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  • Writer's pictureWirya Hassan

Google Ranking Factors: The Complete Guide

Updated: Oct 30, 2018

Google Ranking Factors

I have listed for you 210 Google ranking factors with a small explanation of each of them so that you have this document as a reference.

The first point I want to address are the domain level factors , mainly because they are what we might call "the most generic". They are not the most extensive in number. In fact, for this post I was able to locate a total of 12, which are:

1. Domain age

The domain age has always been considered a determining factor and at the same time not very manipulable, and we can confirm that this is the case.

If you think about it with logic, it really makes a lot of sense that domain age is a factor since, in real life, whenever we see a business that has been open for us for a long time it is a quality factor, right?

2. Keywords in Top Level Domain

They do not count as much as before, but having the same keywords for which you want to rank (or at least related) within a domain counts, especially if it is what is known Top Level Domain (TLD) such as, for example, the .com, .net, .eu or .org among others.

The trend is that as Google matures and each time its algorithm gets updated this type of factors count less, but it is very unconceivable that Google can stop giving some weight at some point to this, at least until the semantic web reaches 100%, and for that there is still quite some way ahead of us.

3. Keyword as first word of the domain

If we mix the previous concept with prominence, which is a very recognized factor for ranking content, the natural conclusion is that both (together) will make your domain more powerful.

In fact, in the SERP of Google (page of results) you will see a lot of domains that you suspect that, if not for this metric, would be much lower ranking, and you will be right.

4. Registration time

Google knows that if a person is not serious with a domain or thinking that it will be there for a long time they will register it for the minimum time, while if you want to have a stable and profitable project, the contract will be multi-year.

Well, this factor is also important to Google when it comes to positioning your page, which rewards not only old domains, but also those with long contracting time, ie multi year domain registrations. If you want to know more about it, I refer you to information about the Google patent .

5. Keyword in subdomain

As in point 3, having keywords in the different subdomains of your site will also support the ranking of the same.

The positive part is that within a site you can create as many subdomains as you want and, the least positive part, is that as a general rule a subdomain is going to take more or less 70/80% of root relevance, but hey, it's a loss you can take to position better, right?

The bad part you will find later because, as I already said, Google does not take too well that you have many subdomains, for obvious reasons.

6. History of the domain

In ranking as in life, history is very important. Google takes into account what and how many have been the movements of the domain, how many times it has changed hands, how many and what kind of automatic and manual penalties, in what IPs it has been, and a long etcetera.

That said, when you buy a domain that has already been used, investigate the story very well to avoid surprises, and keep clean the ones you already have.

7. Exact Match Domain

An Exact Match Domain ( EMD ) is, a domain that is exactly the keyword we want to position.

At present Google counts positively the EMD and even the PMD (Partial Match Domain, that is to say, that contains the keyword to position the domain and something more) and, although little by little it is subtracting value from these, but, as in the cases from previous points, it is very difficult for Google to totally remove all the value they have, hence they are very interesting and can benefit rather than harm.

In fact, the next time you do searches on Google that are likely to be commercially interesting, look at the EMDs that appear on the first page.

8. Whois public or private?

The Whois is the information about the domain, both the registrar and the person or company that uses it.

Google has the healthy habit of not trusting all of the domains that have a private Whois, because they think that if you hide that information is because you have something to hide and, as you will understand, Google will not help you as much as with a Whois Public. And Matt Cutts had something to say about this back in 2006.

9. Whois penalized

Obviously, if you have been penalised for some aspect of Whois, either that the entity that has sold you the domain has some penalty, or the IP where you have it hosted has been penalised by Google and that in turn will have a detrimental effect on your domain and you will have some rankings less than that you would be clean. Once again, be very careful with the Whois and investigate it thoroughly.

10. Considerations about country domain extension

The country TLDs, also called regional domains and, in practice, the famous .de, .mx or or similar ones will give you a position turbo in the country that we could

call "jurisdiction" but, on the other side, they will weigh you down in other countries.

That is, if, for example, you have a project that is only destined for the UK and you do not have the possibility to internationalize, use a domain, it will help you in the national territory but, if you want to reach the whole world, my recommendation is that you use a TLD classic, if it can be .com, it is better.

11. Ratio of subdomains

In point 5 we talked about keywords in subdomains, and this would be the counterpart since, if you have many subdomains for few pages on the site, or an irregular growth of the same, Google will possibly have serious doubts about the veracity of your information and think that you are trying to benefit from that ranking factor.

The trick is to use subdomains with heads and, the few that we build, we do it following all the bases of SEO on-page.

12. File size

The file size is also a factor in the web ranking of your site, you should avoid large file sizes, since Google has the habit of identifying them with bad user experiences due to loading time and the possibility of injecting malware.

Ranking factors at page level

I always say in my SEO courses that Google's ranking should be looked at per page, that is, for each of the URLs and, although there are factors that are common (either domain, as we have seen, whether they are antispam or many others, as we will see later), the section that probably has more factors is this one that we start now.

In total there are more than fifty factors. Yes, you read correctly, more than 50. Let's go for them, with patience:

1. Keywords in the title

Google will take it as a good ranking criterion to include the keywords you want to rank for in the title of the page.

Now, do not overdo it, the main thing is that the title of the page is original, quality and that reading it does not feel like a fool, or it will not help to include it.

2. The title starts with the keyword to rank

As we mentioned in the first section, prominence (positioning a keyword at the beginning of a label) is again key.

That is, if you want to rank better, include the main keyword as much as possible at the beginning of the title of your page, always following the rules that it is read well, be unique and original because, after all, the title is the most important part of each of the pages!

3. You have the keyword in the meta description

Just like having the keyword to position in the title, it is also a point in favour if you include it in the meta description of your page and, as in the previous case, the reading should be natural and the description original.

Now, keep in mind that this factor gets a lower weight than the previous one, since the meta description tag has a lot less weight in web ranking in general than the title tag.

4. Keyword in the H1 tag

The H1 tag is, in a few words, "The most important phrase you have to say on your page", so having the keyword present in this tag will also be a good ranking factor for Google.

