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.
WHAT ABOUT PAGE LEVEL FACTORS???
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.
A good rule of thumb is to have 500 or more words for content. This list is growing steadily.
17. Keyword Density
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
Use this tag to get around Duplicate Content.
22. Duplicate Content
Duplicate content will hurt you
23. Page Loading Speed via Chrome
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.
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.
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
WE JUST HIT THE 50 MARK — KEEP GOING THERE IS A LOT MORE!!!
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
GET READY FOR SOME ONSITE- FACTORS!!!
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
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
INTERESTED IN SOME BACKLINK FACTS? SURE YOU ARE!!!
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
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
BOOM! YOU JUST HIT THE 100 MARK!!! KUDOS, BUT WE STILL HAVE A LOT MORE TO COVER!!!
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
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
LOOKING FOR SPECIAL ALGORITHM FACTORS?
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
READY FOR SOCIAL SIGNAL FACTORS?
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
INTERESTED IN BRAND SIGNALS?
158. Placing Brand Name in 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
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
READY FOR ONSITE WEBSPAM FACTORS?
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
IT’S TIME FOR OFF PAGE WEBSPAM FACTORS
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.
AND NOW SOME HONORABLE MENTIONS
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.
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 www.Treehouse51.com