160 Google Ranking Factors (Why Your Website is Dying)
June 5th, 2019 | by Ravi Chahar || 8 Comments |
You may already know, there are more than 150 Google ranking factors which decide the SEO score of your website.
The algorithm keeps changing, and you may keep seeing ranking declining. If you wish to learn every SEO aspect, Google uses to handle SERPs, this is the guide for you.
People talk too much, and you should ignore everyone and learn what’s necessary.
In this post, I am going to mention each and every factor, including On-Page SEO and Off-Page SEO along with the user experience.
Learning these Google ranking factors will help you increase your search results.
Let me Start the List Without Boring You
Get your seat belt tight because you’re going to a rollercoaster ride of an SEO session.
#1. Content Attracts Google
A few years ago, SERPs were controlled manually, but now Google has algorithms like RankBrain algorithm, which always seeks quality content.
#2. Trust Factor Matters a Lot
A while ago, Brian Dean explained how people were getting the Google Penguin update so wrong. Google gives high preference to its trusted websites.
#3. Number of Pages
If you have noticed, the SEO of pages is much better than simple blog posts. But adding more and more affiliate pages can be a negative impact.
#4. The Sitemap
The sitemap guides Google about the number of posts, pages, and media present on your website. To index it, you should add your website sitemap to Google Search Console.
#5. The Contact Us Page
Google also checks a site’s info and the person behind it. If you have a piece of appropriate information on your Contact Us page, you get a plus point.
#6. Post updates
Google keeps monitoring your website and the frequency of the content you update. That’s the reason SEO experts recommend to keep the content fresh.
#7. SSL (HTTPS)
After an official announcement by Google to display notifications in Google Chrome, it’s mandatory to enable an SSL certificate on your WordPress website.
Most web hostings provide one year free SSL certificate. You can also use CloudFlare for free.
#8. A Website’s Design
Many people ignore the structure and keep writing. Google also follows the latest web design trends, so if you’re using the 1990s structure, hire a web designer to revamp it.
#9. Duplicate Meta Information
You should never use a site meta description of the SEO plugin and a WordPress theme(if available) together. Duplicate meta information can drag your site down.
#10. Website Uptime
It shows your website is an authentic member of the web. This is one of the most important Google Ranking factors.
#12. Website Server Location
The web hosting server location can also impact SEO depending on the geographical searches. If you have a local business, you should choose a nearby server.
#13. Enabling Breadcrumbs Navigation
You may have noticed many websites showing your current location on the site. It navigates you to provide a better user experience which improves SEO ranking.
#14. The Bounce Rate
The more you make your readers stay, the better will be the bounce rate. High bounce rate can hurt your website. You can reduce it using interlinking, adding related posts, and much more.
#15. Website Reviews
If you’re running a business website, reviews matter a lot. Sites like Tripadvisor, Yelp can help you maintain a reputation.
#16. Mobile Responsiveness
If you monitor your website correctly, you would know that more than 30% of people are using smartphones to surf the web.
You should have a mobile-friendly website. It depends on the WordPress theme you choose.
#17. Website Indexing
I had met many people whose sites weren’t even indexed in Google. It’s because they didn’t submit it.
Just after starting a WordPress blog, you should add your WordPress website to Google Search Console.
#18. YouTube Videos
If you search for something, there are chances that a YouTube video appears before text content. Embedding YouTube videos in your blog posts help a lot.
#19. Too Much Depending on Google Analytics
As you know, people install Google Analytics plugins, which slow down the website. And the more data Google has, the more it will take time to analyze your website.
According to many SEO experts, you shouldn’t depend on these tools. Just monitor your website and transform your marketing strategies.
#20. Site navigation
Always try to make navigation easy so that people can know where they are and which pages, posts, categories they can explore.
If you’re creating a page with no navigation to go to the homepage of your website, it’s useless.
Your Domain Matters a Lot in Google Indexing
#21. Domain Age
This is the first question you may be having in your mind. According to Matt Cutts, the domain age matters but not as much as people think.
