There are over 200 ranking factors managed by Google. Some of them affect SERPs standings immensely while others a little, but they all do matter. Now that we’ve entered the fall of 2017, it’s an opportune time to discuss top 100 Google Ranking factors that will rule the year 2018. Here they are:
1. Anchor Text
The anchor text of a webpage sends positive relevancy signal to Google Search. Therefore, it enhances the overall ranking of the webpage in search results.
2. Backlink Age
Older links offer better ranking than newer ones.
3. Bounce Rate
Google Search does not give preference to webpages with a high degree of bounce rate.
4. Contextual Links
Links that appear at relevant parts of the webpage content give a boost to Google Search standings.
5. Country TLD of Referring Domain
Websites that receive country-specific TLD extensions allow for a better rank in that particular country.
6. Direct Traffic
Websites with lots of direct traffic get a boost in Google Search rankings.
7. Dwell Time
Webpages that have more dwell time are given preference by Google Search.
8. Excessive 301 Redirects
Links that come from 301 redirects dilute PageRank. Hence, it can affect a webpage’s Google SERPs standings negatively.
9. Forum Profile Links
Google devalues links from forum profiles. Hence, webpages having loads of them suffer from low Google ranking.
10. Geo Targeting
Google prefers websites with a local server IP and country-specific domain name extension.
11. Keyword in Title
Google prefers webpages that contain the keyword in the page title.
12. Link from a Wikipedia Source
Yes, a link from a Wikipedia boosts Google SERPs rankings considerably.
13. Link Velocity
Google Search simply awards positive link velocity.
14. Link Location in Content
Links at the starting of the content are preferred slightly more than those at the end.
15. Link Location on Page
Links embedded in the content of webpage are more effective than those at the footer or sidebars.
16. Link Title
Having link title of a webpage is recommended by Google.
17. Linking Domain Relevancy
Links from a website targeting similar niche is preferred over links from less-related websites.
18. Links from Hub Pages
Having links from webpages that are considered top authority attracts SERPs ranking boost from Google Search.
19. Link from Authority Sites
Google Search prefer webpages containing links from authority websites over those don’t featuring them.
20. Natural Link Profile
Websites with a natural link profile are considered superior by Google Search.
21. Number of Comments
Google considers webpages with loads of comments to be informative and interactive. Hence, such pages receive a boost in Google rankings.
22. Organic Click Through Rate
Webpages with a better click rate are preferred over other with a low click-rate.
23. Page Level Relevancy
Like domains, a link from a webpage that is closely related to the content is preferred over a link from an unrelated webpage.
24. Quality of Linking Content
Links from a well-written and quality content assist in improving the Google SERPs standings.
25. Reciprocal Links
Excessive link exchanging affects a webpage’s Google rankings negatively.
26. TrustRank of Linking Site
The more TrustRank the linking site has, the better boost in Google Search rankings the webpage will receive.
27. User Browsing History
Websites that are frequently visited when users are signed in to Google are given preference in Google rankings.
28. Word Count of Linking Content
The more word count the link has, the better effect it will have on the webpage’s Google rankings.
29. Domain Age
Yes, how old your website is matters a lot to Google. The more time your website has been on the Internet, the more priority it will be awarded by Google.
30. Keyword as First Word in Domain
Compared to websites that have the targeted keyword somewhere in the middle or at the end of the domain name or doesn’t have at all, domains with the targeted keyword as the first keyword contribute to the better Google Search ranking.
31. Keyword in Subdomain Name
A keyword appearing in the subdomain name of a website can assist in enhancing its standings in Google SERPs.
32. Domain History
Google resets the site’s history for any website with volatile ownership or numerous drops. Resetting the history negates links pointing to the domain, hence affecting Google SERPs standings.
33. EMD (Exact Match Domain)
EMDs give an advantage to businesses that offer quality and genuine content. EMD websites with low-quality content, however, suffers from Google Penalties.
34. Public WhoIs Information
Websites with public WhoIs information are preferred by Google Search. On the contrary, websites with private WhoIs are penalized.
