Google SEO & Search Engine Marketing Services

Google Ranking Factors

I have decided today to go through a few of the many ranking factors Google takes into account when deciding where to rank your site in the serps. Even though Google states there are thousands of signals to judge where a site will rank, I feel there are only 20 we really need to worry about for SEO purposes.

So I wanted to provide you with my top 20 list of Google SEO factors in order of importance for on and off page optimisation. This area is obviously debatable so if you think I am wrong let me know.

Ok Let’s begin……..

On Page Factors


Keyword Use In Title

I have proved the power of the title tag many times on this blog to increase positions over night. Remember when it comes to the title tag it involves more than simply filling it with your keywords. The proximity and prominence are going to play a big part in where you rank.

eg – I changed my title from “google seo” to “google seo consultant” and dropped 10 places for the keyword “google seo”. This shows that diluting your keywords can make a big difference.

Put your main keywords first and use the (-) or (|) to separate different targeted key phrases.


Internal Link Structure

For me this is really important, structuring your internal link structure for maximum exposure to the most important pages of your site. If this is not implemented correctly your going to miss out on a lot of ranking opportunities.

This is why most SEO experts stress about having a flat architecture, which means your most important pages really need to be linked to from your homepage. If you have thousands of pages this becomes difficult, however if this was the case I would look to have 20 – 30 linking from the homepage (the most important) then I would create a site map linked to from the homepage.

Remember the closer your page is to the top level domain (TLD) the higher it will rank in the Google serps.


Keyword Use In Body

I know what your thinking, using the keyword use in the body is a minor factor. Well, it is and it isn’t. You see as the search engines have become more sophisticated they are able to understand word relationships. This is why the keyword research phase of SEO is so important, it gives you the opportunity to highlight as many keyword variations as possible. Implement these variations into your content and your overall relevancy will increase for the broad keyword you are chasing.


Quality of External Links

Again I have spoken of this specifically on SEO Wizz before and is a crucial part of any Google SEO project. We all have links on our sites that go out to relevant material and in order to receive maximum benefit for them we need to optimise them correctly. There are a few things to remember;

  • Anchor with target keyword
  • Ensure your page is relevant to page being linked to
  • The page should be a quality/relevant resource (If your linking to something of low quality use the rel=nofollow)

I bet many of you are thinking this should be lower down the “on page” list but I can assure you this is a very powerful SEO technique used to gain rankings on competitive keywords.


Document Age

Unfortunately this does play a significant role, a document which has matured and has older links pointing to it is always going to hold a slight advantage. I am not saying you cannot beat an older document that’s why I have put it at No.5, however it does give an edge.

If you have a trusted TLD which is mature, most sub pages will receive the same benefit.


Use of H1

If you think the use of headings has lost value you may have something, however I would always advise the use of the H1 tag to target your main keyword. I actually prefer to use 1 and 2 as I have found this has a greater impact.

Headings still play apart, it may not be as powerful as the above aspects but it is something you should not over look.


Keyword Use In Domain/URL

Now I don’t want everyone to start panicking and registering new domains. Having your keywords in the URL or Domain plays it’s part but it is far from the be all and end all. If you can do it great, if not put a little extra effort into other more important aspects. Saying this there is no excuse for not including keywords in your internal page url. It will help.


ALT Attribute for Images

I heard someone on a blog just a week ago saying do not bother with the alt attribute. Well I think they are wrong.

First if your image is a link, the alt acts as an anchor text giving relevance to the page it is linking from and to. Secondly image search is growing every year, using the alt attribute correctly will help us draw more traffic from image search.

For something that takes such little effort you should really be implementing it.


Indexable Content

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that Google loves fresh indexable content. If your content is quality and it is growing on a regular basis over time, Google will give your site more trust and authority. Why do you think so many blogs rank well including the huge media/news sites. As well as other things it is because they are providing Google with Lot’s of fresh indexable content.


Meta Tags

Now a few month ago I would not have put this in my top ten however in that time I have seen more and more sites start using both the meta description and keywords more effectively.