A 4 months old domain and an 8 months old domain don’t differ.
#22. The Length of a Domain Registration
This is a kind of complicated stuff to understand. According to Google, it depends on the type of domain and the latency. People legitimate domains get registered many years ago before they get used.
#23. Domain Past
If you’re thinking about buying an old domain, you better check its history. Let’s say the domain was used by a Casino website, and you want to start a blog, it will definitely put some negative impact.
#24. Keyword in the Domain
It’s also one of the Google ranking factors everyone talks about. But it’s not going to boost your website at a higher level, but having a keyword signal always helps.
#25. Keyword at the Starting of a Domain
That’s also a plus point to your website. If you’re going to start a blogging site, and a keyword is at the starting, the preference is more than which don’t. Just like BloggingLove.
#26. Keyword in the Subdomains
According to a study done by Moz, the keywords in the subdomains can also boost the SEO of your website. You can check Hubspot for that.
The website has different sections for marketing and others.
#27. Domain Length
If you’re thinking about adding all the keywords to your domain name, then it’s a wrong signal to Google. There are many things you should learn before you choose a domain name.
People make so many domain name mistakes.
#28. Domain Name Country Extension
It’s true that a domain name extension to countries like the USA, Canada, and the UK can help you empower SEO, but sometimes it can be a negative impact on global searches.
For a local business, it’s definitely one of the best Google ranking factors.
#29. Search Query Matching Domain
If you’re thinking about creating a matching website like “freewebsite,” “CES” then it’s not going to work. People use such domains for event blogging to make money.
Google removes low-quality exact domains from SERPs.
#30. Public VS Private Domain Info
In 2006, Matt Cutts mentioned that it’s always good to be transparent. Hiding your domain info is never a good idea. Why would you do if you’re an authentic person?
Unfortunately, nowadays, web service companies badger domain owners.
#31. Blocked Domain Info
If Google finds out that a Domain registration is done on the name of any spammer or a person who has been blocked, it’s not going to be good.
On-Page SEO Google Ranking Factors
#32. Keyword in the Heading Tag (H1)
If you start optimizing your content from it’s heading, SEO will surely improve. It directly sends positive SEO signals about a page or a post.
#33. Keyword in the Title Tag
Don’t get confused between the title and the H1 heading. But anyhow, adding keywords help you boost overall SEO.
#34. Keywords at the Starting of the Title
According to a study done by Moz, pages with keywords at the starting of the title performs better than which don’t.
#35. H1 Starting With a Keyword
While writing your post, you should try to add the focus keyword at the starting of the primary heading. It’s one of the most important Google ranking factors for On-page SEO.
#36. Keyword in the Meta Description
If you’re using Yoast SEO or any other SEO plugin, you get a box to fill meta description of an article. It’s always recommended to use your focus keyword.
Whenever you search anything, Google highlights that query in the meta description of the SERPs.
#37. The Highly Used Phrases
You may have seen people using “Content is King” and many other phrases. These also help you increase the chances to improve SEO. But not so much.
#38. Keyword Density Always Matter
Keyword stuffing can lead to the Google Penalty. Many newbies try to add keywords everywhere in a hope to boost SEO, it ruins the ranking.
According to most of the SEO experts, keeping it between 0.5% to 2.5% is considered as good.
It has always been one of the most controversial topics to discuss. After every Google update, many things get changed but not the fact that long articles get higher indexing preference.
Google ranking factors involve this as a crucial thing while deciding the quality.
Though it depends on the type of topic you use. If you stretch too much, it will turn off your readers, which will affect the bounce rate.
#40. LSI Keywords (Latent Semantic Indexing)
These keywords in content help Google to find more information about a single word or a phrase. They can act as good SEO signals to Google.
#41. LSI Keywords in the Description
Long keywords will make Google understand synonyms of words which increase the chances of getting higher SERPs.