You must pay attention to it since it is a factor that, although it is not totally decisive, has a weight that we could consider medium (as a minimum).

5. Keyword frequency

Frequency is a basic piece of content optimization for SEO on-page , and is neither more nor less than the number of repetitions a keyword has on a page or label.

Well, if the keyword to rank is the keyword that has a higher frequency within the page in question, then you have a plus. Of course, the content must sound natural, you do not want to do keyword stuffing ...

6. Content length

Several studies ( like this one ) have been analysing the length of the pages that rank better in the SERP of Google and the trend is clear: The search engine likes pages with long content, and in fact, if in the pre-Panda era it was enough with 200-300 words to have a chance to rank very high, now this figure has risen... That is, we are talking about lengths of more than 2,000 words, another world in a very short time, right?

7. Keyword density in content

Like frequency, it is another basic metric in onpage SEO, and it is neither more nor less than the total number of times that the keyword in question is repeated divided by the total number of words that a page has.

If we talk about the body, that is, the section where we put the vast majority of the visible text, the classical density of which the books recommended was between 3 and 7%, but it

is very high today. In fact, I recommend that figure to be no more than 3% in any case, and in most situations 1% should work.

8. LSI (Latent Semantic Index) of keywords in the content

Behind this name and this abbreviation hides the part of the algorithm that has to do with words that have more than one meaning and, in order for Google not to make a mess

of them, the ideal is that you use them together with other related words.

This way you will get a potentially negative factor to become another positive factor within your content.

9. LSI in title and description

This looks a lot like the previous point, but instead of taking it into account only in the content, the title and description are also taken into consideration, which, as you know, are much more important tags for your ranking.

10. Page load time

Page load time is a very important factor also, both at the SEO level and at the usability level (UX). At the SEO level if you have a sluggish server that takes too long to manage the requests Google will penalize you because you will be wasting their crawler's time, but also the users.

UX level happens more or less the same, for every extra second from the third you are losing a lot of users, so you need to keep your pages and your server so that they are loaded in three seconds at most.

11. Duplicate content

One of the major problems of Google historically was the amount of duplicate content that is on the Internet and, in fact, later we will see that there is an algorithm like Panda that is focused precisely to these needs.

Before reaching that point I have to tell you that the duplicate content on a page will make Google less aware of it and, in fact, the normal thing is that the search engine

only takes one page as original content to position while the rest bury in the SERP.

12. Label rel = canonical

The rel = canonical tag is an important ranking factor because it fulfils several factors:

• On the one hand, it avoids duplicate content problems by referring all "similar" URLs to it.

• On the other hand, it concentrates the reference in the URLs that you need.

• Finally, it limits 404 errors and the like.

14. Optimization of images

Another factor to take into account is the weight and size of the images that you have in the URL that you want to rank, since they influence once again both ranking and usability.

Therefore, if you want to score all the points of Google to rank correctly, do not forget to optimize your images for the web and keep them at the minimum possible weight without losing too much resolution, it is better to have something faster than something nice and slow.

15. Content update

Since the launch by Google of its algorithm Caffeine it has been giving an extra ranking to the contents that are updated a lot in quantity . That is, if you want to rank better, a good idea is to update the content of the URLs that you want to be subject to that update.

16. Magnitude of the updates

On the other hand, not only does the number of updates matter, the search engine has also taken into account (to a large degree) the magnitude of them, that is, how important those

changes are between the previous version and the current one.

17. Historical updates

The last twist is the history or history of updates that a URL has had, in order to take into account all of them both in quality and quantity, and from there to get a ratio.

You just saw Google with different eyes, right?

18. Keyword prominence

The prominence of keywords refers to the level of importance of the placement of keywords in certain places on a web page.

There are some places, like the title or URL, that are very prominent. Therefore, it is very important to place the keywords for which we want to rank here.

There is no magic recipe that reveals the most relevant keyword locations, but you just have to follow the logic; If a keyword stands out in some way with respect to the rest of the text, it will surely have a higher level of prominence (such as a keyword highlighted in bold or highlighted with an internal link).

Here I have highlighted the most prominent locations of a web page, where you must put the keywords:

• The URL

• The title of the page.

• The titles. Ideally, there should be an H1 (usually the title of the page), a few H2 and several H3, H4, H5 and H6, although it depends on the length of each page / article.

• The meta description of the page.

• The words in bold and, to a lesser extent, in italics.

• The alternative texts.

• The lists of functionalities or characteristics of a product, service, etc.

• The links to other pages.

• The footer. An interesting strategy is to place in the footer "links of interest" that lead to pages related to a certain keyword. The link text should include the keywords in question.

It is very useful to know all these strategic locations to place the keywords, but ... Do you know which keywords are the most appropriate for your business? Your correct selection is essential to get the top positions of Google with keywords that really attract potential customers and generate a return.


The term prominence not only refers to the placement of keywords in certain locations; it also refers to its placement at the beginning of those locations. That is, if we have a title consisting of 6 or 7 keywords, those that are closer to the beginning of the title or the <title> tag will be more prominent. Let's see an example

of a title structured in two different ways:

• The prominence of keywords in your SEO strategy

• The SEO strategy and the prominence of the keywords

If we wanted to rank ourselves by prominence of the keywords, we would definitely opt for the first title. If our objective, instead, was to achieve a good ranking with the keyword SEO strategy, we would opt for the second.

The same would happen with the other prominent locations. Text in bold or italics or in a paragraph, the keywords will have a higher level of prominence if they are located at the beginning.

If you notice, For this article I have placed "Google Ranking Factors" at the beginning of the title of the page, at the beginning of an H1 and also towards the beginning of the first paragraph of the text. I have also highlighted that keyword in bold very early in the first paragraph of the article.

19. Keywords in headings

The headings, vulgarly written as H2, H3 and so on up to H6 are much more important parts of the content than plain text. Hence, if we introduce keywords in a natural way, Google will give us another point in their favour in the algorithm, and we will rank ourselves a little better.

A little trick: Join this point with the previous one to magnify the effects.

20. Order of the keywords in the different labels

The order of the keyword is another factor for Google which, while not as important as some of the others in this list, has its significance nevertheless.

