26 Major Google Search Engine Ranking Factors Every Blogger Should Know

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Google states that there are over 200 factors used for ranking websites and determining site authority in search engine results pages. Some factors, however, have more weight than others and proper practice and use of these will guarantee a healthy search engine profile and attract tons of targeted traffic to your site / blog.

Here are 26 major factors that Google uses in measuring up your site / blog and determining your authority. Although there are over 200 factors, the ones listed below provide more powerful results within the shortest period of time.

Keyword Usage

1. Using keywords in URLs and domain names
This refers to your post slugs (page name URL) and domain names with your targeted keywords. For example, www.telescope-sales.com, where telescope would be a main keyword.

2. Keywords in Page Title
Keywords must be used in your page titles and should be between 10 to 60 characters. Avoid using special characters.

4. Keywords in H1, H2, H3 Tags
In writing posts, ensure that you use your keywords in heading tag styles.

5. Keyword Density of 3% to 8% in the Body
Ensure that you are not spamming your articles with specific keywords. Use your targeted keywords in moderation and let your articles flow naturally.

6. Keyword Prominence
Ensure that your main keywords are used as early in your articles as possible. The higher up in the article your keywords are, the more attention google pays to them.

7. Keywords in ALT & Title Tags Text
All ‘alt’ and ‘title’ tags for images and text links should contain relevant keywords.

8. Keyword Use in Internal Link Anchor Text
Internal links should have relevant anchor text

Internal Links

9. Efficient Tree Like Structure
Try to have no page deeper than 4 clicks to reach it if you want it to rank effectively. Try to have a maximum of 2 clicks.

10. Ensure that All Internal Links Are Valid
Use the free W3C link checker to validate your on-page links. This tool will let you know if any major internal links are broken.

Outgoing Links

11. Link To Only Trustworthy Sites
Linking to blacklisted or shady websites will harm your authority in the long-term. Be care how you approve trackbacks on your blog. My philosophy is do not accept, they are not necessary.

It can take several months to a year before google reinstates your authority and inclusion in search engine results.

12. Outgoing Link Anchor Text
Ensure that outgoing link anchor text are relevant to the site’s topic.

On-Site SEO Factors

13. Moderate Page File Size
Ensure that your page size does not exceed 100K. This does not include images.

14. New Pages & Fresh Content
Fresh content from established sites rank better in search results. Recency is a valuable asset when links are hard to acquire. Its also good to have a higher ratio of new pages to old, plus newer pages on old sites get better recognition.

15. Frequent Updates
Frequently updated sites are crawled by search engine spiders more frequently than others.

16. Domain Age
Older domains have more authority in google search results and shows stability.

17. Site Load Times
Faster load times for your site is a new factor that google has started to pay attention to. Faster times indicate a better experience for searchers. Follow these guidelines to ensure a faster loading site.

Off-Page SEO Factors

18. Incoming Links from High Ranking Pages
More incoming links from reputable, high ranking websites with improve your SERP authority significantly.

19. Link Acquisition Speed
Ensure that you are acquiring those incoming links naturally. Newer sites will get penalized if links are acquired too fast, in an artificial manner. A site going naturally viral won’t have any troubles.

20. Older Longstanding Incoming Links Are Better

21. Change of Anchor Link Text for Incoming Links
The anchor text of your incoming links should not be changed frequently and is bad in google’s eyes.

22. Incoming Links From Popular Expert Sites
Being featured on popular sites can boost your search engine traffic. This tells google your site is trustworthy and will rank you higher in search results.

23. Clickthrough Rate(CTR) on Search Results Pages
CTR on search results pages is a large cumulative factor and this data is collected by google to help determine authority.

Page & Site Metrics: User Behavior

24. Time Users Spend on your Site
The more time each visitor spends on your site, the higher the indication to google that your site provides relevant content and thus ranks you better.

25. Are Your Pages Bookmarked?
When visitors bookmark your site on social sites like Delicious.com, Reddit.com, Digg.com, etc google increases your trustworthiness.

26. Domain Registration Time
Register your domain for 5 years or more. This indicates that you are serious and here to stay, thus more trustworthy.

Conclusion & Discussion

Search engine optimization is very important to practice if you hope to gain any traffic through search engines. In most cases, the factors are common sense and are really easy to implement. In your practices, bear in mind that anything that seems to mislead search engines or visitors, is usually bad for your site’s authority and search rankings.

Also, bear in mind that each factor on its own is not enough to dominate search engine results but the consistent practice of each will lead to success.

Are there any other major ranking factors I left out? Please let us know by leaving a comment below, we would love to hear from you.

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31 Responses

  1. Anna Haller

    06/24/2010, 08:16 pm

    Another great list to follow Sam. With so many different factors that Google uses in ranking it is definitely important to use all of them in conjunction with one another and like you said use them all consistently.

    Anna

    Reply
  2. Joe Boyle

    06/24/2010, 10:26 pm

    You definitely need to keep keywords in your posts to a minimum not only for search engines, but for your readers, too. If your readers don’t care for your content because it’s too spammy (or in this case, SEO spam), they won’t read it whether they got there from a search engine or not.

    Great post, Robyn!

    Reply
    • Sam

      06/27/2010, 03:06 pm

      Thanks for commenting Joe :)

      Most definitely, articles need to flow naturally since spammy posts will hurt in the long-term. In this case, it doesn’t matter if you get lots of search engine traffic if readers don’t like what is being written. Its just not worth it.