#42. Image Optimization
Adding the title, alt text, name of the images helps you improving the On-Page SEO. If you use the Yoast SEO plugin, the media files also get indexed in Google, which is a positive signal.
#43. Page Loading Time
Google recommends having websites which have a better page loading time. It should be below 3 seconds. You should boost your WordPress website speed.
#44. Canonical Link Tag
You should know the proper use to avoid getting penalized by Google. It’s used when you write the same story someone else did on a popular website. To give a reference, you should add the “rel=canonical” tag.
#45. Duplicating the Content
Many beginners try to play some trick by using language translators and publish the duplicate content. Eventually, your website’s rank will fall.
#46. Chrome Page Speed
Not everyone uses a dynamic CMS like WordPress, so a few people are still running static websites. Chrome gathers the data of your website, and Google may use it to manage SERPs.
#47. Recently Updated Content
Google prefers to show the latest updated articles to keep the freshness. If you check WPBeginner, you will see the last updated date. Well, that’s what you should keep in your mind.
#48. Page Updates
How often do you update your pages? Like your About Us page, contact us, or any other. It matters a lot to keep the freshness anywhere you can.
#49. Amount of Change
The magnitude of the update also impacts SEO. You change a few words, one line or a complete section. Adding a new section is a significantly different update.
#50. Order of the Keywords
The keyword “website performance report” will index better than “performance report of a website.” In all Google ranking factors, this is something you should practice more.
#51. Keyword Placement
It’s always recommended to place a keyword in the first 100 words. It’s a great signal for Google.
#52. Number of Multimedia
It matters a lot as to how many images, videos, and PDFs you embed into your article.
#53. Keyword in the H2, H3 Tags
It’s not only about the main heading, but you should also try to use a keyword in the second, third, and the rest of headings.
#54. Grammar and Spelling Mistakes
Perfect grammar is a positive signal to Google bots to consider your website as qualitative. Use online tools like Grammarly.
#55. Outbound Links
Many people consider that linking to an external website will pass the SEO juice. Well, if you are outbound to the reputed website, it surely improves the SEO.
#56. Outbound Link Category
If you write about blogging and link to a website about mobiles, it can send negative signals to Google.
#57. Re-Published Content
If you re-publish an old content, it may not index as it did before. It’s also termed as supplemental indexing. Google algorithm seeks uniqueness.
Whether it’s about maintaining the bounce rate or to engage more readers, interlinking is always the best practice.
#59. Number of Internal Links
If many internal links are pointing towards a particular page, it’s showing significance better than other pages.
#60. Too Many Outbound Links
If you sell too many do-follow outbound links, it can send the negative signal to Google. So before you sell your “do-follow” links, think twice.
#61. Quality of the Internal Links
The pages with higher quality linking to any domain have a better Google ranking than which low-quality linking.
#62. Mixed Content
After installing an SSL certificate, your website may show mixed content, which means not all pages have been transferred from HTTP to HTTPS. It can also be a vulnerability.
#63. Too Many Broken Links
While being busy in doing internal linking, you may forget monitoring the broken links. You should check regularly. Once a week is good.
#64. Page Authority
No doubt that Google ranks pages with a higher authority better than others. You can check it along with the Domain Authority.
#65. Page reading Level
While writing an article, you should check the reading score. Most SEO plugins let you know it. Google also checks it.
#66. Too Many Affiliate Links
If you have a review website, it’s a different scenario, but for a simple blogging website, too many affiliate links can be bad.
#67. The Permalink Length
A long URL can affect the ranking of your post and pages. Always try to be precise. That’s why it’s recommended to choose the SEO-friendly permalink structure.
#68. So Many Errors
Google also checks the code of your website. So many coding errors can lead to the loss of ranking. That’s why it’s important to use properly-coded plugins and themes.
#69. The URL Path
The page closer to the home page of your website will get a higher priority in indexing.
