Google’s Ranking Factors

SEO, as it pertains to your business, is the process of optimizing a webpage for the search engines so that it is seen as relevant more often than other pages so that you show higher in search results – meaning that someone looking for your product/service, whether in the local Kitchener/Waterloo, Guelph, Cambridge area, or elsewhere, will choose to engage with your business and not your competition.

Brian Dean did an infographic in Search Engine Journal breaking down what Google looks at when they are deciding how to rank a specific webpage as it relates to SEO.  This simplistic list goes to demonstrate just how in-depth Google’s analysis is of each page they index and goes to show that simply slicing off a few select elements of SEO will not give you the results that you want – especially if you are in a competitive marketplace.

SEO Factor Categories:


    1. Domain age
    2. Keywords in TLD
    3. Keyword as first word
    4. Registration length
    5. KW in subdomain
    6. History
    7. Exact match domain
    8. Public vs. private WHOIS
    9. Penalized WHOIS owner
    10. Country TLD extension



    1. KW in title tag
    2. Title tag starts with KW
    3. KW in description tag
    4. KW in H1
    5. KW is most frequent used phrase in document
    6. Content length
    7. KW density
    8. Latent semantic indexing KW in content (LSI)
    9. LSI KW in title & description tags
    10. Page loading speed via HTML
    11. Duplicate content
    12. Re-canonical
    13. Page loading speed via chrome
    14. Image optimization
    15. Recency of content updates
    16. Magnitude of content updates
    17. Historical updates page updates
    18. KW prominence
    19. KW in H2, H3 tags
    20. KW word order
    21. Outbound link quality
    22. Outbound link theme
    23. Grammar and spelling
    24. Syndicated content
    25. Helpful supplementary content
    26. Number of outbound links
    27. Multimedia
    28. Number of internal links point to page
    29. Quality of internal links point to page
    30. Broken links
    31. Reading level
    32. Affiliate links
    33. HTML errors/WC3 validation
    34. Page hosts domain authority
    35. Page’s pagerank
    36. URL length
    37. URL path
    38. Human editors
    39. Page category
    40. WordPress tags
    41. KW in URL
    42. URL string
    43. References and sources
    44. Bullets and number lists
    45. Priority of page in sitemap
    46. Too many outbound links
    47. Quantity of other KW page ranks for
    48. Page age
    49. User friendly layout
    50. Parked domains



    1. Content provides value and unique insights
    2. Contact us page
    3. Domain trust/trustrank
    4. Site architecture
    5. Site updates
    6. Number of pages
    7. Presence of sitemap
    8. Site uptime
    9. Server location
    10. SSL certificate (e-comm sites)
    11. Terms of service
    12. Duplicate content on site
    13. Breadcrumb navigation
    14. Mobile optimized
    15. YouTube
    16. Site usability
    17. Use of GA and WM tools
    18. User reviews/site reputation



    1. Linking domain age
    2. Number of linking root domains
    3. Number of llinks from separate C-Class IPS
    4. Number of linking pages
    5. ALT tag (for image links)
    6. Links from .edu or .gov
    7. PR of linking page
    8. Authority of linking domain
    9. Links from competitors
    10. Social shares of referring page
    11. Links from bad neighbor hoods
    12. Guest posts
    13. Links to homepage domain that page sits on
    14. No-follow links
    15. Diversity of links types
    16. Contextual links
    17. Sponsored links or other words around link
    18. Excessive 301 redirects to page
    19. Backlink anchor text
    20. Internal link anchor text
    21. Link title attribution
    22. Country TLD of referring domain
    23. Link location in content
    24. Link location on page
    25. Linking domain relevancy
    26. Page level relevancy
    27. Text around link sentiment
    28. KW in title
    29. Positive link velocity
    30. Negative link velocity
    31. Links from ‘Hub’ pages
    32. Link from authority sites
    33. Linked to as Wikipedia source
    34. Co-occurrences
    35. Backlink age
    36. Links from real sites vs. splogs
    37. Natural link profile
    38. Reciprocal links
    39. User generated content links
    40. Links from 301
    41. DMOZ listed
    42. Yahoo! Directory listed
    43. Number of outbound links on page
    44. Forum profile links
    45. Word count of linking content
    46. Quality of linking content
    47. Site-wide links