      Reply
  3. Kimi

    06/25/2010, 09:50 am

    Thanks for sharing Robyn :) I very much agree, although i am still learning alot how to get search engines’s traffics and other traffics as well :) Helpful post as usual.

    Reply
  4. Natalia

    06/25/2010, 10:31 am

    Hey Robyn
    Nice list you have here. I especially like the way you grouped similar items :) I’m having a look though to make sure I’m ok on all points!

    Reply
  5. element321

    06/25/2010, 12:07 pm

    Great list. I spend a lot of time doing SEO for my sites and client sites. Its a lot of work but worth with once the traffic starts flowing in from your organic traffic.

    I maintain a client site that was setup a few years ago and had been updated in over a year, our company completed the SEO on it and we have been monitored their rankings since we took over the SEO and we followed pretty much everything on your list and they still have a great rank and they get a lot of organic traffic. Once we made some updates to the site, they now get even more traffic.This one examples shows me how important SEO can be for a site.

    Reply
    • Sam

      06/27/2010, 03:17 pm

      Thanks for taking the time to share that experience James :)

      There are still many bloggers who are intimidated by SEO and ignore it completely. They need to hear more success stories like these.

      Thanks.

      Reply
  6. Kervin Vergara

    06/25/2010, 12:40 pm

    You are the best SEO I know. Congratulations for your blog and all those who always give us advice. From Venezuela I read fervently because your content is really high quality. Thanks to this content, I managed to improve my visits and enhance the quality of my work. Greetings, and keep on reaping many successes.

    Reply
    • Sam

      06/27/2010, 03:23 pm

      Thanks for reading Dennis.

      Yeah, knowing how google works, it really can change overnight :) The good thing about these practices is that they make lots of sense especially when it comes to online credibility, so I don’t think that will be anytime soon. Or at least hopefully not :)

      Reply
  7. frenchy

    06/27/2010, 04:28 am

    This is an awesome list to follow specially for new bloggers. I didn’t know that Google is collecting records of websites CTR. Glad to read about that here.

    Reply
    • Sam

      06/27/2010, 03:27 pm

      Thanks for reading Frenchy :)

      Yeah, I just recently learned about that one. However, google keeps track of a lot of our activities online. They use this data to understand user activity and develop more useful services.

      Reply
  8. Colleen@Kennewick Real Estate

    06/27/2010, 02:44 pm

    “11. Link To Only Trustworthy Sites”

    In our niche, I fine the above rule to be huge. If we are blogging about a particular community, we link out to relevant city information with dofollow link, and of course, we link out to a Google map. We seen an increase in SEO on our articles where we link our to relevant sources.

    Reply
    • Sam

      06/27/2010, 03:30 pm

      Thanks for sharing that Colleen :)

      I can see where that strategy would work great in real estate. Google especially likes links that are location related mixed with usage of their maps. Excellent results

      Reply
  9. Sally

    06/30/2010, 03:23 am

    Hey Sam, thanks for sharing this, I found the density % helpful, I never quite know if enough is enough when sprinkling my keywords throughout my blog post.

    Sally :)

    Reply
  10. Mark Bell

    07/01/2010, 06:56 am

    Hey, this is a great article! I’m relatively new to blogging, so getting this knowledge early on will hopefully prove beneficial! Thank you

    Reply
  11. Mukundan Srinivasan

    07/04/2010, 09:10 pm

    I didnt know that we keywords should be used in heading tags. Hereafter I have to follow it. I havenot tried the W3C link checker tool before. Thanks for sharing. A quality informative post.

    Reply
  12. Daniel Sharkov

    07/06/2010, 03:13 pm

    Until several weeks ago I didn’t knew that internal links were so important. Back then I wasn’t using those and the traffic was pretty low. After adding some of those here and there, I started getting more visitors from search engines. Other than using proper keywords, that is one of the most important aspects of SEO in my opinion.

    Reply
  13. air conditioning

    07/09/2010, 04:27 am

    I do not think that this is a solid idea. What about sites that post lots of photos on their pages or use complex services that take longer to load? What about all the sites that use advertisement? They obviously load slower than a plain HTML site.

    Reply
  14. used tires

    07/22/2010, 07:08 pm

    In regards to Incoming Links, I would say the more links you can get from similar related niches, the better shot you stand at being ranked well for your desired keyword. I find that if you get links from blogs or websites that are outside of your niche, Google doesn’t really count the link to be that powerful, however if you get a link from within your niche/industry, Google regards this link to have a very high value!

    Till then,

    Jean

    Reply
  15. Stephan Bottine

    09/30/2010, 01:51 am

    Using site speed in web rankings is a recent development. According to a post on Google Webmaster Central at the time of the announcement, in April 2010, speed doesn’t carry much weight as a ranking signal: “Currently, fewer than 1% of search queries are affected by the site speed signal in our implementation and the signal for site speed only applies for visitors searching in English on Google.com at this point.”

    Reply
  16. ayyappan

    11/02/2010, 11:02 pm

    hi,
    I dont know whether you had noticed a small mistake in your 26 ranking factors.you mentioned 26 but only 25 there .no 3 is missing you jumped from 2 to 4.
    thanks
    ayyappan

    Reply