#70. Using Keyword in the Permalinks
How can you forget about one of the most important Google Ranking Factors? On-Page SEO starts from the heading and the permalink.
#71. Article Tags
Adding relevant tags to your articles can help Google to resonate it with the search query. Most WordPress themes support tags.
#72. Post Category
Just like tags, a post category also plays an important role in Google indexing.
#73. Showing Category in URL
Some SEO experts believe that adding a category to a permalink can also help you get better SEO results.
#74. Too Many Outbound Links
Even if you don’t add do-follow outbound links, so many outbound links can distract Google from the main content.
#75. Reference Guides
Though it’s not confirmed whether adding reference content helps or not, it surely considers outbound links of that content.
#76. Quality of a Sitemap
The plugin you use to generate a sitemap is also important. Use Yoast SEO. No need to use any additional plugin.
#77. Older Page
As I have mentioned before, Google likes regularly updated content. So if you keep updating your page for years, it can have better SEO than new pages.
#78. Bullets and Points
While writing an article, using bullets and points increase the readability, and so do SEO.
#79. User-friendly Layout
Having an unstructured layout can ruin everything. It’s also one of the Google ranking factors.
Users’ Activities Also Influence the Overall SEO
#80. Bounce Rate
Many people don’t consider it as a ranking factor, but it is. Suppose, the bounce rate is fluctuating so much in a small interval of time, whether it goes too high or too low, it definitely affects ranking.
#81. Higher Click for Keywords
Maybe the Click Through rate for keywords matters while showing search engine results.
#82. Organic CTR for the Focus Keyword
Many SEO plugins allow you to target multiple keywords apart from your focus keyword. Google may also consider those CTR.
#83. Google Chrome Bookmarks
As you know, Google tracks the Chrome data. It’s possible that it will give relevance based on the number of people bookmarked your website.
#84. Number of Comments
The number of comments shows better user interaction. Google tracks what people are liking.
#85. Direct Website traffic
Not everyone opens the main URL of a website. They either bookmark or find your link on any social site. Google also tracks the percentage of direct traffic your website gets.
#86. Old Visitors
The number of people who come back to read your content is also one of the Google ranking factors.
#87. The Interaction Time
While coming from Google, the amount of time a person engages with content is also taken into consideration.
#88. User Browser History
This happens just like YouTube. It shows the related content. If you search for “cute puppies,” you keep seeing associated videos on the home page.
Social Media Signals
#89. Facebook Likes
Everyone knows that it’s one of the most common Google ranking factors. The more people like the content, the more it gets an SEO power.
#90. Facebook Shares
Shares are much effective than likes because not every website has a Facebook like button. And a share means the URL of your website is outbound. You can use Facebook marketing strategies for better results.
#91. Number of Quality Facebook Shares
Google also tracks how many authority accounts shared your content on Facebook. The share of a verified account has better signals.
#92. Tweets on Twitter
If your content gets shared through the social media buttons, Google may consider them as ranking signals because of better user interaction.
#93. Authority Twitter Accounts
The authority twitter account having millions of followers will have a better response as compared to someone having a few thousand.
#94. Number of Stumbles
Many website owners add the Stumbleupon sharing button. The number of stumbles can also be Google ranking factors.
#95. Reddit and Digg
These are also the two most influenced social platforms. Let’s say you get thousands of upvotes on Reddit and Digg, it can also be a better signal for Google.
#96. Number of Pins
Pinterest is also one of the most popular social media platforms right now. Google can consider the number of pins as a better ranking factor.
#97. Google Plus Shares
NOTE: Google Plus has been discontinued.
#98. Authority Google Plus Profiles
If you create your company page or a personal profile, you can easily find it on the first page of Google. Maybe the shared content be considered as a ranking factor.
#100. Social Sharing Frequency
The number of shares in a particular amount of time can also be something Google checks.
#Overdo is Always Harmful
#101. So Many Redirects
More 301 redirects impact a website’s performance, and Google never refers to such websites.