Always bear in mind that, depending on the order of keyword enumeration, the prominence (once again) of these will change, and the prominence is directly related to ranking.

21. Quality of outbound links

Linking to well-known domains or the Wikipedia is not the same as linking to a site or blog that hardly anyone knows. By the same token, having a link in the content is not the same as one in the footer.

If you put these two concepts together, you will another interesting factor that you can leverage to rank a little better by taking care of your outbound links, because yes, the

outbound links help to rank.

22. Outbound links destination page

Very related to the previous point, the quality of the page you link to is also related to your search engine ranking, this is due to the fact that some webmasters in time, upon knowing the previous point, began to link to relevant sites that did not have much to offer, and of course, Google realized.

On the other hand, if you think about it, it makes a lot of sense, since a link on the Internet is like a citation in a book or a recommendation in real life, and all of them work best when talking about the same thing.

23. Grammar also counts

This factor is complex because it has an idiomatic part, that is, Google has to understand the language in question in order to execute it well.

On the other hand, Google has been working on this for quite a few years now, so this obstacle has already been overcome.

That said, and since no one likes to read articles or pages that are misspelled, if you want to rank yourself better, be careful with grammar!

24. Content purely copied

The copied content has a separate section besides the duplicate, and at this point I will be very direct: If you copy content, sooner or later Google will detect you and will take you to the lowest of the SERP, you are warned!

25. Useful supplementary content

This part is harder to fulfil, because for Google this "useful complementary content" has to do with calculators, comparison tools and other technologies that will involve a good outlay of money.

Now, it makes sense for Google to take this type of asset as a quality signal in many sectors, since it offers real-time data with a lot of useful information for the user.

26. Number of outbound links

Not only is the landing page important in terms of outbound links, so is the amount.

Now, as long as you're not going to have any problems, it is in fact beneficial to have outbound links in your content to rank better, as we have seen before.

Now, how many are too many? It depends on the length of the text, in something less than 500 words I do not advise you to have more than 3 or 4 outbound links except where absolutely necessary. In longer content you simply have to make the rule of three.

27. Multimedia content as another factor

The multimedia content, such as videos, podcast or presentations for example are important for several factors, if you look:

• This content contains a link to a relevant site.

• It usually improves the reader's understanding.

• It also increases the time spent on your page and your domain.

With all these factors, it is normal for Google to give a small dot in favour of sites that use this type of content in their content, do you not think?

28. Number of internal links pointed to the page

The internal links, besides being a very good browsing tool for the user, are the enablers to pass internal relevance from one page to another.

Well, a basic rule in SEO is that the most important pages of your site should be more linked internally to rank better and, in fact, that's why your home or your menu pages are always linked, right? You just have to follow this rule with the other important pages.

29. Quality of internal links pointed to the page

Once again, in addition to the number of links, quality is important, internal links will count more from pages that are important in your domain and, above all, the links that are present in the content will be more important than others (as in menus, sidebars or footer of your page).

30. Broken links as an element to avoid

Broken links frustrate both users and the search engine on the Internet, and that is why Google tends to penalize the ranking of pages that have outbound links to pages that do not exist, that is, pages with 404 errors.

That's why my recommendation is that you periodically review the broken links that point from your site, and this you can do very easily, for example, from WordPress you only have to install a plugin called Broken Link Checker and run it a couple of times a month.

31. Reading level, a factor that will surprise you

Google has the ability to know if a content is more technical or lighter, that is, more focused on the general public and, in fact, this factor influences the ranking for certain searches.

Now, if you are wondering what kind of content you should do to rank better, the answer is not so easy, since there are keywords for which the light content is prime, while for others the technical content is more useful.

My recommendation: Try to adapt to the majority target, so you'll hit 90% of the time.

32. Affiliate links

It is no secret that Google doesn't like affiliate links, because the bulk of its income comes through AdWords, your own CPC system as you know.

That is why, if your page contains affiliate links Google will take this into account and will penalize, and the degree of penalty will depend both on the nature of these links and the number of them.

33. HTML errors

Google is a monster that devours HTML code and processes it along with other off-page signals, which is why it is very used to detecting typical errors in HTML.

Needless to say, these errors will influence your ranking and, the more in quantity and importance, the greater the penalty for that URL will be. If you want to avoid it, it is best to validate your page in W3C and try not to have any errors.

34. Domain authority

The authority of the domains that link to you is very important, so much so that under equal conditions it is a detail that tends to tip the balance in favour of the URL that not only has more links pointing to it, but "how important they are"; this metric is domain authority.

There are various tools for checking domain authority such as Open Site Explorer by Moz, Website Authority Checker by SEO Review Tools, Domain Authority Checker by Website SEO Checker, and Bulk DA Checker.

35. PageRank is also a factor to contemplate

PageRank is a value that constantly changes for Google, although the scale it shows has not been updated since the very distant December of 2013.

Now, although we cannot see those changes (and therefore, we go very blindly with this) the value of PageRank, in some way, influences the ranking of the URL in question of our site.

36. URL extension

We continue advancing with the onpage factors, another is the extension of URLs, that is, too long URLs tend to have problems to rank well, hence the trend for a few years now is to shorten as much as possible. Have this very much in mind!

37. Path of URL

Another much more important factor than you may think is the URL's own path, that is, how many jumps from the home it is located, for example, the following are not the same:

• com / category / tag / product / what-you-want-to-position.html

• com / what-you-want-to-position.html

In fact, it has many more implications than you might think because, in addition to search engines it is much easier for humans to read the second option and has much better values of keywords such as prominence, hence the second option tends to rank much better.

38. Human editors

This point is much less confirmed, but I have included it here for the sake completeness (and, honestly, because I'm quite fond of conspiracy theories), there it goes:

The gossips say that Google has a patent that is able to detect when a text has been written by a person and not a machine and, if so, obviously positively influences the first case and negatively the second.

39. Category of page

Whenever the page you write is related to the category of the same you will have another small positioning turbo and, in fact, the more related you are, the better.

Now, do not go crazy, you know that for usability you should not have more than 7 categories (10 at most if you have a relatively large site).

