There are 205 known factors that can affect how well a webpage performs on a google search. They are devided into nine categories:
These factors are based on your website’s domain name.
It doesn’t matter if you have a new domain name as long as your site provides quality content and it has been live for quite a few months. In fact, Matt Cutts, one of the Google engineers says that in Google algorithm, the domain age isn’t much of a factor that you need to worry about. You need to instead focus on creating good content and get more links in order to show up in the search results.
According to Matt Cutts, no search engine has ever confirmed that the length of domain registration is one of the ranking factors. It makes sense to renew your main domain since you want to keep it for some time. In addition, instead of worrying about your domain expiring, you would prefer the convenience of renewing it. Therefore, just like the domain age, the domain registration length may not be an essential SEO factor to affect your search rankings.
Placing your keywords in the domain name indicates a relevancy signal for search engines. If the keywords used in the domain name are appropriately added in your content, then your search rankings can be enhanced.
If you have entered the keyword in your domain name, then make sure it is the first word. Having the targeted keyword as the first word certainly help in boosting your website’s search ranking. Nevertheless, you need to provide quality content that is consistently created and shared to your target audience. You should note that this is not one of the most important factors but certainly one of the little things that can be done to boost your search rankings.
Just like adding the first word in domain name boosts your SEO efforts similarly, adding the targeted keywords in sub-domain allows you to improve your search rankings. Therefore, if you are unable to add the keyword in the domain name, then make sure you add it in the sub-domain.
Your website needs to have a good online reputation. Google considers the domain history for ranking purpose. Its algorithm decides whether a website is good or bad by taking into account who you are on the World Wide Web. With the help of “Whois data” or several drops in rankings, Google may reset a website’s history and negate all the links it has received so far. Hence, it is important to have a good domain history so that your search ranking is not affected.
You need to have a quality website in order to take advantage of exact match domains. Exact match domains are one of the SEO elements that influence your ranking on search engine result pages (SERPs). But, if Google’s algorithm identifies that your website has low-quality content, then the exact match domains will reduce the ranking.
As mentioned before, Google can see your whois data, and if it finds out an owner is a spammer, then it will search for other websites owned by him/her and scrutinize them as well. This way it prevents spammers from creating more websites once they are penalized.
If you use the country code TLD extension, it will boost the search rankings for that country, but it won’t have much of an impact when it comes to global search rankings. Therefore, if you want to focus on a specific target audience for a country, then you can consider adding the country’s TLD extension code for the same.
The on-page SEO elements are concerned with modifying or optimizing for a web page. They include the following.
Including keywords in your title makes it easier for search engines to know what content a web page includes. Apart from the search engine point of view, when users see a keyword phrase in the title (which they have entered in the search query) of the content, there are likely to click on that website link.
According to Moz data, title tags that include keywords at the beginning tend to perform better than the others.
Adding keywords in the description may not give you a huge boost for your SEO efforts, but it acts as a relevancy signal for search engines to know what the page is about. Therefore, you should include the keywords at least once in the description.
The H1 tag is known as the second title tag. Therefore, apart from adding keywords in the title tag, you should add it in the H1 tag since it sends a relevancy signal to search engines that can boost your search rankings on Google.
Adding keywords to your main body or the content of a web page is very important to improve your search rankings. You can include the keywords a multiple number of times. However, you should not add too many keywords as search engines can penalize you for the same. Ideally, for the content of 1000-1200 words, you can include the focused keyword up to 5-7 times.
Usually longer content tends to perform better since it provides more information to users and they stay on your website for a longer period. Plus, it also allows you to add more keywords. However, it does not mean that you should focus on creating only lengthy content. You need to keep your users in mind before creating content.
This is similar to how many times you use keywords in your content. Google uses the keyword density factor to determine what topic that page is about. But again, if you use too many keywords, it can backfire and lower your search rankings.
Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) keywords are those keywords which enable search engines to extract the meaning from words with more than one meaning. For example, the word “tear” has two different meanings. Therefore, when you use the LSI keywords in title tag and description, the web crawlers can recognize the difference between the two words. As a result, it understands the topic better and accordingly indexes and features them in the search results.
Adding these LSI keywords in content will help search engines spiders to know what the specific word implies in the content and accordingly gets them featured in the search results for relevant keywords.
You cannot afford to have duplicate content on your website. It means that there shouldn’t be two web pages that have the same content or even a slightly modified one. If Google identifies that you have duplicate content, then it will penalize your website and lower its search rankings.
If you start with content syndication, i.e., publishing your content on content syndication websites, then you need to use the rel canonical tags. This is because you will have the same content on your website and the content syndication websites. Therefore, to avoid the problem of duplicate content, you add rel canonical tags to prevent search engines from considering these two pages as duplicate content. The rel canonical tag will enable search engines to understand that your website’s web page is the original one and therefore, rank it higher.
With the help of HTML code and the file size, search engines can identify the loading speed of a website. Users are likely to move out of your website if it takes a long time to load. Ideally, your website should load within a few seconds. If not, then the search engines will consider ranking your website lower.
Google also uses Chrome user data to manage the page loading time better than HTML. This is because it considers the CND usage, the speed of the server, and other signals that are not related to HTML site speed signals.
It is difficult for search engines to identify what the image is about unless you add an alt text to it. Therefore, when you add an image, fill in the alt text, title, description, and the caption for the same. By adding your focused keywords in the alt text, you enhance your website’s search ranking.
The search engines are likely to feature new or updated content. Therefore, you need to provide updated content on a regular basis which is critical for time-sensitive searches.
The edited version of your web pages should be more than modifying just a few words. Consider adding or removing an entire section to specify that there is a quality update in the content. Therefore, if the magnitude of content update for different web pages on your website is high, then you are sure to improve your search rankings.