Never add a popup on your website. It keeps badgering your readers, and Google looks for a clean website.
#103. Over Content Optimization
Some people might go too far with adding keywords in headings, meta descriptions, image alt text, and a lot more.
#104. Low-Quality Content
Sometimes, a Google algorithm bans low-quality websites from maintaining a decent result.
#105. Over-Optimization on the page
If you’re too focused on pages, it can hurt your Google ranking.
#106. Computer Generated Content
Some people try to act smart by autogenerating the content using advanced tools. Eventually, their websites get banned.
#107. So Many Ads
Making money can blindfold you. Showing ads to a limit is good, but not all over your website. People come here to read, not to buy products.
#108. Affiliate Link Cloaking
Hiding your affiliate links can be a reason for Google penalty. Nowadays, people are trying cloaking tools.
#109. Affiliate Websites
Though it’s good to create an Amazon affiliate websites, sometimes, due to the violation of the Google terms and conditions, such websites get blocked.
#110. Meta Description Keyword Stuffing
Never try to use your keyword more than twice in the meta description of your website. Try to keep it natural and optimize it accordingly.
#111. So Many Inbound Links
Neglecting outbound links and adding so many inbound links can also be harmful. Just try to look natural. Don’t interlink one post many times in the same article.
#Branding Google Ranking Factors
#112. LinkedIn Company Page
Listing yourself and your co-workers on an official LinkedIn page also helps search results as a brand.
#113. Brand keyword Search
People directly search for your brand name. Everyone knows Facebook, but not everyone directly enters its URL.
#114. Twitter Company Profile
If you have noticed, company pages get verified easily on Twitter whose tweets gets a lot of social shares, which directly helps to improve Google ranking.
#115. Your Name With a Brand
When you idolize someone, you may search like “Sam Twitter,” and it certainly helps Sam to enhance his brand.
#116. Mentions by News Websites
You know that New websites have amazing SEO and if your website’s name gets mentioned. It surely is great news.
#117. Facebook Company Page
Well, if you do it right. A company page on Facebook can send a lot of social signals to your website.
#118. Brand mentions at Reputed Websites
With no hyperlink, if your brand name gets mentioned at any leading website, it surely is a good signal to Google.
#119. Having Legitimate Social Accounts
Creating social accounts can’t work until you have someone to interact, and if someone does, it’s one of the Google ranking factors.
#120. Listed at Google Business
You may have seen search results for companies showing working hours and other details on the right side of text results.
#121. Number of RSS Subscribers
Having your email subscribers can’t be seen by anyone, but Feedburner can be tracked by Google.
#122. Registered Business
If your company has been legally registered and paying taxes, it can be a good sign for Google.
#The Type, Number, and Nature of Backlinks
#123. Links from high authority Websites
People always recommend commenting on high authority websites. That’s because there are chances of getting backlinks.
#124. Links from an Old Domain
Even in terms of backlinks, a domain name has a plus point. We’re talking about active old websites.
#125. Number of Page Links
You can get links from the same website from different pages while commenting or by getting mentioned in posts.
#126. Linking to Root Domains
According to Moz, this is also one of the most important Google ranking factors.
#127. Higher Domain Authority Websites
Considering the domain authority after vanishing Google Page Rank, you should search for the websites having higher domain authority.
#128. Links from Spammers
Having a link from a game website or an adult website can ruin your Google ranking.
#129. Links from Education Websites
The website having a .edv extension is really good for your website’s SEO. If you get a link, it’s really effective.
#130. Government Websites
You may have seen many govt. websites. People visit them in a throng.
#131. Image Links
You can also improve SEO by getting alt text links from a better website.
#132. Guest Posts Always Work
Linking the home page to an author bio or adding any post in your guest post is a great way for natural link building.
#133. Sponsors Links
You may get tons of emails to pay you $100 for getting a do-follow link. The words like sponsor and partner link can kill SEO.