40. Tags in WordPress

The WordPress tags are not great and do not affect the onpage SEO of the page directly, but they have a hidden gem, in fact, according to people who know a lot about this:

The only way in which tags improve your SEO is by relating one content to another, and more specifically, to a group of contents. That is, the WordPress tags help to strengthen point 39 a little more, going from categories (large drawers) to tags (small drawers).

41. Keywords in the URL

It is no secret and, in fact, it is a factor of "SEO of little children": If your URL contains keywords Google will have a signal (and very important) of what you are going to talk about in that content, and it will come very well.

42. URL string

It has a lot to do with point 37, but if the previous one measured how close a URL is to the root, this measures what the URL contains and the jumps it entails.

43. Sources and references

At this point there is an important controversy because, although Google claims to reward sites that are based on information from reference sites, it has also said actively and passively

that external links of this type do not count as signals to rank.

My humble opinion is that, since Google follows the logic of a seven-year-old child, you should think that if you rely (that is, if you link) to an authority website ... you will tip the balance in your favour!

In fact, in this same article you have a lot of links to references, did you notice?

44. Numbered lists

Every readability element for the user is a small extra for Google, be it numbered lists, scripts, points or whatever we want to put. This is because in reality what we do with these elements is to improve the user's reading experience and, thus, to offer information in a better way (even if the content is the same), so use them whenever you can.

45. Priority in the sitemap

Another point with controversy is the sitemap that, as you know, has a section where you can decide what priority to give to each page or type of page.

Well, first of all I have to tell you that everything seems to indicate that Google takes it as a minor factor at the time of ranking, and that something counts in its algorithm.

46. Too many outbound links

If you have too many outbound links it's not a good sign for Google and, in fact, the most normal thing is to penalize you.

Now, how many are too many? It depends on the length of the text, but do not target more than one link every 3 or 4 paragraphs under normal circumstances, since they will distance the user from the general objective: Read your content.

47. Number of keywords for which you are ranked

Following the mythical saying "money makes money" here we could say that " ranking makes ranking", that is, a page that ranks well for a particular keyword has many "votes" to rank well for other related ones.

Well, as you may have guessed, Google has a small part of its algorithm precisely for these games.

48. Age of the page

Here are several things to keep in mind:

• On the one hand there is the "Newsworthy" update of the Google algorithm that enhances the ranking of news much more quickly.

• On the other hand, a page that a frequent series of updates will have an extra ranking.

49. Make your layout user-friendly

This factor has a lot to do with usability, and it means that the layout (less technically speaking: what the user sees when he enters, your design, etc.) is as user-friendly as possible.

Perhaps you wonder how Google can measure this, but it is relatively easy: relating the time spent on each page by a visitor.

50. Parking of domains

There was a ranking technique that was based on buying expired domains and linking them with redirection 301 to different pages to pass relevance.

Since a 2011 update to its algorithm Google has removed weight to such actions because they were not being used properly.

51. Flash content

Do not use Flash, and much less in the important parts of your website, since they will not look good on mobile, Google cannot process them and the loading time will increase.

Use HTML5.

52. Font size

The canons of usability say that if you want someone to read your minimum content it must be in letter size 12, but there are also several studies that confirm this.

Google does not say anything specific about it, simply that the more readable the text of the content, the better.

53. Downloading applications with interstitial

A short while ago Google confirmed that in the event that your page had application downloads via interstitial it would be considered technically as if it were not responsive ,

since this type of ads are very intrusive and do not usually adapt well.

The recommendation: if you don't want to be penalized is very simple, instead of interstitial, use banners to announce the download.

We go to the third section of a total of 9 and in it we will see what factors are taken into account by Google at the site level. However, they are much less than at the page level, "only" 18, of them!

1. Unique and valuable content

For many years Google has had a particular crusade against sites that do not offer unique content and value, with special mention of affiliate sites with little content, so you know, if you want to skip Google penalties, the first thing you should do is this.

2. Contact page

The Google Quality Document says that they prefer websites that have "an appropriate amount of contact information", and from there we can assume a couple of things:

• That a contact page will do your TrustRank good.

• That if that information fits with the whois record it is much better.

3. Domain Trust

The Google TrustRank is perhaps the most undervalued part of SEO in general and is very easy to explain: They are the quantity and quality of links that come from sites that Google considers "trustworthy" or "authoritative". That is, a link from a site of this nature carries more weight and is worth a lot more. Sites with .gov and .edu as well as other sites with very good reputation fall into this category, so you know where to focus.

4. Site architecture

Another point to take into account in order to have a turbo in the ranking of your site in general is that the architecture of it is consistent and correct.

As you well know, Google gets along very well with the sites that we could call niche or even micro niche (those that speak only of one theme), hence the first recommendation when working on SEO is that you talk about few things and that they are related.

5. Site updates

Freshness is one of the most important ranking factors and there are different ways of accomplishing this since on the website you can:

• Create and add new content to new pages.

• Or update a content that you have already created in the past.

Well, Google has more in mind the first point than the second, always keep this in mind.

6. Number of pages

It is a small factor but it still counts, so you should pay attention to it: The greater the number of (quality) pages in Google, the greater the possibility of ranking well.

Now, the thing changes if you want to set up a site that has large doses of affiliate links because, in this case, having many pages will serve to make the search engine

believe that the subject of the affiliates is something residual for you.

7. Presence of sitemap

A well-assembled sitemap is a must for the search engine, since it allows it to see all the latest changes to focus on and pass the content that is not updated.

Once you have it uploaded you only have to register it in Google Search Console (the old Webmaster Tools ) and everything is ready.

8. Uptime Vs. Downtime

Neither Google nor users like to enter sites that are down or in maintenance, hence the percentage of downtime and uptime is important in order to rank well.

In practice you will not have much to worry about at this point, unless you have a server that does not measure up, because today almost any company guarantees 99.9% of uptime. Even so, you must monitor it.

9. Server location

The location of the server is an important factor in any phase of the project, but it is much more for geolocalized searches, which are on the increase in Google.

Hence, if you want to rank in a country, it is best that the server is located in it.

