160 Google Ranking Factors (Why Your Website is Dying)
January 13th, 2018 | by Ravi Chahar || 5 Comments |
You may already know that 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 the ranking declining. If you wish to learn every SEO aspect Google uses to handle the 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 the 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 the Google Bots
A few years ago, the SERPs were controlled manually by now Google has the algorithms like RankBrain algorithm which always seeks the 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 the pages is much better than the simple blog posts. But adding more and more affiliate pages can be a negative impact.
#4. The Sitemap
The sitemap guides the 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 the site’s info and the person behind it. If you have an appropriate information on your Contact us page, you will 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 the official announcement by Google to show the notifications in the Google Chrome, it’s mandatory to enable an SSL certificate on your WordPress website.
Most of the web hostings provide one year free SSL certificate. You can also use CloudFlare for free.
#8. The 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 the site meta description of the SEO plugin and the WordPress theme(if available) together. The 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 the SEO depending on the geographical searches. If you have a local business then you should choose a nearby server.
#13. Enabling Breadcrumbs Navigation
You may have seen at many websites showing your current position on the website. It navigates you to provide the better user experience which improves the SEO ranking.
#14. The Bounce Rate
The more you can stay your readers the better will be the bounce rate. The 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, the reviews matter a lot. The websites like Tripadvisor, Yelp can change help you maintain the reputation.
#16. Mobile Responsiveness
If you monitor your website properly, you would know that more than 30% people are using their smartphones to surf the web.
You should have a mobile-friendly website. It depends on the WordPress theme you choose.
#17. Website Indexing
I have met many people whose websites weren’t even indexed in Google. It’s because they haven’t submitted it.
Just after starting a WordPress blog, you should add your WordPress website to Google Search Console.
#18. YouTube Videos
If you search something, there are chances that YouTube video appears before the content. Embed YouTube videos in your blog posts help a lot.
#19. Too Much Depending on Google Analytics
As you know, people install the 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 the navigation easy so that people can know where they are and what are the 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.
The 4 months old domain and the 8 months old domain don’t differ.
#22. The Length of the 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.
Many people call them the premium domains.
#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 the higher level but having a keyword signal always helps.
#25. Keyword at the Starting of the Domain
That’s also a plus point to your website. If you’re going to start a blogging website and the 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 the 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 bad 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 the domain name extension to the countries like the USA, Canada, the UK can help you empower the SEO but sometimes it can be a negative impact in the 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 the exact match website like “freewebsite”, “CES” then it’s not going to work. People use such domains for the event blogging to make money.
Google removes the low-quality exact domains from the 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 the web services companies badger the domain owners.
#31. Blocked Domain Info
If Google finds out that the Domain registration is done at the name of any spammer or the 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, the SEO surely improves. It directly sends the positive SEO signals about the page or the post.
#33. Keyword in the Title Tag
Don’t get confused between the title and the H1 heading. But anyhow, adding the keywords help you boost the overall SEO.
#34. Keywords at the Starting of the Title
According to the study done by Moz, the pages with the 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 main heading. It’s one of the most important Google ranking factors for the 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 the meta description of the 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 to increase the chances to improve the SEO. But not so much.
#38. Keyword Density Always Matter
Keyword stuffing can lead to the Google Penalty. Many newbies try to add the keywords everywhere in the hope to boost the SEO, it ruins the ranking.
Keeping it between 0.5% to 2.5% is considered as good according to most of the SEO experts.
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 the crucial thing to while deciding the quality.
Though it depends on the type of topic you write about. 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 the content help Google to find more information about a single word or the phrase. They can act as the good SEO signals to Google.
#41. LSI Keywords in the Description
These keywords will make Google understand the synonyms of the words which increases the chances of getting the higher SERPs.
#42. Image Optimization
Adding the title, alt text, name of the images helps you improving the On-Page SEO. If you use Yoast SEO plugin, the media files also get indexed in Google which is a positive signal.
