It is believed that Google has more than 200 search engine ranking factors. Google uses a combination of all or some of these search engine ranking factors to determine how each page should rank for each search query on the search engine results pages.
However, we do not know what those 200 search engine ranking factors are. No one does. That’s because Google does not reveal that information. Otherwise, it would make it easy for SEO professionals to game search engine optimisation.
Google keeps that a secret and only reveals bits and pieces of information. The rest is up to SEO professionals to make a judgment call and utilise that information to make their website the best it can be for readers as well as search engine crawlers.
In this blog post, we share some of the limited information — regarding some of the important search engine ranking factors — that is available and officially confirmed.
1. Content quality and relevance
Content is the cornerstone of search engine optimisation. Everything revolves around your content.
Search engine users are looking for content. Publishers are creating and publishing content. And search engine crawlers are crawling websites for relevant content to connect websites with search engine users.
Content is definitely one of the biggest search engine ranking factors. More specifically, the relevance of content plays a big role in all this, along with a handful of other factors that are all weighted by Google algorithms.
In “How Search algorithms work”, Google explains it in the following words:
“To give you the most useful information, Search algorithms look at many factors, including the words of your query, relevance, and usability of pages, the expertise of sources, and your location and settings. The weight applied to each factor varies depending on the nature of your query—for example, the freshness of the content plays a bigger role in answering queries about current news topics than it does about dictionary definitions.”
2. Title tags
There is a common misconception that title tags are no longer relevant as a search engine ranking factor. However, we have noticed firsthand how tweaking title tags can have a noticeable impact on search rankings.
Besides, Google’s John Mueller has also confirmed that title tags indeed work as a Google search engine ranking factor.
3. Website loading speed
The loading speed of the web page was officially confirmed as a search engine ranking factor by Google in 2010.
“You may have heard that here at Google, we’re obsessed with speed, in our products and on the web. As part of that effort, today, we’re including a new signal in our search ranking algorithms: site speed.”
Despite being announced more than a decade ago, website loading speed as a search ranking factor is still a work in progress. Page speed became a ranking factor for mobile search only in July 2018.
4. Core Web Vitals
Core Web Vitals is one of the latest search engine ranking factors by Google. Core Web Vitals were first introduced in 2020 and rolled out as a search engine ranking factor in 2021.
“Today we’re announcing that the page experience signals in ranking will roll out in May 2021. The new page experience signals combine Core Web Vitals with our existing search signals including mobile-friendliness, HTTPS-security, and intrusive interstitial guidelines.” — Google blog post
We all know the importance of links. And in case you missed it, links were confirmed as a search engine ranking factor officially a few years ago.
6. Anchor text
When it comes to links, not many may realize the importance of anchor text. However, it was confirmed by Google’s John Mueller that anchor text is a search engine ranking factor. Besides, it has been mentioned in Google’s SEO Starter Guide for years now.
Google recommends using contextually relevant and description anchor text to reinforce the signal and to avoid using generic anchor text such as “click here” or “read this article.”
Google’s search engine ranking factors have always been a bit of an enigma. We don’t have complete information, and I doubt we will ever get that from Google.
However, the information that we do have is extremely important and can be used to catapult a website into the top positions on the SERPs.
Use the above-mentioned official information on some of Google’s biggest search engine ranking factors and improve your website’s SEO accordingly. If you have any questions, please contact us.
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