The number of times you update your older content indicates to search engine that you always keep fresh content on your website. So, if you frequently update your content, then it will surely boost your website rank.
Your focused keywords should be added only when you feel it makes sense to add. When you add keywords naturally, it provides a relevancy signal. Also, consider adding your keywords at least once in the introduction.
Just like including keywords in the H1 tag has a positive impact in ranking your website higher similarly, by adding keywords in H2 and H3 tags and other sub-headings can be crucial to enhance your SEO rankings.
It is true that the order of keywords does affect the SEO rankings. If you have a keyword phrase, make sure you use it as it is without rearranging the words. Also, do not try to add or remove another word or character within the keyword phrase. This is because a minor change in keyword phrases can make your website to get featured for the modified keyword phrase or not get featured at all. Hence, always stick to the keywords that you have got from your keywords research.
There should not be any grammatical or spelling errors especially, with your targeted keywords. Moreover, such mistakes affect the quality of the content and no search engine will list a website with poor content quality on top of the search results. Thus, before publishing content, run it through with Grammarly check and proofread your content thoroughly to avoid grammatical and spelling errors.
You can consider syndicated content instead of copying the same content from another web page. If search engines identify that the content is used elsewhere, then it will penalize your website. Hence, have original content on your website and if you need to use other website’s content, then ensure that the content is syndicated, i.e., a portion of the content is made available on your website and users will be directed to the original source/website to read the complete content.
According to Google’s Rater Guidelines document, when you provide helpful supplementary content, it signals that you have quality content and hence, it assists in improving your website rank. Examples of supplementary content include currency symbols, loan rate calculators, and other interactive recipes.
Linking to authority websites send trust and relevancy signals to search engines. Therefore, when you add external links to your articles, ensure they are performing well in the search results and are official or authority websites.
According to Moz, search engines use the content of the web pages that you link as a relevancy signal. It means that when you link to other websites that have similar content to your website, then the search engines come to know the topic of your content. If you have a page related to dentist linked to an external page that talks about movies, then this might indicate search engines that your page is perhaps about the movie named dentist instead of a dental clinic or dental treatment. Hence, your outbound link theme should be relevant to the content on your page.
More outbound links can negatively affect your SEO rankings. This is because when you add multiple outbound links, then it leaks out the link juice to the other linked pages. As a result, your web page may become less important and the search engines may give more preference to the pages that you have linked to.
The more internal links you have on your website, the better it is for your SEO efforts. The number of internal links to a page makes it easier for search engines to know what the page is about. Plus, it also enables the search engines to index the linked pages on your website. Moreover, if there are multiple internal links to one of your pages, it indicates that the page is an important page on your website and hence, search engines are likely to rank it higher in the search results.
The quality of internal links certainly has an impact on your SEO rankings. Internal links from authoritative websites or pages pass on the link equity and increase your SEO efforts.
Broken links affect the user experience which is an important factor for SEO ranking. So, if search engine spiders identify too many “broken links”, “404 error” or “dead ends”, then it will certainly reduce the value of your website which has a direct impact on your website rank. What’s worse is that Google may even term your website as “neglected and abandoned site”. Hence, it is strongly recommended that you fix if there are any broken links on your website. There are many tools that identify broken links and you can fix them by adding temporary or permanent redirects accordingly.
Different forms of content such as images, videos, GIFs, etc. can be used to enhance and improve the quality of your content. Textual content can become boring and so, users prefer other forms of content which makes it interesting and appealing. Users will therefore, stay on your website for a longer time which positively affects your website rank.
If users stay on your website for long, then your website is surely to have a good search rank. For this purpose, you need to provide content that is user-friendly. This means it should be simple to read, should provide valuable or unique information, and keep your users engaged. A high readability score indicates your website has quality piece of information and thus, these are likely to perform better in the search results.
Generally, affiliate links do not have a significant effect on your rankings. These links are specific URLs that contain the affiliate user details. However, if there are too many affiliate links, then Google’s algorithm will take a close look at other quality signals on the site to determine if it is a thin affiliated website. Therefore, it’s best you reduce the number of affiliate links.
Silly HTML errors, validation problems or coding mistakes are a strict no. These errors signify that you have a poor-quality site and so you need to rectify these mistakes as soon as possible.
The web page of an authoritative domain is likely to perform better in the search results than the web page of a domain with less authority.
Although Google has now stopped updating Page Rank, earlier higher PR pages used to rank better than the lower PR pages. So, Page Rank do not hold any relevance at present.
The shorter the URL length, the better it is to improve your SEO rank. In fact, Search Engine Journal confirms that longer URLs tend to affect the search visibility.
If your page is hidden deep down in your website, then they are likely to be poorly performing ones. This is why, the pages which are close to your homepage rank better in the search results. So, if you want to improve the rank of one of your important pages, then consider having it closer to the homepage.
Although it’s not confirmed, Google had filed a patent for a system that allows human editors to influence the search engine result pages.
The page category that appears on is a relevancy signal. Just as pages which are close to homepage perform better likewise, pages which are closer to the search category rank better than the others.
If you have a WordPress website, then you can add specific tags to your blog posts. These tags boost your SEO efforts. Yoast.com mentions that it improves your SEO, by relating one piece of content to another and more specifically a group of posts to each other.
The next 25 SEO factors comprise a blend of both page-level SEO factors and website-level SEO factors.
Keywords usage in URL makes it easy for search engines to know what the page is about. Plus, adding keywords in the URL acts as a relevancy signal, and there is a good chance that your content or web page will be featured in the search results when a user enters your focused keywords in the search query.
Google can read all the categories in the URL string. The thematic signals enable the search engine to know what is the content of a page. For example, if you have a category of “men’s fashion”, then the search engine can understand the following sub-categories and content of the page under the category of “men’s fashion”.