10. SSL Certificates

Google confirmed a few months ago that a positive signal for a domain was a secure server with an SSL certificate, which in practice is to change the standard http to the


In fact, the announcement expected more or less profound changes in the SERP but it was finally confirmed that it is a minor factor.

11. Terms of services and privacy policy

These are two very important pages to improve the confidence that the search engine has in your site since, if you have the terms on one side and the privacy policy on the other, a user will always be able to see what you are doing with their data.

12. Target duplicate labels

Duplicate content is something that Google does not like, and thus a negative factor in the algorithm of the search engine, so for each page you should have a unique and original title and meta description.

13. Navigation with Breadcrumbs

As we anticipated in the top of the post, breadcrumbs or bread crumbs are very important for the user and for the usability of almost any website, and more if it is a virtual

store or ecommerce site, hence Google gives them a plus for visibility.

14. Mobile optimization

In April Google announced what is known as the Mobileggedon, so if your site is not responsive or optimized for mobile (beware, I do not say that it has a mobile version

only) you will have problems in the present and even more in the future.

Personally I don't get it that with already 50% of browsing done on mobile there are still sites that do not adapt to all kinds of screens.

15. Is it from YouTube?

Yes, YouTube videos rank great in the search engine, in part because they fulfil many of the features and signals and partly because YouTube is also owned by Google.

So much so that there are SEO specialists (including myself) who consider YouTube a very powerful tool for ranking, since it is relatively easy to get out on the first page of Google's SERP.

16. Site usability

If your site is not usable you will fall in the rankings by basic metrics that many of your users will meet, such as:

• Have a shorter dwell time on the pages of your website.

• Have a higher bounce rate than the competition.

• Have a lesser number of page views per user.

And all this, as is logical, will make you lose rankings.

17. Google Analytics and Search Console

This point is part of the most absolute conspiracy, and that's precisely why I put it to you: There is a preconceived idea within the SEO's from around the world that says that if you

have the Analytics codes on your website and the site is also registered in Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools) Google could give you extra visibility.

Why? Basically because the search engine will have more data from your site and, with it, it can form a better idea of what is happening down there.

18. Reviews and reputation

If you have a site that attracts criticism in different media and local platforms such as Yelp or Booking and Life or TripAdvisor, the bad reviews may be the culprit and the cause of not so good ranking in Google for certain searches.

It may seem like an odd thing but in reality it makes a lot of sense, since this information is made by users and in theory is reliable.

Ranking factors on backlinks

The inbound links are the basis of the offpage SEO, and in turn this represents approximately 70% of the general relevance within the search engine algorithm , so this section is one of the most extensive of this macro -post, and here are the ranking factors with regard to backlinks:

1. Age of the domains that link to your website

As the title is quite explanatory and this point is long, I will not go much further: The domains of greater age will give you more power to rank than the new domains.

Among the reasons and how the logic will lead you to think: the old domains tend to be more relevant.

2. Number of domains that link to you

One of the keys in the algorithm of Google, that is, one of the factors that weigh more in the algorithm is precisely this: The number of domains that link to you. No more no less.

Of course, the more the number of domains linking to you the more relevance you will have in search engines, in addition to other metrics that I will shed light on. For now I'll just tell

you that the number of domains is so important that makes most SEO's fight very hard to get a first link from another domain.

3. Number of IP's that link to you

The same applies as in relation to the number of domains but, in fact, there is only a small nuance: An IP can contain several domains, for example in a shared hosting.

As these shared hosting domains are usually small and have a more or less small relevance in turn, you do not have much to worry about.

4. Number of linked pages

Yes, the number of linked pages is also a factor that, while it is not as important as the previous two, also has its weight.

Of course, the more linked pages, the more visibility in search engines.

5. ALT tag in image links

What is an alt tag? Many web pages contain images that are used to reinforce the content. Google can 'read' the text, but not the images. Google does not know what the content of this image is. A solution to this is the use of the alt tag , also sometimes written as alttag. With this you give a kind of label to the image, in which you can place a description of the images. You describe what is shown on the image, so Google can determine how relevant the image is.

The alt tag is relevant to Google. The search engine attaches great value to its proper use. The more relevant the alt tag, the more value Google attaches to the image, so the higher you score with that image. An example: if you use a photo of a green apple, it is wise not to take 'fruit' as an alt-tag, but 'green apple'. After all, it is more specific and relevant. The alt tag is not only used by search engines, but also by visitors. When someone is visually restricted, special software can read the alt-tag when the visitor goes over the image with the mouse.

Higher scoring with the alt tag

The alt tag is therefore very useful for search engine optimization (SEO) . If you use the alt tag correctly, you will also be shown in the results of Google Images. The more relevant the name, the higher the score, because when many visitors click on your image, Google assumes that this image is very relevant to the search term. By using the alt tag you also get the chance to return your main keyword. For the most favourable optimization, put the keyword as far as possible in front of the alt-tag. Do you use WordPress? Then add an alt tag in the text box 'Alternative text' below the image.

6. Links from .edu and .gov

A while ago Google came out saying they did not distinguish between domain extensions provided it was a TLD (Top Level Domain), however, many SEO's still believe that the links

coming from .edu and .gov count far more than those coming from .com or .net for example.

One reasoning behind that is that both .edu and .gov are domains that already have a proven relevance (not everyone can access them).

7. Authority of link pages

Another very important factor of this list of more than 200 is the relevance (call it PageRank if you wish) of the page that links to you, that is: the more relevant the page that links to you the more relevant you will become.

8. Authority of domains that link to you

The importance of pages linking to you was pointed out above but just as important are the domains that link to you.

In fact, many SEO's once again focus on getting that (one) link from a domain with a lot of authority, so much so that they leave aside the authority of the page, something that you should not do (at all).

9. Links from the competition

If you have links from sites that are ranking on the first page of the Google SERP for the keyword that is relevant you will gain visibility, in fact, those links are very important within the algorithm.

Why? It sounds quite logical that, if you have a backlink from a site which is already ranking, Google thinks you have some truth, do you not think?