#134. Links from Your Competitors
It’s also a good idea to get a backlink from your competitors. But only using White SEO tricks.
#135. Link Location
Just like keywords, the location of a link anchor text also matters. Let’s say your website gets links in the first paragraph.
#136. Country Domain Extension
Just like before, backlinks from domains like .us, co.uk, and .ca can help you improve SEO. It’s also one of Google ranking factors.
#137. Link Diversity
If you get the same kind of backlinks, it can’t be as much effective as diverse backlinks.
#138. Related Page Link
Getting the backlink from a page having a similar niche is always helpful. It’s more natural. That’s why it’s recommended to comment on similar niche websites.
#139. Wikipedia Link
Though you don’t get a do-follow link, still it adds a trust factor to your website’ name which impresses Google.
#140. YouTube Backlink
How can you deny the fact that it also helps you maintain a better and trustable website?
#141. Links Frequency
Google keeps monitoring your backlinks, and whenever you get a new backlink, ranking gets improved. You may have checked it on Alexa.
#142. Links from Directories
Though many experts say, that blog directories no longer work, however, at least you get to link to a high authority website. That’s more than enough.
#143. Age of a Backlink
Now, this also something you should consider as one of Google ranking factors.
#144. Avoid Reciprocal Links
Some bloggers exchange links, and Google penalizes their websites. You shouldn’t make such a mistake.
#145. Links from Websites not just Blogs
It’s better to have a link from a real website than a newbie’s blog. You can’t have that much of quality from a new blog having 1 Million rankings.
#146. Link from a Contextual Page
Instead of having a link from a blank page, it’s always good when someone links to your post somewhere in the middle of his/her page.
#147. Continuous Link Loss
If the link velocity is negative, it can affect the SEO ranking of your website at a greater extent. Google searches for something growing.
#148. Self-Generated Links
Many people use click bait to grow backlinks, but eventually, Google identifies those.
#149. The Linked Content Quality
It matters a lot whether you’re getting a link from a quality content or just a random website with no SEO score.
#150. The Size of the Linking Content
Yes, it’s better to get a link from a 3000 words article instead of a 300 words post.
#151. Forum Profiles
As you know, many blogging forums let you add a website URL to a profile. Getting such links is also one of Google ranking factors.
#152. Sudden Change in the Links
If you get hundreds of backlinks at once, it can be really suspicious because it’s not possible to get tons of backlinks naturally.
#153. Links Warning
Google Search Console can also send you an unnatural link building warning, which can turn out to be fatal.
#154. Google Penalized
Of course, if your website has been hit before by Google, the search visibility will definitely be less.
#155. Same IP server Links
Getting so many links from the same IP server can also be a reason to get penalized. Though you can’t know which website is hosted to which IP server.
#156. Trading Links
Many people try to make money by selling links. It can’t be considered as a good link practice.
#157. Disavow Links
While improving SEO, it’s recommended to remove bad backlinks using disavow tools. Sometimes these tools can affect ranking.
#158. Blocking Google Bots
While crawling your website, if you block Google bots, it can be suspicious. Use robots.txt to handle crawling.
#159. Link from a Hacked Website
This can also be one of the Google ranking factors. You can’t take chances.
#160. Link from an Affiliate Website
A backlink from a simple affiliate website can be considered as bad. Try to connect to websites which don’t have any kind of violations.
#161. Safe Website Links
The backlink from an adult website can kill SEO for sure. Be safe to get what you want.
#162. Image Searches
It’s always recommended to index an image sitemap to Google Search Console.
Are You Confused to Follow these Google Ranking Factors
You don’t need to worry about everything unless you’re doing something wrong. Maintaining a natural flow is the best trick you should follow.
There are many Google ranking factors which can fret you a lot. I have tested many, and this list reflects everything.
You can sign up for my newsletter to receive regular updates.
Don’t worry, I am not going to spam you.
These Google ranking factors can help you boost the overall SEO of your website. If you still have any doubt, feel free to drop a comment.