Having content in the form of numbered or bullets list makes it easy for the users to read a lengthy post. Google prefers content that is user-friendly and hence, it makes sense to provide content in the form of listicles.
When you extract some information from other sources, you need to add a reference link or the source preferably at the end of an article. The Google Quality Guidelines affirms that reviewers should keep an eye on the sources when they go through certain pages especially the ones with authoritative sources. Although adding sources and references for credible information is a sign of quality, the search engine denies using such external links to boost your SEO rankings.
How important a web page can be understood with the help of a sitemap.xml file. The priority of a page provided by the sitemap.xml file may affect the search rankings to some extent.
The search engines prefer pages that have fresh content. So, even if you have an old page but update its content on a constant basis, then your page is sure to perform better in the search results.
More outbound links affect the readability. According to a quality rater document, pages with too many links obscure the page and distracts a user from the core content. If you have multiple outbound links that direct a user to another page for more information, then it doesn’t make sense for a user to stay on the current page. Therefore, add outbound links only when you cannot provide sufficient information on the existing page.
If you are focusing on a keyword, your page can also get featured for other similar keywords. The more your page ranks for multiple alternative keywords, it indicates to search engines that you have quality content, and hence, your SEO rankings are improved.
The visitors on your website should find your page layout user-friendly and navigable. If you do this, then visitors tend to stay on your website for long, and the increase in the session duration will indicate to the search engines that you have quality content. As a result, your SEO rankings are enhanced.
A parked domain refers to an additional domain hosted on your account. It will display the same website as your primary domain name and will give the parked domain its own email box. On December 2011, Google made an update that decreased the search visibility of the parked domains. Therefore, having a parked domain may not boost your SEO rankings.
Having quality content doesn’t necessarily mean that the same content is useful. At times, quality content can be difficult for readers to understand because of word usage and other elements. Backlinko reader Jared Carrizales explains that Google can easily distinguish between “quality content” and useful content”. Therefore, apart from having quality content, it should be useful and helpful for your readers.
The site-level SEO factors include elements that are concerned with the optimization process for your entire website.
If your website has quality and valuable content for any given topics, then Google is sure to rank your website on top of the search results. To create valuable and unique content, you need to conduct a thorough research and come up with first-hand information. Also, providing fresh and new content often will only boost your SEO efforts.
Your Contact Us page is an important page to get customers to contact you. Therefore, this page should be well stated, and it should match with your whois information and the details on your Google My Business page. If you have the same contact details across multiple platforms in the online world, then Google will surely boost your SEO rank.
The site trust or the trust rank is measured by how many links your website is away from the most trusted seed websites. This measurement is of great importance when it comes to SEO ranking.
Websites with good architecture tend to rank higher. Such websites enable Google to organize the content thematically and hence; it benefits them by improving their rankings.
When you update the content on your web pages, your entire website gets updated automatically. Frequent updates and fresh content on your website is an added advantage to your optimization process.
If you have several web pages, your website will be difficult to navigate. Too many pages will only weaken your site’s navigability. Therefore, it’s best to limit the number of pages on your website.
The importance of sitemaps cannot be neglected in the optimization process. With a sitemap, the search engines are able to index all the pages easily. This, in turn, increases the visibility of your website since almost all the pages on your website are indexed.
If your website needs maintenance, then ensure that it is up quickly. Too much time on your site maintenance or some server problem may have a negative impact on your rankings.
The location of the server has a significant impact on the ranking of your website at different locations. In the case of geo-specific searches, this is one of the critical factors that may affect your website rank.
The Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificates are small data files that digitally bind a cryptographic key to details of an organization. Google has confirmed that it indexes the SSL certificates and considers the use of HTTPS to rank websites. Also, a user would feel secure to visit your website if it has the SSL certificate. Hence, having SSL certificate for your website is highly recommended.
The service terms page and the privacy page indicate Google whether your website can be trusted or not. Therefore, you need to have these two pages clearly visible for both the search engines and the visitors on your website.
Duplicate content is something that will affect your search rankings and having duplicate on-site meta description content is no different. The visibility of your website will reduce and hence, you need to come up with short but original content for your on-site meta description.
Breadcrumb navigation is a style of having user-friendly website architecture. Such kind of navigation allows users and search engines to identify where they are on a website. Since it is user-friendly and assist visitors on your website, the search engines consider breadcrumb navigation as one of the factors to rank a website.
With the increase in the number of smartphone users, it’s vital that you have a website that operates well on all types of devices. Google is sure to rank a website high if it is a mobile-friendly. To create a mobile-friendly website, you need to have a responsive web design, should load quickly, etc. The search engine has also started adding “mobile friendly tags” to websites that display correctly on mobile devices. Moreover, Google has started to reduce the rankings of websites that are not mobile-friendly especially for mobile search results. Therefore, having a mobile-optimized website is something that you cannot afford to ignore.
A point that I keep reiterating in my blog posts is that there is no single method to get ranked on Google. The reason? Simply because Google does not factor in only one element to rank a website on its search results. For example, Google does not ONLY look at keyword density and keyword relevance to rank a website. There is an innumerable number of ranking factors, many of which we don’t know because Google hasn’t revealed its secret. Continuing from where I left off, there are still more 25 ranking factors you should know.
Being a product of Google, YouTube gets a higher preference than others platforms on the web. Creating a channel on YouTube allows you to increase your brand’s online presence and also receive more traffic onto your website. When you share videos on YouTube, the mere presence of your brand name and link can have an impact on your ranking. Keep an eye on the subscriptions, likes and shares. The greater the number, the better impact on your SEO.
Site usability simply refers to your website’s ease of navigation. When your website loads, how easily can you move from Page A to B to C. For the most part, this is dependent on your website design. Is your navigation menu easy to use? Does your footer have links?