10. Social sharing on a page that links to you

This point is much less proven than the previous ones and its weight is infinitely less, but we must name it nevertheless: If the page that links to you has many social sharing, there is an Internet trend that says that this link will be worth a little more.

11. Links from "bad neighborhoods"

The "bad neighborhoods" is a concept for calling servers that have a lot of spammer sites between them.

The logic once again is simple: If you are linked from a site that has a lot of spam and links to a lot of spam, you are also spam.

And the argument is very solid.

12. Post as a guest

The post as a guest is very good but you have to take them as they are: content encouraged with normally incentivised links. That said, you have to be very careful with how you link from those posts because, although a link from the content will give you a lot of relevance, it will not be the same as if the link was from the biography.

13. Link from home

If a site links to you from home, Google will give an extra weight to that link, for the simple reason that home is usually one of the most important pages of a site since, before or after, an effective visit is going to go through it.

14. Links rel = "nofollow"

The classic view on rel = "nofollow" links is that they do not count at all on the algorithm because Google should not follow them, but then we have Google's statements about it:

In general, we do not follow them

Do you know what this means? Well, there are times that Google does follow that link and, therefore, takes it into account, to a greater or lesser extent.

The rise of bloggers, vloggers and other online influencers (read more about influencer types and influencer marketing here) is a great opportunity for many brands to receive relatively cheap online publicity. Good for branding and link building. Backlinks are worth gold when it comes to your visibility in search engines. There are only a few rules. Put backlinks in the right way and place a nofollow attribute in the link if a text or link has been paid. This way you prevent penalties from Google.

This is secretly a thorn in the eye for online PR and especially for online marketers. Because why would you put a great deal of effort into getting online publicity if the backlink on the page barely values ​​your authority in search engines?

The search engine giant wants websites to build up authority in a natural way with honestly earned links. If search engines crawl a website , they cannot properly identify whether a link has been purchased. For that reason, Google would like you to post a nofollow link as soon as it concerns commercial content.

A nofollow link prevents a lot of value from being assigned to the underlying page. This also means that you give away almost no value from your own page. Handy if you regularly place articles in which you throw a lot of links for information.

To avoid misunderstanding: placing a nofollow link does not damage the authority of the underlying page. It only prevents that page from gaining extra value and that its ranking will therefore increase significantly. You remove, as it were, part of the value of the backlink.

When do you use a nofollow link?

Actually, it is quite simple: buying or selling links is not allowed. This falls under link exchange programs and with this you manipulate the natural building of authority.

This also applies to the exchange of goods or services for links; or sending a 'free' product in exchange for a review and a link to your site.

Advertorials and review articles which - in any way - have been paid for, must officially use a nofollow link. If Google nevertheless detects a paid follow link on your page, that may result in a penalty . The page then drops in the index of Google and you want to prevent that.

Creative link bulding: does that make sense?

Does delivering content, for example as a guest blogger, or working with online influencers still make sense?

Check in advance whether a link is placed in your article and whether this is indeed a nofollow link or not. You can check it yourself: go with your mouse on a link and right click on 'inspect'. The coding will then appear at the bottom of your screen. Or install a nofollow spotter . This is a plugin that gives a colour to the left if they contain a nofollow feature.

In my opinion, you do not have to shoot platforms that frequently use nofollow links. This depends on your content strategy and objectives. It can indeed be interesting for your branding to collaborate with some platforms and influencers. Although Google gives hardly any value to the link and therefore has almost no effect on your authority, such articles are simply read by your target audience and it probably gives you traffic and brand awareness.

Nofollow, when, when not?

Try to find a good balance in 'normal' links and nofollow links. If you enter into a long-term partnership with a guest blogger, and it concerns non-commercial content, then it is best to link as a token of appreciation. With a nofollow link you avoid giving away a lot of value from your own page, but with a normal link you do express your appreciation and 'vote' for the website you link to. See the link as a recommendation and use it like that. After all, you also want to have backlinks to your pages shared.

Make a distinction between 'own initiative' such as guest blogs or offered articles and paid content such as advertorials. In the latter you can get a penalty if you do not place a nofollow link, because it concerns purchased links.

With reviews you can go two ways: do you write the review from personal interest and did you purchase the product concerned yourself? Then you can just link according to the guidelines. Did you receive a product in exchange for a review or do you receive a different fee for it? Then you must officially place a nofollow link.


If a webshop with hair products offers an article with hair trends in summer 2017, without having to mention their own products there, it is best to place a link somewhere (which is then also relevant, looking at the content on the page). For example: 'read here step by step how to create a messy curl'.

Does the webshop with hair products enter into a partnership with a beauty blogger, for example, and an article is placed about when you use which hair product or a hair product is being reviewed, then it is too commercial and you have to place a nofollow according to the 'rules' . For example 'Sea salt spray can be bought here'.

15. Diversity of types of link

If you have too many links from a single source (for example: Signatures in forums) can be a signal to Google of unnatural growth of links and, with this, you can earn a nice penalty.

That is why it is not only necessary to control the number of links and domains, also the type of them.

16. Links as a sponsor

If you have many links and in the vicinity you have words like "sponsor" or similar Google will not like it too much, so much that you can be penalized by considering them incentivized links.

To minimize it, when you sponsor something and they will put you as a "sponsor" have them use rel = "nofollow".

17. Contextual links

Within the categorization of links the most powerful are those that are within the text content of the page, that is, in the body section of the page, in what you are reading

right now.

Therefore, whenever you can, try to make your links always in the contextual area of the page, you will see how your visibility increases exponentially.

18. Too many redirects 301

The links that come from 301 redirects pass different degrees of relevance depending on the amount you have, for example:

• If you change your own URL to another and the page is reached via 301 redirect of the old one, you can assume that around 70% of the relevance will be kept.

• If you do 301 redirects from URLs of external domains to your site and also these do not have to do with what you speak, the relevance obtained will tend to be zero.

19. Anchor text (AKA: Link text)

• This is another of the top factors in the general algorithm of Google, in fact, it is one of the points that takes into account an algorithm update such as Google Penguin.

• In times past to rank you needed a link where the link text and the keyword were the same but it is no longer so, and you have to have a mix between this type of links and

others with generic anchor text (click here, source, etc.).

