Getting the top positions on search engine results pages (SERPs) can drive a huge amount of traffic to your site, but you need to cover all Google ranking factors to get on the first page.
A ranking factor can be defined as one of the hundreds upon hundreds of variants that influence your position in organic SERPs. As for its ranking factors, Google has not released a list of definitive variables or even confirmed most of them.
But, since search engines have been creating rankings for well over three decades now, we’ve learned a lot of details about the algorithm used to calculate Google search results.
But, how many ranking factors does Google have when calculating organic rankings? Which are the most important? And, are these the same as Google ads ranking factors?
In this article, we’ll share each ranking factor that we’re aware of, divide them into categories, and tell you how to optimize these for a better position on organic search results.
What is a Ranking Factor on Google?
Every time someone uses Google to conduct a search, the search giant uses an algorithm to figure out which pages are the most relevant. This is called a search engine optimization or SEO algorithm.
This algorithm takes hundreds of variables into consideration and these are known as Google SEO ranking factors.
It’s important to note that search algorithms are always changing in order to reflect consumer preferences. Therefore, important ranking variables change. This means that the list of Google ranking factors in 2022 will be different from the year prior and the year after, even if it’s ever so slightly.
How many Ranking Factors Are There?
You may have heard about the Google 200 ranking factors, but the truth is that there is no set number of variables that are taken into consideration to calculate your position.
As a matter of fact, Google and other search engines are constantly adding and removing ranking variables from their algorithm. There are also special variables, for instance, if users are conducting branded searches, that can impact the SERPs.
We’ll cover the main ranking factors that have been confirmed later in this article. Yet, if you’re running your own website, it’s important to know that every ranking signal is subject to change.
So, if you notice a change in position in Google Analytics, it may be due to a change in Google search ranking factors.
Why It’s Important to Know the Google Ranking SEO Factors
There are many different elements you can adjust to improve your Google rankings. But, the impact of each change or improvement is completely different. So, by understanding the top Google ranking factors, you’ll be able to make improvements to areas that have a bigger impact.
In other words, if you know exactly what parts of your web page to change, all ranking factors will be aligned and contribute to a great performance.
Categories of Ranking Factors
Now, let’s move on to the different ranking factor categories.
Long gone are the days when strategies like keyword stuffing yielded good results. Today, good rankings are about high-quality content, a great backlink profile, and good technical SEO.
Keep in mind that these are different from Google My Business ranking factors. Also known as Google local search ranking factors, the variables that help define the order on Google Maps are more location and business information related.
Let’s take a look at the groups that you can use to categorize Google search ranking variables.
While we may never know the answer to the question “how many google ranking factors are there?” we do know that domain factors play a massive role.
This includes your domain age, the relevance of your URL in terms of your keyword, your domain history, and so on.
Page-level factors include everything that varies on distinct pages, including content quality (which, in turn, encompasses keyword research), images, and so on.
Site-level factors are relevant to your entire site. For example, having an XML map and an about us page on your site or achieving a high domain authority score.
Backlinks provide a lot of SEO value. But, these need to come from reputable sources, be relevant to the content and feature other characteristics to boost your SEO.
These factors refer to elements that impact the experience that visitors have while on your page.
Special Google Algorithm Rules
There are special rules in place that impact Google’s search algorithm. These, which are also considered Google Maps ranking factors, include the user’s search history and other case-by-case variables.
Brand signals, like branded keyword searches, are also a variable you need to optimize for better performance.
On-Site Webspam Factors and Off-Site Webspam Factors
On-site and off-site webspam factors also play a major role in determining your rankings. In short, these are top-ranking factors that work as markers to identify low-quality sites.
Top 10 Google Ranking Factors
Here are our picks for the top ten google SEO ranking factors you should monitor.
External links have been among the most important variables since the early days of SEO. Today, having internal links and a solid collection of outbound links is also extremely important.
2. Mobile-First Optimization
Mobile-friendliness is among the most important ranking factors. Not only does it improve the user experience, but having a responsive site can also put you in a better position to match the user’s search intent.
3. Core Web Vitals/Page Speed
Both core web vitals and page speed are considered on-page SEO google ranking factors. Make sure that both of these are optimized for a strong technical SEO base.
4. Content Depth and Content-Length
In addition to depth and length, also remember to rewrite duplicate content. Plus, you should create an on-page optimization calendar and improve your page’s content regularly to improve the performance of your web pages.
5. Organic CTR
Since it’s impossible to answer the question “how many ranking factors does Google use?” accurately, our best bet is to stick to things that we know impact rankings, like organic CTRs.
6. On-Page Experience/User Experience
The on-page user experience is a tricky one because it depends on how most visitors perceive your site. That said, there are many best practices you can implement from the start, like fixing broken links and choosing relevant internal link anchor text.
7. Technical SEO
It is among the most important Google ranking factors because it influences how the search platform communicates with and reads your site. This also encompasses variables like the meta description, title tag, and similar page-level factors.
8. Social Signals
Although they’re among the top 3 Google ranking factors, social signals play a major role in boosting your authority metrics.
9. Keywords in H1
Having your keywords in your H1 is among the most underrated ranking factors in Google. Title tags are essential, but your H1 should also feature your main keyphrase and its variables prominently.
10. Real Business Information
Do you have your phone number, address, and other business on your site? If you want to get a good position, then all the ranking factors related to your business, like the ones listed above, need to be optimized to perfection.
Understanding Google’s ranking factors and learning how to adjust them properly takes time. But, as long as you analyze each SEO ranking factor and ensure that it’s optimized for Google search engine spiders, you’ll be able to improve your rankings.