The more easily users can navigate your website, the longer they stay, and the longer they stay – the higher the average session time on your website. All of these elements are linked and tells Google that your website is relevant to users.
Google has to take notice of your website to indexed it. Ideally, you have to depend on Google web crawlers to find and index your site. However, by getting on Google Analytics and Webmaster, you speed up the process. Additionally, both the tools have excellent features which help improve your website and SEO. Google Analytics gives you data like the number of visitors and bounce rate, while Webmaster gives you frequent updates for your site.
There are many review platforms that are online. The most popular ones are Yelp and Angie’s List. Online users actively take the time out to review and rate businesses. How is this a ranking factor? Google is smart and boosts businesses that get many reviews and high ratings. In comparison, brands which get bad reviews, have poor rating, or no rating at all, are not given a high SEO rank.
Backlinking to websites is a known and powerful method of boosting your SEO rank. However, Google gives more importance to domains which have a longer presence on the web. Reason? Because Google trusts websites that are older.
Google notices the number of web page that your website links to. The more web pages you link to, the more you enhance your SEO rank. Good SEO is all about how well your website connects to the rest of the web.
Domain plays a big factor in SEO. Domain refers to the core website domain URL. For example,
All of the above website links lead to separate web pages on the web – however, they also lead to a single domain – rapidboostmarketing.com. Google counts this as a single Linking Domain Root. When you add backlinks in your website, ensure that they all don’t lead to a single domain root.
In comparison between “Linking between web page” (point 81) and “Linking between domain roots”, Google clearly gives more importance to high linking domain roots.
When you sign up for web hosting, the hosting service will provide you with an IP address. An IP address is like a postal address which makes your website findable on the web. IP addresses have 4 classes – A, B, C and D.
Websites that have a C-Class IP address are given a higher SEO ranking. C-Class IPs are seen as having better networking and are more secure. You want your website to link to more separate C-Class IPs.
How is Google supposed to read and categorize an image on the web? Google does it through image content. When uploading an image on the web, you quite often have the option to fill in details such as image title, description, Alt Text, and Caption. By filling in all these sections, you provide details for Google to rank the image and your page.
Domains come with top-level domains, which is essentially .ca, .com, .org and so on. When adding external links to your website, you want to pick ones that have high quality. Websites with top-level domains of .edu and .gov are considered to be very high quality links.
Google ranks websites that have high quality links. Such websites are considered credible. Using PageRank, Google reviews the authority factor of the website. So, link to web pages that have a high page rank.
Each website has an overall domain authority. While your home page may rank on the first page of a search, your service page ranks on the third page of a search – however, each of your web pages is linked through something called Domain Authority. Google assesses the number of links, quality of links, keyword optimization, web page rank and much more to give a website a domain authority rank.
When your website links to other websites, ensure that these websites have a high domain authority.
When it comes to website linking, a key factor Google assesses is how relevant the linked websites are to your own. Hence, it makes completely sense to link to your competition. Run a SERP’s test on your competition’s site before linking to them; you only want to link to good quality sites.
Many web pages allow for social media sharing. These usually are event pages or blog posts. A web page with a high number of social shares has more traffic and in turn, a high page rank. By linking to such a page, your website connects a high quality web page.
How do you find out if a web page has high social media shares?
I have constantly mentioned that you should link to good quality web pages and web domains. What happens when you link to a bad quality website? This would be referred to as a Bad Neighborhood. In your attempt to quickly link to many websites and increase your SEO rank, you may link to website with a poor SEO rank.
Bad neighborhood links on your website send a message to Google that your website isn’t credible.
How do you identify bad neighborhood links?
Guest posts are simply seen as a ranking factor because it helps back-link to your website. Links on the guest post, which go to the author’s bio page or even the original article source, increase traffic on your website and show website credibility to Google.
How do you write a guest post?
A home page is essentially the landing page of the website. It’s the door through which visitors can explore the rest of the website. The general practice is to have the home page as the website domain name. For example: rapidboostmarketing.com is also the home page.
When linking to websites, try to link to their home page.
No-follow is a method for website developers to ask Google web crawlers to not follow the web page. This means that neither does Google index the web page nor does it give the page a rank. Hence, adding such links to your site is a wasted effort.
In a haste to add multiple links to your website, you may add URLs sourced from a single domain. Google identifies this as an issue. A website containing links to a single domain is seen as unnatural and Google could tag it as web spam. This would have a detrimental effect on your SEO strategy. On the other hand, linking to multiple domain sites is seen as a natural SEO tactic.
If the link contains words like “Sponsored Links” or “Link Partners”, it lowers the value of the link. These links would appear when your website has internal and external links that are ads such as Google AdSense ads. This is because Google identifies the link as a form of advertisement and it does not strongly count as an SEO tactic.
Links that are added to the web page’s content are valued more than links on an empty page. This is done through hyperlinking a part of your web content.
Too many 301 redirects slow down your websites speed, showcase a poor website structure and navigation, and offer a poor website experience to your users. It’s recommended that your web page doesn’t have more than four 301 redirects.
Links that have an anchor text are valued more than plain URL links inserted on your site. Why? Because Google is able to assess the contextual value of the post. For example: the anchor text is Google Analytics 101 and link is: https://rapidboostmarketing.com/google-analytics-101/.
The page title and URL contain the word Google Analytics 101 and the anchor text is Google Analytics 101. Through this, Google assesses that the link is very relevant. Hence, Google values such links more.
Internal anchor text is essentially the same as Backlink anchor text. However, the major difference is that the linked anchor text leads to an internal web page.
The best method to tell Google that the hyperlinked anchor text and link URL are relevant is to ensure that the linked title and the anchor are the same.
You can enhance your own SEO activities when you know these ranking factors. It is vital that you take the time out to understand each of these ranking factors and comprehend the action you must take. At least set a time frame of 3 months to take action on these ranking factors and increase your website’s SEO rank.
