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The Ultimate Google Ranking Factor List


Recently we met with a prospect and got into talking about Google Ranking Factors. The conversation got so in depth we figured why not share an updated list of Google Ranking Factors. This list has 200 items Google looks at when determining the value of your website and SEO Ranking. The list is no special order. It’s comprised of online articles / research, videos, experience, etc.   It covers every ranking factor we could think of as of today. The thought behind this, the more items you can check off the higher your ranking will be.

The Ultimate Google Ranking Factor List

1.   Age of Your Domain

Websites that have been online longer have more punch then newbies.

2.   Keyword Appears in Top Level Domain

Keywords use to be everything, but the world of SEO has changed. Now it’s about longtail keywords and value. You can still get juice out of this trick.

3. Domain registration length

That’s right, paying for three years of a domain is better than one.

4. Keyword As First Word in Domain

5. Keyword in Subdomain Name

Are you seeing a pattern in keywords? You gotta use them.

6. Your Domain History

You want to be transparent with your site. If you reset your history ie, use the same domain but a new site on their that’s not good.

7. Having An Exact Match Domain

Having your domain and content match is again another way to use keywords to your advantage. Just make sure the site has high-quality content, otherwise, you’ll get dinged.

8. Public vs. Private WhoIs


Private WhoIs information may be a sign of shady activity and something to hide. It’s surprising how many websites do this, it’s bad practice.

9.   Penalized WhoIs Owner

Your reputation is everything. If Google finds out you’re a Spammer, you can be tracked online and dinged.

10.   Country TLD extension:  

Using a country code like (.ca, .pt, .cn) helps your site rank but does have limits in global search.


11. Keyword in Title Tag

12.   Title Tag Starts with Keyword

This is interesting, but title tags that start with keywords tend to perform better than title tags that are at the end.

13.   Keyword in Description Tag  

Another relevancy signal. Not especially important now, but still makes a difference.

14.   Keyword is Most Frequently Used Phrase

Mix it up in terms of modifying the keyword ie “Google Ranking Factors” VS “Google Rankings.” Your keyword should dominate the content.

15.   Keyword Appears in H1 Tag

If it’s important it will be in BOLD, specifically H1. These help with rankings.

16.   Content-Length

A good rule of thumb is to have 500 or more words for content. This list is growing steadily.

17.   Keyword Density

Keyword Density Checker

Don’t stuff your content with keywords. Have it naturally placed at least three times.

18.   Latent Semantic Indexing Keywords in Content(LSI)

The content around your keywords helps Google index you. For instance, when possible add a natural description around your content to make it easier for Google.

19.   LSI Keywords in Title and Description Tags

Google isn’t perfect. Help they understand the different synonyms out there for keywords by adding descriptions.

20.   Page Loading Speed via HTML

21.   Rel=Canonical

Use this tag to get around Duplicate Content.

22.   Duplicate Content

Duplicate content will hurt you

23.   Page Loading Speed via Chrome

Page Speed

Chrome should be the first place you test your website.

24.   Image Optimization

Don’t be lazy with images. Add alternative text, descriptions, file names.

25.   Fresh Content Updates

Go back and update old content when possible. Google notices and will give you some love for it.

Related Article:   Everything You Need To Know About Web 2.0

26.   Magnitude of Content Updates

27.   Historical Updates Page Updates

28.   Keyword Prominence

Make sure the keyword shows up at least once in the first 100-words.

29.   Keyword Word Order

Exact keyword matches of a searcher’s keyword generally rank better than the same keyword phrase in a different order.

30.   Keyword in H2, H3 Tags

Do not overstuff your keyword. Having it appear everywhere may hurt your site.

31.   Outbound Link Quality

Have your content link to high-value websites.

32.   Outbound Link Theme

Search engines look at your outbound links and your content. Have them match up for a stronger SEO kick.

33.   Grammar and Spelling

34.   Syndicated Content

Original content is always best.

35.   Helpful Supplementary Content

This is basically free tools users can use and interact with ie calculators.

36.   Number of Outbound Links

Too many links will hurt you. Space them out, over time.

37.   Multimedia


38.   Number of Internal Links Pointing to Page

Everything should link somewhere. This is good practice.

39.   Quality of Internal Links Pointing to Page

40.   Broken Links

Too many broken links will hurt your website.

41.   Reading Level

42.   Affiliate Links

Nothing wrong with an affiliate link here and there, but too many and you may look Spammy in Google’s eyes.

43.   HTML errors/W3C validation

Crappy coding will hurt your SEO signals.