#43. Page Loading Time
Google recommends having the websites which have the 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 famous website. To give a reference, you should add “rel=canonical” tag.
#45. Duplicating the Content
Many beginners try to play some trick by using the language translators and publish the duplicate content. Eventually, your website’s rank will fall.
#46. Chrome Page Speed
Not everyone uses the dynamic CMS like WordPress so a few people are still running static websites. Chrome gathers the data of your website and Google may use that data to handle the 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 the SEO. You change a few words, one line or the 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 the Google ranking factors, this is something you should practice more.
#51. Keyword Placement
It’s always recommended to place the 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, PDFs, you embed into your article.
#53. Keyword in the H2, H3 Tags
It’s only about the main heading, you should try to use the keyword in the second, third, and the rest of the headings.
#54. Grammar and Spelling Mistakes
A perfect grammar is a positive signal to the Google bots to consider your website as qualitative. Use the online tools like Grammarly.
#55. Outbound Links
Many people consider that linking to an external website will pass the SEO juice. Well, if you 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 any old content then it may not index as the old once did. It’s also termed as supplemental indexing. Google algorithm seeks the 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 to a particular page, it’s showing significance better than other pages.
#60. Too Many Outbound Links
If you sell too many dofollow outbound links, it can send the negative signal to Google. So before you sell your “dofollow” links, think twice.
#61. Quality of the Internal Links
The pages with the higher quality linking to any domain have the better Google ranking than which low-quality linking.
#62. Mixed Content
After installing SSL certificate, your website may show the mixed content which means not all the 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 on the regular basis. Once a week is good.
#64. Page Authority
No doubt that Google ranks the pages with the 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 of the SEO plugins let you know that. Google also checks it.
#66. Too Many Affiliate Links
If you’re having a review website then it’s a different scenario but for a simple blogging website, too many affiliate links can be bad.
#67. The Permalink Length
So much 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 the higher priority in indexing.
#70. Using Keyword in the Permalinks
How can you forget about one of the most important Google Ranking Factors? The On-Page SEO starts from the heading and the permalink.
#71. Article Tags
Adding the relevant tags to your articles can help Google to resonate it with the search query. Most of the WordPress themes support tags.
#72. Post Category
Just like tags, the post category also plays an important role in Google indexing.
#73. Showing Category in URL
Some SEO experts believe that adding the category to the permalink can also help you get the better SEO results.
#74. Too Many Outbound Links
Even if you don’t add dofollow outbound links still, so many outbound links can distract Google from the main content.
#75. Reference Guides
Though it’s not confirmed whether adding the reference content helps or not but it surely consider the outbound links of that content.
#76. Quality of the Sitemap
The plugin you use to generate the sitemap is also important. Use Yoast SEO. No need to use any extra plugin.
#77. Older Page
As I have mentioned before, Google likes the regulary updated content. So if you keep updating your page for years then it can have the better SEO than the new pages.
#78. Bullets and Points
While writing an article, using bullets and points increase the readability and so do the 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 the ranking.
#81. Higher Click for Keywords
Maybe the Click Through rate for keywords matters while showing the search engine results.
#82. Organic CTR for the Focus Keyword
Many SEO plugins allow you 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 the relevance based on the number of people bookmarked your website.
#84. Number of Comments
The number of comments shows the better user interaction. Google tracks what people are liking.
#85. Direct Website traffic
Not everyone opens the main URL of the website. They either bookmark, find your link on any social website. 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 that person engage with the 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 related 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 the SEO power.
#90. Facebook Shares
Shares are much effective than the likes because not every website has a Facebook like button. And a share means the URL of your website is outbound. You can use the 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 the better signals.
#92. Tweets on Twitter
If your content gets shared through the social media buttons, Google may consider them as the ranking signals because of the better user interaction.
#93. Authority Twitter Accounts
The authority twitter account having millions of followers will have the 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 the Google ranking factors.
#95. Reddit and Digg
These are also 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 the better ranking factor.