Getting backlinks from your country-specific websites which are also relevant to your business and content can help you in scoring better SEO rankings. Your country-specific websites will mostly have top-level domain extension such as .ca, .uk, .us, .co, etc.
The major focus of any effective SEO strategy is obtaining links from relevant websites. A backlink from a relevant website is always better than getting the links from the unrelated websites that don’t operate in your business niche.
Just like getting links from a relevant website, getting links of a web page that is closely related to the content of your web page is better for your web page’s SEO rankings. A link from an external page that has similar kind of content as that of your particular web page is more powerful than a link from an irrelevant web page even if the entire website is relevant to yours.
From a good SEO point-of-view, the links used at the beginning of the content piece of a webpage carries more weight than the links placed at the end of the content. Although there is not much of importance difference between the locations of the links, a web page with links placed at the start of the content is slightly better.
The location of the link in a web page plays a significant role for good SEO rankings. The links embedded in the web page content has more value than the links placed in the sidebar or footer components of a web page. Links in the sidebar or footer area of a web page will only pass a little or average level of SEO ranking value.
As I already spoke about this, placing keywords in the content title helps in earning good SEO results. But, when an authority website or a credible source of information links to your focused keyword which is placed in the title of their content piece, then your website tends to get a better SEO rank.
Sentiments of the words around the anchor text also affect the SEO value of the website. If the text around the link on a website has positive sentiments or recommendations and referrals, the website tends to carry more SEO weight and value.
Link velocity is the rate at which different web pages link back to a particular website or web page. Positive link velocity is when a web page earns numerous quality links from relevant websites in a short span of time. A site with a good positive link velocity usually gets high SEO boost.
Negative link velocity refers to losing quality backlinks faster than gaining them. This negative link velocity is a signal of declining website’s popularity. The decreasing popularity and quality of the website with losing links also decrease the SEO value.
Hub pages are resource web pages that have a lot of content revolving around the specific topics and keywords. Linking to these web pages is common but getting backlinks from these resource websites is what matters. Getting links from hub pages or top recognized resources gives a boost to a web page or website where the links are embedded.
Authority websites are trusted and credible sources that most knowledgeable people refer to. A backlink from an authority link adds weight to a website and instantly boosts the SEO rankings of that website.
Wikipedia is still considered to be a good source of information. Getting backlinks from Wikipedia websites and web pages give the website the added trust and authority. These added authority and credibility considerably boosts the SEO rankings on the search results.
Along with the relevancy and acquisition rate of the backlinks, their age also matters. According to a Google patent, older backlinks have more SEO value than newly created links. The biggest reason for this increased SEO value is that the date of the links cannot be faked, and hence, it signals trust to the search engine.
Co-occurrence is the term used to describe the frequency of keywords appearing on a web page. The search engine gives higher SEO value to the web pages that have keywords co-occurring in the near vicinity of the words or phrases that are backlinked. The re-occurrence of the relevant keywords helps Google to understand the meaning of the page content.
Splogs, also known as spam blogs are created for the only purpose of linking them to other associated websites and increasing the link velocity and importance of that website. However, Google today is smart enough to differentiate between the splogs and the “real websites.” The search engine gives more value to links coming from “real sites” than from such “fake blogs.”
Reciprocal links are the linkages between two relevant websites created and linked in order to provide more information and increase the SEO rankings. However, according to Google’s Link Schemes, “excessive link exchanging” or excessive reciprocal linkage should be avoided as it can impact the SERP rankings of both the websites.
Natural links also known as the organic or real links are built without any additional effort put by the website owner. The search engine is smart enough to distinguish between a natural link and a fake one. Higher SEO rankings are given to websites that have more natural backlinks.
User-generated content in any form created for web pages, websites, blogs, social media, etc. can be good or bad for your website’s SEO. The links from such a source act as a deciding factor when it comes to Google ranking. Google can identify links coming from a user-generated content source vs. the actual site owner.
A 301 redirect may not have the same amount of link juice as a direct link. However, Matt Cutts says that a 301 is similar to a direct link. Today, it is believed that a 301 redirect is a permanent redirect which passes between 90-99% of equity to the redirected page.
Microformats are tags supported to convey additional metadata and other attributes in web pages. It has been concluded that the web pages which support microformats have a higher SERP CTR and rank better than those which do not support.
As of Mar 17, 2017, dmoz.org is no longer available. However, it once used to have a great impact on the SEO rankings of websites. Getting listed in DMOZ directory, also known as open directory project added to the good SEO of a website on the search engine.
The trustworthiness of the websites that link to your web pages and websites also matter. The trust rank gets passed on from the linking website to the linked website, and that is how the search engine can rank your website correctly. Thus, backlinks from untrusted websites should be avoided.
Although there isn’t any upper limit on the links you must place on your web page, the more links a page has, the less internal PageRank each of those links passes. More links equals less PR for each link. Hence, to have a good PageRank, have less outbound links on a single page.
Links from forum profiles are still counted as backlinks. However, backlinks from these forum profiles aren’t valued too much by the search engine due to industrial-level spamming. Hence, you can avoid having such links on your web pages to avoid any SEO value depreciation in the future.
Today, backlinks from a detailed article with a higher word count are more valuable than a link from a small article. Longer content is regarded as “real” content, and the website is known as a credible source.
Along with the word count, the quality of content on the linking website also plays an important role in boosting SEO rankings of your website. If you get backlinks from web pages that have rich content, good designing, and interesting multimedia content, then your optimization process is enhanced.
Sitewide backlinks are the links that are present on all the web pages of a website. These links are not bad if they are natural and relevant. But, Matt Cutts has confirmed that sitewide links are “compressed” to count as a single link for a given website. Hence, having these links multiple times across different web pages no more makes sense.