44.   Page Host’s Domain Authority

45.   Human Editors — Stay away from too much Automation

46.   Page’s PageRank

47.   Optimized URL Length

48.   URL Path That is Closer to Homepage URL Get Boosts

49.   Page Category


50.   WordPress Tags


51.   Have Keyword in URL

52.   Keyword in URL String

53.   Priority of Page in Sitemap

54.   Too Many Outbound Links Is Bad For ya

55.   References and Sources — Show Your Research

56.   Bullets and Numbered Lists — Keep Content Organized

57.   Quantity of Other Keywords In Content Helps

58.   Older Pages Get More Juice


59.   User-Friendly Layout Is A Must

60.   Parked Domains Have Decreased Visibility

61.   Useful Content


62.   Valuable Content Provides Value and Unique Insights

63.   Contact Us Page Should Exist

64.   Domain Trust/TrustRank


65.   A Well Put Together Site Architecture

66.   Site Updates — Keep Things Fresh

67.   Number of Pages

Low page websites are not the dream guys.

68.   Presence of Sitemap Helps

69.   Create a Terms of Service and Privacy Pages

70.   Duplicate Meta Information On-Site Will Hurt You

71.   Having A Breadcrumb Navigation

72.   Site Uptime VS Downtime Impacts Ranking

73.   Server Location

74.   Having An SSL Certificate Improves Signal

75.   Your Website Should Be Mobile Optimized

76.   Content on YouTube Will Give You A Boost

YouTube Phone

77.   Simple Site Usability

If your site is too hard to click around this will hurt you.

78.   Installing Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools HELPS.

79.   User Reviews Is Good For Your Site


80.   Linking Domain Age — Older Links are Better=

81.   # of Linking Pages

82.   Alt Tag (for Image Links) And Leveraging Anchor Text Is Good Practice

83.   Links from .edu or .gov Domains Is Good

84.   # of Linking Root Domains Pointing Your Way is HUGE

85.   # of Links from Separate C-Class IPs

86.   Authority of Linking Page

87.   Authority of Linking Domain

88.   Links From Competitors

89.   Social Shares of Referring Page


90.   Sponsored Links May Decrease Link Value

91.   Contextual Links In Content Are Powerful

92.   Excessive 301 Redirects to Page Will Hurt You

93.   Links from Bad Websites Will Hurt You

Related Article:   The Quality Link Building Spider

94.   Guest Posts Pointing Your Way Will Give You A Boost

95.   Links to Homepage Domain that Page Sits On

96.   Nofollow Links Can Help and Hurt You. Keep The Number Natural.

97.   Diversity of Link Types

98.   Backlink Anchor Text

99.   Internal Link Anchor Text


100.   Link Title Attribution

101.   Page Level Relevancy

102.   Links From Other Countries Will Help

103.   Link Location In Content  

Links at the start of content will have more weight.

104.   Link Location on Page

Links in the sidebar aren’t as powerful as those in the content.

105.   Linking Domain Relevancy

106.   Text Around Link Sentiment

107.   Link from Authority Sites Are Awesome

108.   Linked to as Wikipedia Source


109.   Pages That Support Microformats Is Good

110.   Being Listed In DMOZ

111.   Older Backlinks Help

112.   Links from Real Sites VS Spam Comments

113.   Natural Link Profile

114.   Reciprocal Links Will Hurt You If Done Too Often

115.   User Generated Content Links

116.   Links from 301 Have Little Link Juice

117.   TrustRank of Linking Site

118.   Number of Outbound Links on Page Shouldn’t Be Too High

119.   Forum Profile Links Are Devalued

120.   Word Count of Linking Content

Links from content that is above 500 words are worth more than links from content that is 25 words.

