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What Factors Influence Your Page's Google Ranking?

DATE PUBLISHED: August 21, 2014

Few things are as mysterious as the Google ranking and search algorithm. It's like the Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster: we know its out there; we just don't know that much about it. However, many intelligent people have given this topic a great deal of thought, hypothesizing what, precisely, are the components that influence a page's Google ranking. Take this piece, for example. It includes a complete list of the 200 ranking factors in the algorithm.

increase SEOIt's fascinating stuff and it comes with a few caveats. First, while some of the components are proven, others are deemed "controversial" and, worse yet, "SEO nerd speculation." Furthermore, the list doesn't ascribe specific weights to each component. For example, does the algorithm weigh Keyword Density more heavily than, say, Content Length? The author doesn't claim to know, and why should he? Only Google knows.

Nonetheless, the list is exhaustive and a must-read for your SEO and web team. Here are some select factors:

  • Domain age 

  • Keyword appears in top level domain

  • Keyword as first word in domain

  • Domain registration length

  • Keyword in subdomain name

  • Domain history

  • Exact match domain

  • Public vs. Private WhoIs

  • Penalized WhoIs Owner

  • Country TLD extension

  • Keyword in title tag

  • Title tag starts with keyword

  • Keyword in description tag

  • Keyword is most frequently used phrase in document

  • Content length (longer content is preferable.)

  • Keyword density

  • Keyword prominence — The article notes that, "Having a keyword appear in the first 100-words of a page’s content appears to be a significant relevancy signal."

  • Recency of content updates

  • Grammar and spelling

  • Number of outbound links

  • User friendly layout

  • Useful content — These are pieces of content that will be useful to viewers, like "How-To" manuals and white papers.

  • Content that provides value and unique insights — We're thinking of original commentary based on your knowledge of your industry.

  • Contact page

  • Site architecture

  • Site uptime

  • Mobile optimized

…and the list goes on.

Key Takeaways 

Ultimately, despite what SEO consultants may tell you, there is no sure-fire, "get rich quick" way to somehow outsmart Google's algorithm. At the same time, a quick glance of this abridged list suggests that your team isn't entirely powerless to help influence search results. Therefore…

  • Pay special attention to keywords. As the list theorizes, Google likes the intelligent placement of keywords. 

  • Optimize your blog. A frequently-updated blog with 500-750 word posts written with proper grammar and spelling will more positively influence your pages Google ranking versus an infrequently-updated blog with shorter posts.

  • Publish original, insightful, and useful content.

  • Make sure your web site is well-structured with a user-friendly layout that makes main content visible and easily navigable.

Now it's your turn to join the conversation. How intimately involved are you in your team's SEO efforts? What do think are the most important factors that influence Google rankings? 

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