After understanding these backlinking factors, you can gauge what kind of links are ideal for your website. In the next module, I will explain various user interaction factors that can affect your SEO value and rankings.
The Google User Interaction factors refer to those factors which are related to the user’s interaction with a website. Such factors include the following:
The web pages that are clicked more are judged based on the Click Through Rate (CTR). If you have a higher CTR for one of the keywords, then your web page rank will improve considerably for that same keyword.
If more people visit your website for a particular set of keywords, then your website is more likely to feature for the same set of keywords in the search results. It is a human-based, user interaction signal that the search engines receive indicating that your website is relevant for those set of keywords.
The bounce rate refers to the percentage of people moving out of your website after viewing only one web page. A high bounce rate may indicate that your web page is boring, or the users are not interested in your content. Bounce rate is a controversial topic as some people disagree that it plays any role in the optimization factor. Nevertheless, the search engine uses the users as “quality testers” to know if the website is liked by them or not and a high bounce rate may affect your SEO rank.
It is confirmed that Google uses data from Google Chrome to identify whether people visit a website directly or not. The websites with direct traffic are regarded as quality websites and hence, they are given more preference over the other ones which do not receive direct traffic. Also, it can be an indication that a website with direct traffic has quality content and hence, people tend to remember the website and visit it.
It is understood that a website has unique and quality information if visitors visit the website again and again. Therefore, if a website has repeated traffic, then it is sure to get Google ranking boost.
Websites that are blocked by users will negatively impact their SEO rankings. However, this feature is discontinued in Google Chrome, but the Panda update continues to use it as a quality signal.
If your website is bookmarked on Chrome, then this is good news for your optimization process. Google uses Chrome Usage Data and therefore, pages bookmarked in Chrome get a boost in SEO ranking.
Danny Goodwin from Search Engine Watch claimed that Google uses the toolbar data to rank websites in the search results. Some key data that Google uses from the toolbar include the web page loading speed and malware information. Therefore, to enhance your ranking, you need to take a look at the toolbar data and optimize your website accordingly.
When a page has several comments, it means that people like your content. At the same time, these comments should be positive as well. Multiple positive comments tell the search engine that you have something that visitors are interested to read. Plus, it’s a sign that users are interacting with your content and hence, it is good for your optimization process. Therefore, make it a point to add the comment section after all your blog posts.
The time a visitor spends on your web page is known as dwell time. The amount of time spent on a page indicates Google whether you have quality content on your website or not. The more time a visitor spends on your website, the better it is for your website’s optimization process.
The next 17 SEO factors are based on the Special Algorithm rules that you should be aware of.
Query Deserves Freshness is a ranking algorithm by Google wherein the search requests require you to provide latest or up-to-date search results. For some search queries, Google gives a boost to latest pages or fresh content. This update was likely to affect almost 35% of the search queries for only those keywords which people are searching for and not all the keywords that are available.
Google may add diversity to search result pages for some unclear keywords. There are some keywords such as “WWF”, “GDP”, etc. which may have multiple intents. Hence, Google will modify its search results to add those pages which may otherwise not rank for such keywords.
Websites that are frequently visited once you sign in Google are given more preference or SEO boost.
The user’s search history can affect the search results for further searches. For instance, if a user searches for “prices” in general and then for “smartphones”, then the search engine is more likely to feature websites that talk about “smartphone prices” higher in the search results.
If your website has the local server IP and the country specific domain name extension such as .ca, .uk .in, etc., then the website is sure to perform better in the local search results.
Websites and authors who are added to Google+ Circles tend to get a little SEO boost.
Google will penalize your website by reducing its rankings in case there too many DMCA complaints for your website content. Hence, you need to be aware that you do not include anything on your website for which you are not authorized, or do not have the license to use them.
When people turn on safe search mode, then websites which contain curse words or adult content won’t be featured in the search results. Therefore, to get your website featured when the safe search mode is turned on, you need to ensure your website does not include adult content or words.
The Bigfoot Update listed some more domains to each of the search engine results pages. As a result of this update, the search rankings for some websites affected negatively.
If a user adds any shopping-related keywords in the search query, then it will display various results related to shopping such as flight searches and others.
Apart from following the normal SEO process if you have done local SEO for your website by adding the right address, claiming your Google My Business Account, submitting your website on local directories, and following other local SEO rules, then your website will be listed higher in the search results over the ones which get listed organically but without local SEO.
Some keywords will trigger Google News Box and if your website includes such keywords, then it will certainly boost your SEO rankings.
The Vince Update gave more advantage to the larger brand websites to get listed in the search results, especially for short-tailed keywords.
Sometimes, Google features shopping results for organic search results. Examples of such keywords include shirts, mobiles, watches, etc.
You may have noticed that there are image results at times in the search results. This is usually for those keywords which are commonly searched for Google search images. Therefore, a user does not need to go to the image option to look for the images. This is a clear indication that Google is focused on providing user-friendly results. Hence, it makes all the more important for websites to learn from Google and provide information in a user-friendly manner.
At times, you will notice multiple results from the same site. This is usually for those websites where you enter the brand-oriented keywords and domains. The queries should indicate a strong user interest in a domain in order to get multiple search results from the same website.
Google has incorporated multiple Easter Egg Results in many of its products such as Google Search, Android, YouTube, Google Earth, etc. For instance, entering “bletchley park” will show the name of the attraction being decoded in the Knowledge Graph. Also, when you search for “Atari Breakout” in Google image search, the search result will display the playable game. Some of these Easter Eggs run for a limited period and new introductions are also made often.
In the next batch of SEO factors, we will take a look at social media and brand signal SEO factors that influence your website’s ranking in the search results.