20. Anchor text of internal links

• Technically it is the same as the previous point, but come from other pages of our domain and, as in our domain we link as we want, Google counterbalances it in a

totally different way.

• Needless to say, these internal links will distribute the internal relevance of the domain, but they will not help us get extra relevance from third-party domains.

Link building is of crucial importance in search engine optimization or SEO. Not only external links from other websites to your website are important, internal links are also not to be underestimated, with the right anchor text you can tell Google what your pages are about from your website. Read more about the importance of internal link

building at SEO.

When linking to a particular site, this is in most cases to the home page of the site, by these inbound links your website can become more popular. The positive result of this is that the website will score higher in the search engines after a period of time. (Every inbound link is seen by search engines as a positive vote for your website, and the more votes the higher you can get in Google). However, you want to score well in Google with more than just your homepage, so internal link building is important. Many pages of a website do not have any inbound links from external sites, and thus depend entirely on the internal link structure of your website.

Determine internal link strategy

Which pages of my website do I want to promote?

You can determine in advance which pages you want to score in search engines, it is important to give these pages a prominent place in your site structure with many internal

links to this page with the correct anchor text.

What are the keywords that I want to score with?

This question is very important, you first have to decide on which keywords you want to score in order to devise a good internal link strategy. Do a careful search for the right keywords you want to score on and collect them in a list that you can divide into primary and secondary keywords. Primary keywords will later gain an important place in the site structure. Each primary keyword can best have its own page in the website to which internal links can refer.

How to build a good internal link structure?

Make your site usable and readable for people and follow the search engines. You should always keep this statement in mind when optimizing a site for Google. Optimize your

site first for your visitors and then for search engines.

Read the texts as a visitor, which words would he like to read more about? These words deserve a link to a page with more explanation about the term in question.

Main navigation

The main navigation of a site is to guide the visitor to the information he is looking for. Just like a visitor, the spiderbot of a search engine also follows the links in the navigation of a site. Provide a text link navigation with the correct descriptive anchor text. Search engines attach great value to the words that contain the anchor text of a link, these words determine the ranking of the target page to a large extent. In an ideal navigation structure, all important pages of a website can be reached with a maximum of 3 clicks from home page.


A sitemap is a good way to map the content of your website for the visitors of the website and for the search engines. All important pages of a site should be accessible via the sitemap. When a spiderbot ends up on the site map of the site, all important pages can be indexed from here.


The use of breadcrums or bread crumbs navigation is not only useful for human visitors of a site to not get lost in a large website, search engine spiders can also make better use of breadcrumbs to index a site. The links that are used provide an extra link to every level in the site.

Links in footer

Via links in the footer or footnote of a website you can make the important information of your website accessible. Search engines, however, attach less and less value to links in a footer that is used throughout the site. Therefore make sure that important pages in your website are certainly accessible via other means than just via the footer.

Internal text

links in content or links in the body text of a website have a great value for search engines, it is assumed that these are one of the "fairest" links that link to valuable information that provides more information about the linked text (anchor text).


Working with Tags or keywords per page is a good way to link pages that relate to the same subject. Through the tags the search engine bots can make their way through all pages of the site around 1 subject. It is assumed that a site that has many different pages on one topic will be able to score better in search engines than a website with only one page on that subject.

Related pages or products

Both for the visitor of your site and for search engines, links to related pages of a specific topic are interesting. When, for example, a web shop on the page of a digital camera also refers to the matching batteries and memory cards, this is interesting for both visitors and search engines.

The importance of the right anchor text

Click here, follow the link, read more ... are actually not the ideal ways to refer to other pages. It is much better to provide the right keywords in the anchor text so that the search engines can use it to find out what the linked page is.

Since search engines attach a great deal of importance to the anchor text of links, it is important during the development of a website to thoroughly think about the anchor text used and not simply to use a "read more".

Tip: If you want to use "read more" or something like that, it is advisable to check the title of the article, which is usually above the summary, with a link to the full article. Search engines use this link and ignore the "read more" link.

Hints and tips

if there are more than 1 link on a page to the same page only the first anchor text will be used by Google, make sure that this first link contains the correct anchor text.

Use the Nofollow attribute to ignore unimportant pages. Some pages in your site are not meant to score in a search engine, you can use the Nofollow attribute to not "waste"

Pagerank on these pages.

Use a maximum of 100 links per page

Make optimal use of internal text links between pages of your website.

You do not want to score just with your homepage in search engines, so a good internal link structure is important. Often internal pages of a website depend solely on internal links. It is therefore very important to develop the internal link structure of your website properly.

21. Link title tag

Another factor, this time of the little ones, is the title tag that all the links have, which is the text that you can see when you hover the mouse over a link without clicking. Now, do not get too crazy about this point, since its relevance is very limited.

22. Country domains that link to you

Once again being as simple as possible: If you want to rank well for France you will get it sooner if you have many inbound links from domains with .fr extension. Be careful, do not overdo it, since Google knows what is an unnatural growth ...

23. Location of the link in the text

This factor comes in when playing with onpage SEO concepts: The links that are at the beginning of the text label will weigh a little more than those at the bottom, so if they link to you, make sure it's more or less at the beginning if you want to maximize that relevance.

24. Location of the link on the page

We have already touched upon this elsewhere in this section: Contextualized links work much better than those that are not. That is, the links within the post in question are much more important than those in the sidebar or in the footer, in addition to being infinitely more natural.

25. Relevance of the domain that links to you

Explained in two lines: Links that come to us from domains that speak of the same thing count (quite) more than those that have nothing to do with us. In fact, if you have many links from the second type, you will most probably be penalized.

26. Relevance at the page level

It is another simple concept, but quite important: The closer to home the page that links to you, the more weight that link will give you.

27. Feeling the text near the link

This factor will surely surprise you, and shows that the machinery of Google is very well oiled: It seems, if your link is near blocks of text that we could call "negative feeling" (that is, they speak badly about your site, page or project) it will reduce your visibility.

28. Keywords in title

Another factor in the same level of surprise: If the page that links to you has in the title tag the keywords for which you want to be relevant Google will give you an extra that you should not miss.

