tend to outrank pages without much link authority.

54. URL Length.

Excessively long URLs may hurt a page’s search engine visibility.

In fact, several industry studies have found that short URLs tend to have a slight edge in Google’s search results.

55. URL Path: A page closer to the homepage may get a slight authority boost vs. pages buried deep down in a site’s architecture.

56. Human Editors.

Although never confirmed, Google has filed a patent for a system that allows human editors to influence the SERPs.

57. Page Category.

The category the page appears on is a relevancy signal. A page that’s part of a closely related category may get a relevancy boost compared to a page that’s filed under an unrelated category.

58. WordPress Tags.

Tags are WordPress-specific relevancy signal. According to

“The only way it improves your SEO is by relating one piece of content to another, and more specifically a group of posts to each other.”

59. Keyword in URL.

Another relevancy signal. A Google rep recently called this a “a very small ranking factor“. But a ranking factor nonetheless.

60. URL String.

The categories in the URL string are read by Google and may provide a thematic signal to what a page is about:

61. References and Sources.

Citing references and sources, like research papers do, may be a sign of quality.

The Google Quality Guidelines states that reviewers should keep an eye out for sources when looking at certain pages:

“This is a topic where expertise and/or authoritative sources are important…”.

However, Google has denied that they use external links as a ranking signal.

62. Bullets and Numbered Lists.

Bullets and numbered lists help break up your content for readers, making them more user friendly. Google likely agrees and may prefer content with bullets and numbers.

63. Priority of Page in Sitemap.

The priority a page is given via the sitemap.xml file may influence ranking.

64. Too Many Outbound Links.

Straight from the aforementioned Quality rater document:

“Some pages have way, way too many links, obscuring the page and distracting from the Main Content.”

65. UX Signals From Other Keywords Page Ranks For.

If the page ranks for several other keywords, it may give Google an internal sign of quality. In fact, Google’s recent “How Search Works” report states:

“We look for sites that many users seem to value for similar queries.”

66. Page Age.

Although Google prefers fresh content, an older page that’s regularly updated may outperform a newer page.

67. User Friendly Layout.

Citing the Google Quality Guidelines Document yet again:

“The page layout on highest quality pages makes the Main Content immediately visible.”

68. Parked Domains.

A Google update in December of 2011 decreased search visibility of parked domains.

69. Useful Content.

As pointed out by Backlinko reader Jared Carrizales,

Google may distinguish between “quality” and “useful” content.

The above Google ranking factors on content will help you write better articles and content.

Here is an article i wrote to guide you in writing better search engine optimized content.

What do you think?

Written by Udemezue John

Web developer| Digital Marketer| Entrepreneur.

I love sharing great things

You can connect with me on twitter @_udemezue


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