Your social media profiles have some impact on your SEO process. In fact, using multiple social media platforms can allow you to boost your website rank significantly. At the same time, it’s important to add all your social media links to your website as well as your website link to all your social networks to ensure your SEO rank improves. Let’s now take a look at them in detail.
Twitter is a micro-blogging social platform where people tweet (give their opinion) often. Tweeting often allows you to appear on top of your followers’ feed. As a result, there’s more engagement with your followers. The number of tweets by a page may affect the rankings in the Google search results.
If a Twitter account has several number of followers, then it is considered as an influencer. The influencer can be either an individual account or a business profile. Therefore, if you have a good number of people following you, then make sure you add the link to your website as it helps in boosting your search rankings.
Facebook is the largest social media platform today, and if you have many people who have liked your business page, then it’s good news for you. However, when it comes to SEO, Google may not be able to figure out the data on Facebook and hence, it may have a weak ranking signal.
Sharing on Facebook is similar to adding a backlink. Hence, sharing your content from website to your Facebook page has a positive impact in enhancing your rank in Google search. Therefore, always make it a point to share your blog posts or other relevant content on social media channels. Apart from assisting you in the SEO process, people will come directly to your website to read the complete content. As a result, your web traffic increases which again is good from the SEO point of view.
Similar to Twitter, Facebook likes and shares from popular pages tend to have a stronger impact in boosting your SEO rank.
Pinterest is another popular social media platform that you should be using. The Pinterest Pins has lots of public data, and it’s possible that Google considers these pins as a type of social signal.
Google may take into consideration the social signals from social sharing websites such as Reddit, Digg, StumbleUpon, etc. Therefore, if your content has maximum votes on these social sites, then your page can get an SEO boost. Moreover, these websites have a very good traffic count and hence, sharing your content on these websites can help you increase your web traffic as well. Furthermore, you also end up getting many backlinks to your websites.
Matt Cutts had mentioned that Google+ has no direct effect on the search engine rankings. However, it may seem odd to believe that Google will ignore its social networking website signals or data.
It’s quite obvious to believe that if Google considers Google+ to influence search rankings, then the number of people with many followers will have a strong SEO ranking signal.
Although Google+ authorship program has discontinued, it still uses some form of authorship to figure out influential content. Such content pieces are then used to boost the SEO rankings. Usually, these content pieces are tied to verified online profiles on Google+.
It is assumed that the search engine uses information from the account sharing content together with the text surrounding the link for ranking in the search results.
A website’s social signal increases the overall authority of a website. This certainly has a positive impact on the search visibility for all pages of that particular website. Thus, these pages can be easily indexed by search engine spiders, and if they are well optimized, then they will feature in the search results for relevant searches as well.
The next set of SEO factors are concerned with the brand image of a business.
If you have a branded anchor text, then there is a strong brand signal received by Google. Therefore, having a brand name as the anchor text is good for SEO purpose.
When people are aware of a brand name, they will simply type the brand name in the search query. Google accordingly takes into consideration the brand name and displays the search results. For example, if someone types “Apple” in the search query, it will feature results based on Apple company instead of the fruit.
Brand identity gets enhanced when they have a huge base of people following them on Facebook and sharing their content. Therefore, you should update your Facebook posts often and come up with engaging content so that your audience interacts with the posts and you get the SEO boost for your website.
Similar to Facebook, Twitter profiles that have a lot of followers tend to boost their brand popularity since it signals a popular brand.
If there’s any social media channel for businesses, then LinkedIn is an ideal platform. Hence, having an official LinkedIn profile can help you in boosting your brand credibility.
Individual LinkedIn profiles claiming to have worked or are currently working for your firm can certainly boost your brand value. In fact, the number of people and the connections they have can be equally effective to enhance your firm’s brand identity thus, providing the extra boost in the SEO ranking.
In order to enhance your brand image, you need to have a legitimate social media profile. A social media profile that has thousands of followers but only 2-3 posts will not be considered as a credible or trusted account. In fact, the number of followers and their interaction with multiple posts can be considered as a valid and legitimate brand’s social media profile.
Superior brands get mentioned on new websites quite often. Also, these brands get mentioned on Google News sites every now and then. Sometimes, these brands end up having their Google News Feed on the first page of the search engine results pages. Such brand mentions enhance the SEO efforts and enables the brands to rank higher than the lesser known brands.
Apart from getting mentions in new websites, brands also get mentioned without any links as well. Google also consider non-hyperlinked brand mentions as a brand signal. Therefore, even if your company brand may not receive external links, co-citations can boost your SEO rankings as well. Nevertheless, receiving external links is always given more weight over non-hyperlinked brand mentions.
Google owns the Feedburner RSS service, and it is safe to assume that it uses the RSS Subscribers data for ranking purpose. If your brand has a high number of RSS Subscribers, then it gives the search engine the impression that your brand is a popular one.
Real businesses have a proper place of operation and hence, getting your company listed on Google is highly recommended. This is beneficial for people to locate your company in your local area too. Furthermore, Google may check the location information to identify whether the website is a big brand or not.
Moz has reported that Google takes into account if a website is associated with a tax paying business. This factor is considered to have a relevancy brand signal.
Make sure you consider the above-mentioned points and incorporate them in your social media platforms so that it helps boost your optimization process. Although each social media or brand signal SEO factor may not have a large impact on your SEO process, you should not miss out on any possible chance to boost your optimization process. It’s important to note that the combination of multiple SEO factors can certainly help you to increase the website rank in the long-run. In the last batch of SEO factors, we will look at the On-site and Off-site WebSpam Factors and how they affect your optimization process.
The On-site webspam factors are concerned with spam factors triggered within a website.
Websites with low-quality content are less visible to search engines. Google prefers featuring quality content in their search results, and hence, it is important to have unique and high-quality content in the form of blogs or service pages. The Panda penalty considers the quality of content as an important factor when ranking a website.