35. Country TLD (Top-Level Domain) Extension
Country Code Top Level Domain helps a website to rank effectively in that country but bars its ability to rank globally.
36. Keyword in the Title Tag
After the content of the webpage, the 2nd most important Google Ranking factor is the title tag. Having focus keyword in the title tag improve Google SERPs standings.
37. Keyword in Description Tag
The focus keyword of a webpage in the description tag enhances Google Search rankings.
38. Keyword in the H1 Tag
H1 tags are second to the title tag. Hence, having the keyword in the H1 tag improves Google’s inclination.
39. Content Length
Google prefers websites that have lengthy content over those with thin content or short superficial content.
40. Keyword Density
Having the optimum level of keyword density on your website enhances Google Search rankings.
41. LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) Keywords in Content
The presence of LSI keywords in content enhances a website’s standings on Google SERPs.
42. LSI Keywords in Description Tag and Title
Use of LSI keywords in the description tag and title adds to a webpage’s enhanced search rankings.
43. Page Load Speed
Websites with better page load speed are preferred over websites with average or low load speeds.
44. Duplicate Content
Identical content on the website negatively affects a website’s search engine visibility.
45. Page Load Speed via Chrome
Via Chrome, Google is able to assess a website’s load speed while considering CDN usage, server speed, and various other HTML-related site speed signals.
46. Image Optimization
Google Search prefers websites with image optimization, i.e. relevant information in the file name, alt text, title, caption and description sections.
47. Content Update Duration
Websites with recently updated data are considered better than those with non-updated content for a longer period.
48. Extent of Content Update
The level of the content update also plays a major role in Google’s assessment of websites for the SERP standings.
49. Frequency of Updates
The frequency at which a website is often updated is also considered an important factor for awarding it Google Ranking.
50. Keyword Prominence
Websites with keywords appearing in the first 100 words of the content is also a good relevancy signal.
51. Keyword in H2 and H3 Tags
Not that much effective but having the focused keyword on a webpage’s H2 and H3 tags assist positively in Google Ranking.
52. Outbound Link Quality
Linking to authority or top websites assists in enhancing a website’s own standings in the Google SERPs.
53. Grammar and Spelling
Content with ideal grammar and spelling is preferred by Google Search. It sends the quality signal to Google Search.
54. Syndicated Content
Scraped or copied content from an indexed page won’t rank good, nothing like the original. Moreover, it might end up in the supplemental index of the original content owner.
55. Helpful Supplementary Content
The presence of helpful supplementary content on a webpage is considered to be an indicator of quality and thus, results in improved Google Search rankings.
56. Number of Outbound Links
Having outbound links on a website is important. However, several outbound links might affect a webpage’s Google rankings.
Different types of embedded media, including images, audios, videos, et cetera, delivers a quality signal to Google Search. Hence, content with relevant media ranks better.
58. Total Number of Internal Links Pointing to a Webpage
The total number of internal links pointing to a webpage enhances Google Search standings of the webpage or website.
59. Quality of Internal Links Pointing to a Webpage
In addition to the total number of internal links, quality of these internal links also influences the preference given by Google Search to such webpages.
60. Broken Links
Having too many broken links on a webpage not only affects its Google Search standings but also attracts Google Penalty.
61. Reading Level
Google guesses the reading level of webpages. Websites with better reading levels also have better Google Search rankings.
62. Affiliate Links
Having affiliate links on your website won’t hurt its rankings but having a lot of them might. Google has started to penalise thin affiliate websites.
63. HTML Errors/W3C Validation
W3C validation is considered to be a weak quality signal. Also, having several HTML errors might affect a website’s Google ranking negatively.
Webpages with a higher PageRank rank better on Google Search rankings than webpages with a low PageRank.
65. URL Length
URL length also plays a role in Google rankings. Excessively lengthy URLs rank low on Google Search.
66. URL Path
Webpages closer to the homepage of the website gain better Google ranking than those that are distant.
67. Webpage Category
Webpages that are related closely to the category get more preference from Google Search than those falling into a less-related category.