User Interaction

    1. Organic CTR for a KW
    2. Organic CTR for all KWs
    3. Bounce rate
    4. Direct traffic
    5. Repeat traffic
    6. Blocked sites
    7. Chrome bookmarks
    8. Google toolbar data
    9. Number of comments
    10. Time on site


Special Miscellaneous

    1. Query deserves freshness
    2. Query deserves diversity
    3. User browsing history
    4. User search history
    5. Geo targeting
    6. Safe search
    7. Google+ circles
    8. DMCA complaints
    9. Domain diversity
    10. Transactional searches
    11. Local searches
    12. Google news box
    13. Big brand preference
    14. Shopping results
    15. Image results
    16. Single site results for brands



    1. Number of tweets
    2. Authority of twitter users accounts
    3. Number of FB likes
    4. FB shares
    5. Authority of FB user accounts
    6. Pinterest pins
    7. Votes on social sharing sites
    8. Number of Google +1’s
    9. Authority of Google+ user accounts
    10. Verified Google+ authorship
    11. Social signal relevancy
    12. Site level social signals



    1. Brand name anchor text
    2. Branded searche
    3. Site has FB page and likes
    4. Site has Twitter profile with followers
    5. Official LinkedIn company page
    6. Employees listed at LinkedIn
    7. Legitimacy of social media accounts
    8. Brand mentions on news sites
    9. Co-citations
    10. Number of RSS subscribers
    11. Brick and mortar location with Google+ local listing
    12. Website is tax paying business


On-site Webspam

    1. Panda penalty
    2. Links to bad neighborhoods
    3. Redirects
    4. Popups or distracting ads
    5. Site over-optimization
    6. Page over-optimization
    7. Ads above the fold
    8. Hiding afflilate links
    9. Affiliate sites
    10. Autogenerated content
    11. Excess PR sculpting
    12. IP address flagged as spam
    13. Meta tag spamming


Off-page Webspam

    1. Unnatural influx of links
    2. Penguin penalty
    3. Link profile with high % of low quality links
    4. Linking domain relevancy
    5. Unnatural links warning
    6. Links from the same class C IP
    7. ‘poison’ anchor text
    8. Manual penalty selling links
    9. Google sandbox
    10. Google dance
    11. Disavow tool
    12. Reconsideration request


This is by no means a complete list of what Google’s actual SEO ranking factor checklist is, but it is definitely the most thorough attempt to catalogue what elements of SEO the search engines do take into consideration.  It also does not offer any sort of weighting for each SEO element.  This is where the experience of a true, up-to-date professional SEO service provider, such as Advanced Web Solutions, makes all the difference in the world to your business.  As a note, AWS targets these SEO ranking factors but groups them differently in order to simplify the SEO process for our customers.  
Please note that Google’s exact list of ranking factors is a closely guarded secret, as are the weightings of each SEO element.  I do however ask that you investigate exactly what the SEO company you are using, or about to invest in, will be doing for you.  Check it against the above list of SEO ranking factors and see just how in-depth they are willing to go for your business.
If you are in the Kitchener/Waterloo, Cambridge or Guelph areas, please do not hesitate to contact Advanced Web Solutions to see exactly what we offer in regards to SEO services.  As a Waterloo SEO company, we know what it takes to push you to the top, as is evident by our successes.  
Please take this opportunity to contact AWS using the form below with your questions.  If you aren’t ready to contact us, we encourage you to educate yourself further on SEO by visiting our blog or simply perusing our website more.  To help get you started, check out the following links on what makes SEO important and what to expect from your SEO company/service provider:


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