29. Positive link speed

One line is enough to explain that: If the page that links to you has a coherence with its links and more and more visibility (that is, it is doing well), you get an extra relevance when it is linked.

30. Negative speed in the link

And, on the contrary, if the site is in the doldrums and every time it has less visibility and traffic due to various circumstances, that link will count less.

31. Link from activity centre page (hub)

If you link from a page that we could say is a top source of a specific niche or a page that is considered the most reputable for a specific topic you will have a special treatment, how could it be otherwise?

32. Links from an authority domain

One of the most important concepts of offpage SEO is precisely the domains that are considered authoritative by Google, since these carry much more relevance than they could be assumed. These authority websites are usually rather general and with a lot of traffic.

33. Links from Wikipedia

Another point more related to the conspiracy: The links from Wikipedia to the outside world are rel = "nofollow”, but the gossips say they would have a special treatment and, in fact, many sites try to get them any way.

34. Words around the link

The words that are very close to the link (just before and just after) help Google to define much better what they are linking to and, in fact, they are very useful when you link via a generic anchor text.

35. Age of the link

The links that are maintained over time seems to have a little extra ranking, though, do not think that they will count much; they are a minor factor.

36. Real Links Vs. Blog Networks (Splogs)

A while ago the Splogs were the basis of link building , so Google launched several changes to minimize the links that come from thematic blog networks that every agency had and that, truthfully, the content left a lot to be desired.

To know if a link is real or comes from a Splog, Google measures through its algorithm the degree of nominal interaction between the brand and the user.

37. Natural link profile

As you well know and you can imagine, a site that has a profile of links that Google considers natural will rank better.


Google may consider the inbound links or link profile of your website as either natural or non-natural. I have already mentioned that linkbuilding is not illegal . Today I describe these two link types, natural and unnatural links, to give you a little guide:

The link profile should always look natural.

You can take measures that lead to a natural link profile. Here is the comparison that shows you what to avoid, so that the link profile stays natural.

Link Type:


Article marketing, original content, forum posts, blog comments (in reasonable numbers), social signals in a matching mix.

Not Natural:

Directories and catalogues that are of low quality, paid blog posts, blog roll links and too many sitewide links are not a good sign for the search engine.

Quality of the linking sites:


High Domain Authority and Trust, high quality content (including high quality images), unique content, regularly updated content and well-written texts of sufficient length, such links look trustworthy to the search engine.

Not Natural:

A low domain authority, content that has been created more for search engines than for people, and content that is not regularly updated, does not look natural.

Anchor Text:


a mix of long-tail keyword , synonyms, phrases with keyword, brand name...

Not Natural:

keyword stuffing and exaggerated use of the money keyword in the anchor text does not look natural.

Relevant content:


The links come from websites that have content relevant to the topic, or are very close to it thematically.

Not Natural:

links that link from a non-related topic, or one that is not very close, do not look natural.

Link Growth:


A continuous, progressively increasing number of links, which are due to the content creation and announcement.

Not Natural:

large "jumps" in the number of backlinks are usually a sign of the manual "unnatural" link creation.

A Mix of Sources:


it's much more natural to have links from different sources.

Not Natural:

Many links from a limited number of sources may render the link profile unnatural.

One should always keep the link profile in mind: It is best to always analyse the last quarter to make sure that you have no negative (unnatural looking) links in the


38. Reciprocal links

If you have many reciprocal links you have a high possibility of losing visibility in search engines, since Google interprets them as link exchanges (and usually they are).

You should never forget that these exchanges are technically a manipulation of link schemes, and the practice is penalized.

39. Links generated by users

Google can to a certain extent "know" if a link has been posted by a user or by the webmaster himself, and for that purpose different channels could be used. In fact, Google is making a lot of progress in this area to avoid things like link rings, tiers and other offpage SEO strategies that are between grey and black hat.

40. Links from 301 redirects

It is normal for a redirect to pass almost all the relevance (between 70 and 80%), but this number can go to the bottom if you have too many redirects and, especially, if these seem that they are made by yourself to gain relevance of rare sites.

41. Microformats / Rich Snippets

For a couple of years the microformats or "rich snippets" have been very valuable in order to rank better and, in fact, Google launched Hummingbird to reward the sites that use them. In addition to this, as they appear in the search engine, they will increase your CTR even if they are in a lower ranking than your competition.

Now, be careful because there are already people using them to spam , how could it be otherwise.

42. TrustRank of the site that links

The TrustRank is almost as important as the PageRank , and it makes a lot of sense that, the greater the authority and trust of the site that links to you, the more that link will count in search engine ranking.

43. Number of outbound links on the page

Each time a page links the total relevance of that URL is spread between more linked URLs. Therefore, if you want to take the maximum relevance it would be best to get links from pages with few outbound links, as easy as that.

44. Links from forum profiles

Many years ago creating profiles in forums and putting the link in your biography was a must; so great to register in thousands and thousands of directories.

With this scenario what Google did (wisely) was to devalue these links to diminish their influence on ranking, so much that now they count really little.

45. Number of words from the link page

This factor is one of the simplest of this section: It seems that the more text you have on the page that links to you, the more this link will tell. Simple and direct.

46. Quality of the page that links to you

That is, a link from an original content, extensive and well written will be worth more than from a nest of spam with spelling mistakes, no matter how relevant it is.

47. Multiple links

If a site links to you across the length and breadth of the site (the typical link in the footer or the sidebar) do not believe for a moment that Google will take it into account as a lot of links, in fact, what it will do is Compress all those links to count as one.

User interaction factors

Now I will present the 10 factors of web ranking that have to do with user interaction. Let's do this:

1. Organic CTR for a keyword

This is simple to understand, the more clicks (CTR, that is, Click Through Rate) you have for a keyword, the higher Google will rank you.

If you think about it, once again it makes a lot of sense because, the more clicks a search result takes, the more reason the search engine has to promote it, since users are willing to click on it.

That's why many SEO's recommend "losing" at least 10 minutes to write your label. Title: Much of this CTR depends on it.

2. Organic CTR of all your keywords