#97. Google Plus Shares
According to many SEO experts, Google Plus shares are given more priority than any other social media platform.
#98. Authority Google Plus Profiles
Just like Twitter, let’s say someone has one million followers on Google Plus and he/she shares your content. It’s natural that the content will spread more.
If you create your company page or a personal profile, you can easily find it on the first page of the 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 redirect impacts the 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 the headings, meta descriptions, image alt text, and a lot more.
#104. Low-Quality Content
Sometimes, the Google algorithm bans the low-quality websites to maintain a decent result.
#105. Over-Optimization on the page
If you’re too much on the pages, it can hurt your Google ranking.
#106. Computer Generated Content
Some people try to act smart by autogenerating the content using the 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 the reason for the Google penalty. Nowadays, people are trying the cloaking tools.
#109. Affiliate Websites
Though it’s good to create an Amazon affiliate websites still 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 the 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 the official LinkedIn page also helps the search results as a brand.
#113. Brand keyword Search
People directly search for your brand name. Everone knows Facebook but not everyone directly enters the 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 the 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 News websites have the amazing SEO and if your website’s name gets mentioned. It surely is a great news.
#117. Facebook Company Page
Well, if you do it right. The 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 famous website, it surely is a good signal to Google.
#119. Having Legitimate Social Accounts
Creating the 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 the search results for the companies showing the working hours and other details on the right side of the 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 the backlinks.
#124. Links from an Old Domain
Even in terms of the backlinks, the domain name has a plus point. We’re talking about the active old websites.
#125. Number of Page Links
You can get links from the same website from the different pages while commenting or by getting mentioned in the 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 the .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 the SEO by getting alt text links from a better website.
#132. Guest Posts Always Work
Linking the home page to the 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 dofollow link. The words like sponsor and partner link can kill the 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 the keywords, the location of the link anchor text also matters. Let’s say your website gets links in the first paragraph.
#136. Country Domain Extension
Just like before, the backlinks from the domains like .us, co.uk, .ca can help you improve the SEO. It’s also one of the Google ranking factors.
#137. Link Diversity
If you get the same kind of backlinks, it can’t be as much effective as the diverse backlinks.
#138. Related Page Link
Getting the backlink from the page having the similar niche is always helpful. It’s more natural. That’s why it’s recommended to comment on the similar niche websites.
#139. Wikipedia Link
Though you don’t get a dofollow link still it adds the 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 any a new backlink, the ranking gets improved. You may have experienced on Alexa.
#142. Links from Directories
Though many experts say that blog directories no longer work, but at least you get to link to a high authority website. That’s more than enough.
#143. Age of the Backlink
Now, this also something you should consider as one of the Google ranking factors.
#144. Avoid Reciprocal Links
Some bloggers exchange the links and Google penalizes their websites. You shouldn’t make such 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 the quality from a new blog having 1 Million ranking.
#146. Link from a Contextual Page
Instead of having a link from a blank page, it’s always good to 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 the 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 the website URL to the profile. Getting such links is also one of the 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 the unnatural link building warning which can turn out to be a 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 be also a reason to get penalized. Though you can’t know that which website is hosted to which IP server.
#156. Trading Links
Many people try to make money by selling the links. It can’t be considered as a good link practice.
#157. Disavow Links
While improving the SEO, it’s recommended to remove the bad backlinks using the disavow tools. Sometimes these tools can affect the ranking.
#158. Blocking Google Bots
While crawling your website, if you block Google bots, it can be suspicious. Use robots.txt to handle the 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 pure affiliate website can be considered as bad. Try to connect to the websites which don’t have any kind of voilations.
#161. Safe Website Links
The backlink from an adult website can kill the SEO for sure. Be safe to get what you want.
#162. Image Searches
It’s always recommended to index the image sitemap to Google Search Console.
Are You Confused to Follow these Google Ranking Factors
You don’t need to worry about everything until you’re doing something wrong. Maintaining the 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 is what 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.