68. Keywords in URL
Yes, having relevant keywords in the URL assists a webpage to rank better on Google SERPs.
69. URL String
Categories mentioned in the URL string are analyzed by Google to decide its relevance. Webpages with content that matches the category or categories mentioned in the URL string are preferred by Google Search.
70. References and Sources
Webpages with cited references and sources send the quality signal to Google Search and hence, assist in improving Google rankings.
71. Bullets and Numbered Lists
Google Search considers bullets and numbered lists as ways that make content easy for readers. Hence, it also affects Google rankings.
72. Quantity of Non-Primary Keywords
Webpages that have non-primary keywords in the content are preferred by Google Search.
73. Page Age
Google gives preference to fresh content. Nonetheless, older webpages that are regularly updated have a better ranking than newer ones.
74. User-Friendly Layout
Page layout is important for making or breaking the readability. Hence, Google Search prefers webpages that offers a user-friendly layout.
75. Parked Domains
Following the December 2011 update in Google Search, visibility of parked domains was reduced.
76. Useful Content
Google distinguishes between quality/useful and average content. Content that is both useful and of high quality is given preference.
77. Contact Us Page
Google prefers websites with an appropriate amount of contact information. Hence, better contact us page relates to better Google Search results.
TrustRank or site trust is an important Google Search ranking factor.
79. Site Architecture
Google prefers websites with a better site architecture, especially those following a silo structure. It eases Google to thematically organise a website’s content for serving users better.
80. Number of Pages
Google Search follows “the more, the better” approach. Websites with a high number of webpages are considered more relevant than websites with a lesser number of webpages.
Search engines make use of sitemap to index a website’s webpages effectively. Websites with sitemaps receive better Google ranking than those without a sitemap.
A website suffering from a great deal of downtime is to suffer in terms of Google rankings as well.
83. Server Location
A website’s ranking in different geographical regions is determined by its server location. It is essential for geo-specific web searches.
84. SSL Certificate
Google Search uses HTTPS as a ranking signal. Hence, a website with an SSL certificate is meant to rank better than a website without it.
86. Breadcrumb Navigation
Websites making use of the user-friendly Breadcrumb navigation site architecture get better rankings on Google Search than those without it.
87. Mobile Optimization
Responsive sites that provide excellent mobile optimization to users are preferred by Google Search than non-optimized websites.
88. YouTube Videos
Having YouTube videos integrated into webpages of a website allows Google Search to award them better ranking on the SERPs.
89. Website Usability
Websites that suffer from usability issues or that are difficult to navigate are awarded low rankings by Google Search.
90. Employing Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools
In addition to providing more data to Google about a website, using Google Analytics and Google Webmaster tools allow websites to rank better in SERPs.
91. Site Reputation
Websites that are reviewed positively by users and review sites are given preference than those with bad reviews or no reviews at all.
92. Linking Domain Age
Backlinks added to a website from aged domains boost its Google Search rankings.
93. Alt Tag
Every image added to a website has a field known as the alt text. It is analogous to the anchor text of a webpage and thus, plays a major role in Google SERPs standings.
94. Linking from .gov or .edu Domains
Websites featuring backlinks from .gov and/or .edu domains attract better Google Search rankings than those without them.
95. PageRank of Referring Page
The PageRank of the referring page plays a significant role in deciding the preference given to the webpage using it in terms of Google Search rankings.
96. Links from Competitors
Adding links from webpages ranking similar in SERPs gives a boost to the ranking of webpages adding the links.
97. Social Shares
Undoubtedly, the total number of social shares received by a webpage influences its Google Search rankings. The more social shares it has, the better it will rank.
98. Guest Posts
Guest posts are effective as part of the white hat SEO campaign. However, links appearing in the author bio area might hurt a webpage’s Google rankings.
99. Variety of Link Types
Google considers a lot of links coming to a webpage from a single source to be webspam. On the contrary, links from diverse sources enhance Google rankings.
100. Sponsored Links
Google Search usually does not prefer websites making use of a lot of sponsored links.Top 100 Google Ranking Factors for 2018 by Vishal Vivek