121.   Quality of Linking Content (Poor Vs Excellent Content)

122.   Sitewide Links Count as One Single Link

123.   Organic Click Through Rate for a Keyword

124.   Organic CTR for All Keywords

125.   Bounce Rate Should Never Be At 90

Bounce Rate

126.   Direct Traffic Is Good

127.   Repeat Traffic Is Also Very Good

128.   BlockedSites Will Impact Your Link Quality Score

129.   Chrome Bookmarks Will Help You Out

130.   Number of Comments Helps Quality Score

131.   How Long Users Are On Your Site Impacts Rankings


132.   Newer Pages Get A Boost

133.   Sites You Frequently Visit Get A Boost

134.   User Search History

135.   Geo Targeting Is Good Practice


136.   Safe Search Optimized ie No Curse Words is Good Practice

137.   Being In Google+ Circles Helps

138.   Google News Has Higher Rankings

139.   Big Brands Get Special Treatment From Google

140.   Shopping Results Get More Air Time

141.   DMCA Complaints Will Hurt Your Rankings

142.   Local Searches Have Higher Ranking In SERPs then organic searches

143.   Image Results Rank Higher Than Content In Some Cases

144.   Easter Egg Results — Google Loves Playing Games and Easter Eggs Always Get Special Treatment.

145.   Single Site Results for Brands aka Ranking for Your Brand Name


146.   Number of Tweets


147.   Authority of Twitter Users Accounts

148.   Number of Facebook Likes

149.   Facebook Shares

150.   Authority of Facebook User Accounts

151.   Number of Pinterest Pins Helps

152.   Votes on Social Sharing Sites

153.   Number of Google+1’s

154.   Authority of Google+ User Accounts

155.   Known Authorship

Although this has been shut down authorship still impacts SERPs and Google Rankings.

156.   Social Signal Relevancy

157.   Site Level Social Signals


158.   Placing Brand Name in Anchor Text

Anchor Text

159.   Branded Searches — Your Name Should Pop Up

160.   Site Has Facebook Page and Likes

161.   Site has Twitter Profile with Followers

162.   Being Mentioned But No Link To Your Site Still

163.   Number of RSS Subscribers

164.   Business Address Listed in Google + Helps

165.   Official Linkedin Company Page:  Most real businesses have company Linkedin pages.

166. Employees Listed at Linkedin

167.   Legitimacy of Social Media Accounts

Related Article:   How To Optimize Blogs

Social accounts 20,000 followers and 5 posts don’t have a lot of weight in Google’s eyes. Those who post regularly and get engagement do.

168.   Brand Mentions on News Sites

169.   Website is Tax Paying Business


170.   Panda Penalty

If you have a ton of low-quality links you got hit by Panda / Google Update as being a spam site.

171.   Links to Crappy Websites Hurt You

Linking out to low-quality sites will hurt you.

172.   Redirects May Hurt You

173.   Popups or Distracting Ads Can Hurt You


174.   Site Over-Optimization ie Keyword Stuffing Will Hurt You

175.   Page Over-Optimization (Same As Above)

176.   Ads Above the Fold Get Penalized

177.   Hiding Affiliate Links Will Hurt Ya

178.   Affiliate Sites — Google Hates You

179.   Auto-generated Content Is a No, No In Google’s Eyes

180.   IP Address Flagged as Spam Will Hurt You

181.   Meta Tag Spamming ie Keyword Stuffing is Bad Practice


182.   Unnatural Burst of Links Will Hurt You

183.   Links With Short Lifespans ie That Get Deleted Quickly Will Hurt You

184.   If You Were Hit By The Penguin Penalty Your Site Is Hurting

185.   Link Profile with High % of Low-Quality Links

186.   Linking Domain Relevancy — Links Should Be Relevant

187.   Not Listening to Google About Unnatural Links Warning

This warning can be found in your Google Webmaster Dashboard IF Google sent you one.

188.   Unnatural Amount of Links from the Same Class Server Will Hurt You

189.   Pharmacy Anchor Text Is Dangerous And Can Hurt You

190.   Manual Penalty

Sometimes Google hands you a manual penalty, you need to address it ASAP.

191.   Selling Links Can Hurt You If You Get Caught

192.   Google Sandbox

New sites that get a sudden jump in links are put into the Google Sandbox where their visibility is limited for a bit.


193.   Google Dance

The Google Dance shakes up rankings. This is when your site moves from ranking to not ranking. New sites face this a lot.

194.   Disavow Tool

If you were hit by negative SEO this tool will help, get your rankings back on track.

195.   Reconsideration Request

If Google tells you to do something, for the love of God do it. Your rankings depend on it.

196.   Temporary Link Schemes

Don’t create spammy links, when Google finds out you will get hit.


197.   Drop-In Social Signals

If you buy bot likes on social media and they disappear quickly it will hurt you.

198.   Poorly Optimized YouTube Videos

Youtube is connected to Google. You want to optimize these videos for better results.

199.   Social Engagement

Being on social media is great. Taking the time to engage is better.

200.   Social Profiles

If you create a social profile make sure to fill out the bio, add an image and interact.

201.   Not Watching Out For Matt Cutt

Google Matt Cutt. He was the face of SERPs for the longest time at Google. He has an active blog and provides a ton of content and value. He often shares insight into ranking factors is quoted like crazy when it comes to SEO. He’s good to know.

-Treehouse 51

PS.   Where do you guys stand? There are over 200 Google Ranking Factors to consider the next time you make a website and are looking to rank. The list is huge, changes often, and is almost impossible to check off each one. But you have to start somewhere right? Right. If you’re looking for an edge in SEO don’t hesitate to reach out to at