When it comes to SEO I like to assess those sites that are already ranking for the key phrase I am chasing and then beat them. If some of the biggest sites on the web are using them then we should maybe think about it.

Anyway they are my top ten “on page ranking” factors in what I think is the order of importance. One or two may be debatable but I think it is pretty accurate.

Right let’s take a look at off page factors……

Off Page Factors


Anchor Text

The anchor text of your inbound links in my opinion is THE most important off page factor. As I have shown on this blog, I know of pages with poor quality inbound links rank for keywords in their anchor text and I am not talking longtail low competition keywords but massively competitive ones.

This alone is not a long term strategy for me but it is one of the most powerful optimisation techniq
ues you can use period. Don’t waste inbound links with click here, or your domain (unless you don’t have control of them).


Link Popularity

This is my number 2 and to be honest it is debatable but I will keep it here for now. I still think sites with a huge link popularity have a powerful advantage when it comes to rankings. Of course if these links are not optimised correctly the impact will be diluted but it will still play a role.

Link popularity takes into account all links that flow to a page from any indexed page.


Relevance of Linking Page

For me this is a biggy! If you have links from pages using your keyword in the title and/or body of the page, the link will pass relevancy. Which in my mind is of far more worth than PageRank. Keep you links as relevant as possible.


Quality of Link

When I speak about quality I am speaking about a few things;

  • Where is your link positioned on page? (nearer to top of document is better)
  • How many other outbound links are on the page? (the less the better)
  • Does the link pass PageRank/Trust Authority?

The idea is to get links which are as close to this ideal as possible, this isn’t easy but can hold huge rewards.


Domain Age

I don’t really like adding this as it tends to deter people from competing but the truth is it does play a role. On the positive side once your site has been established for 12 – 18 months I don’t really think it makes that much difference. So yes it does have a significant impact, but keep going and you will catch up.


Topical Relevance of Inbound Link

Let’s make this simple, again I posted on this subject a week or 2 ago. If your targeting the word “google seo” :) and you get a link from a page which is indexed for the term “google seo” it will add to your relevance and enhance your link building efforts more than a link from a site that is not ranked for the key phrase.

The above was just an example the keyword you are targeting may have 1000 related terms if not hundreds of thousands, the closer the linking page is to your topic the better.


Link Popularity of Linking Page in Topical Relevance

If the page you are receiving a link from has a high link popularity within your community the link will be more relevant and therefore more effective.

eg If I am targeting “Google SEO” and I have a link from a site which itself has thousands of links within the SEO community, my page relevance will increase.


Link Age

This is one Google introduced around 2006. The older the links to your page the more weight they will carry. Another simple way of combating spammers. It’s hard to say how much of a factor this is but let me try and explain.

I worked with a site 6 months ago, built hundreds of optimised links in a month all anchored at a fairly low competition keyword. It took 3 months for the page to get ranked highly, I firmly believe this is because Google prefers mature links and will give extra credit for them.


Rate Of New Links

Some of you may be surprised to see this one here but when you think about it, it makes sense.

A normal site will increase in links naturally, it will not acquire 10,000 links over night, unless it is viral content.

If your inbound link rate and content rate are increasing at similar levels there is a good chance your rankings will also increase. If your site produces little content and your link graph is erratic, this may spark the manual review.


Text Surrounding the Link

I think this is only a minor ranking factor, but hey every little helps. If the text surrounding the link to your page is relevant to the targeted keyword it will pass on more weight. How much? I am not sure, what I do know is that Google can judge the topic of images based on the surrounding text why should they not do the same with links.

I think this will become more and more important in the future.

Well there you have it my top 20 rankings factors for Google SEO. I am sure there will be those of you who think I should have added more and there is more, however I believe the ones I have mentioned are the most important and the ones you should focus on getting right.

Hope you enjoyed.


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Author: Tim (257 Articles)

is the owner and editor of SEO wizz and has been involved in the search engine marketing industry for over 9 years. He has worked with multiple businesses across many verticals, creating and implementing search marketing strategies for companies in the UK, US and across Europe. Tim is also the Director of Search at Branded3, a Digital Marketing & SEO Agency based in the UK.



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