Be careful who you link to. Linking to websites such as pharmacy or loan websites are considered as bad neighbors, and so, it can affect your SEO efforts by reducing your website’s search visibility. Therefore, when you link to other websites, ensure it is related to the content you provide.
Cloaking or sneaky redirects is a big no. This practice is considered as a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. If your website is found doing this, then Google will not only penalize your website but also de-index it as well. This means that your website will no longer feature in the search results.
The Google Rater Guidelines Document does not prefer popups or distracting ads since they tend to be distractions to the users. It doesn’t mean you cannot have ads within your website, but they shouldn’t be served in such a way that it distracts the readers when they are going through the content. Popups and distracting ads are a sign of a low-quality website which can negatively affect your search rankings.
When you try to over optimize your website, then your SEO process can be affected. For example, when you add SEO element such as keywords, then it’s good from an SEO point of view. However, adding too many keywords in the content, meta description, header tag, etc. signals Google that you are purposely trying to boost your SEO efforts in an inappropriate manner. As a result, instead of expecting to improve your rank, Google will penalize you by lowering your SEO rank.
Just like your website, over-optimization of a web page can affect your search rankings. The Penguin update knows if you are adding too many keywords as it targets individual web pages in your website.
As mentioned above, too many ads are not good for your website. It can cause the Page Layout Algorithm to penalize your website especially when there are ads and not much content above the fold.
Google does not like affiliated websites. In fact, the websites which monetarize by adding the affiliated links are put under scrutiny by the search engine.
Do not make the mistake of thinking that Google won’t be able to identify the affiliated links. If you try to hide these links with cloaking, then your website is sure to attract a penalty, and its search rankings will get affected.
Again, Google is not a big fan of auto-generated content. If Google gets any hint that your website is generating auto-generated content, then it will reduce your rankings and in some cases, even de-index your website content as well. Any new content on your website will not feature in the Google search results.
Page rank sculpting means tweaking your internal links so that you can best control the flow of Page rank from one web page to another. When you do page rank sculpting without following the external or internal links, then it is a sign of gaming the system. Excess page rank sculpting is certainly not recommended if you want to enhance your SEO efforts.
Your server’s IP address should not be flagged for spamming. If it is done so, then it will affect all the websites on that particular server. Hence, you need to be careful when choosing your web hosting service provider.
There’s a limit on the number of characters that can be added to the meta tag description. This tag is displayed in the form of a small snippet right below each search result URL address which is followed by the title. Meta tags should help a user to decide whether the displayed result is relevant to the information he is looking for and if he can go ahead and visit that site. For this purpose, it becomes necessary to add the keywords in this tag since it is the same keyword for which the search results are displayed. However, adding too many keywords in meta tags is termed as gaming the algorithms, and hence, Google will reduce your rank.
The Off-page webspam factors are triggered by making some modifications outside of a website.
If your website receives too many links suddenly, then it is understood the website has received unnatural or phony links. Therefore, it’s best to avoid spamming your website by adding unnatural links.
If a website was penalized by Google’s Penguin update, then it is less likely to feature in the search results.
Links which were derived from sources through black hat SEO tricks are surely going to lower your ranking. Some of these black hat SEO tricks include adding too many links in blog comments or forum profiles which are also considered to have low-quality links. All these links can significantly impact the SEO value of your website.
MicrositeMasters.com analyzed that websites with a high number of unnatural links from unrelated websites are more likely to get penalized by the Penguin update. Hence, when you get external links, run a check to see if the websites linking to yours are related to the same field or industry.
Google Webmaster Tools detects or identifies any unnatural links and sends out warning messages regarding the same. Usually, after these messages are sent, there’s a drop in the rankings for many websites.
Any unnatural links from websites of the same server IP indicate Google that there is a blog network of link building. As a result, the rank for these websites is reduced.
At times, the algorithm may not be responsible for penalizing your website. The penalty can be imposed manually as well. One such classic example is of Interflora which is a UK based flower website that was penalized.
Any anchor text that is linked to pharmacy keywords throughout your website is usually termed as poison anchor text. Poison anchor text points out that either your website is hacked, or it is spam. Therefore, check if there are any such poison anchor text and get rid of them immediately as they can lower your website rank.
Buying or selling links in order to pass PageRank can lead to PageRank penalty. Paying for links, exchanging posts with links or any services for getting more links, sending a free product or offering free services in exchange for writing links are all part of selling or buying links. Make sure you do not sell or buy links to enhance your website rank. To improve your link building process, it’s always recommended to create quality and unique posts by adding an original piece of information so that more people link to your website.
New websites that receive multiple links are put into the Google Sandbox. This will limit the new website’s search visibility.
By using the disavow tool, websites that were involved in negative SEO can remove a manual or algorithmic penalty.
Google Dance can temporarily affect the search rankings. Google Patent says that Google Dance is a method of identifying if a website is trying to manipulate the algorithm or not.
In case your website has received a penalty, then you can fix the issues and send a reconsideration request to Google. The search engine will then lift the penalty provided you do not involve in any black hat SEO techniques.
Do not make the mistake of going for temporary link schemes. The search engine apparently has caught onto people who are involved in creating and immediately removing such spam or temporary links.
Following all these SEO factors can be taxing and a time-consuming affair. In fact, by the time you may make certain modifications to your website, there may be some other changes in the search algorithm. In fact, on an average, there is at least one change taking place in Google’s search algorithm each day. However, even if you are able to follow more than half of these SEO factors, your website rank will improve considerably. Be careful that you are not involved in any black hat SEO techniques and focus on creating content for your users and not for search engines. If users like your content, Google will make it a point that your website content is featured in the search results. Also, it’s recommended that you sign with Google Webmasters to track your site’s performance and browse for more webmaster resources that will help you enhance your optimization process.