Google is the world’s biggest search engine, which makes ranking on Google very crucial. It has a whopping market share of 92%. Google determines and displays the best quality and most relevant web pages to Google search queries.
If your page ranks on the first page of Google, it’ll automatically generate more traffic and hence, more business or exposure.
SEO or search engine optimization involves ranking on pages of a SERP (search engine result page). As an SEO specialist, one should have in-depth knowledge of the Google algorithm and Google ranking factors.
Read on for some new Google search ranking factors in 2023 and how they have evolved from Google SEO factors in 2022.
But with various lists that talk about 100-200 factors, it may get a little overwhelming for you. Thus, in this blog, we have compiled the latest 50+ most important Google Ranking Factors that you need to set your eyes on along with some penalization factors that affect your ranking.
Also Read: Scope of Digital Marketing in 2023
50+ Google Ranking Factors You Should Know of in 2023
Google Ranking Factors for On-Page SEO
On-page SEO has a huge impact on page rankings. It includes all important elements on your webpage that directly have an impact on your page rankings. Some on-page rankings include –
Content is king when it comes to Google rankings. This includes headers, title tags, structured content, etc. Not only quality of content, but length also matter. Ideally, one blog article should be about 2,000 words or more to organically rank. Your content needs to add value to the reader as well. It needs to be relevant.
2. Meta Title
Meta tags are very important when it comes to SEO rankings as it is displayed as a rich snippet on a SERP (search engine result page). It is supposed to communicate the gist of the webpage.
URLs are extremely important as they show the hierarchy of the website pages and also give the user adequate information about the website. Avoid using numbers for e.g.- tt0413829. The URL is also important from an anchor text perspective. Anchor text is the clickable text in the hyperlink.
4. Image Alt Tags
Image alt tags are very important as they help when a user searches for images in a search engine. Even though the image may not show up, the descriptor or the image alt tag will reflect.
Google wants to make every experience of the viewer more comfortable- whether it be on Mobile or Desktop. Hence, websites with full display page Popups that cover maximum content is considered negatively by Google. This kind of pop-ups on your website works best for a better ranking-
Source: Web 360 Marketing
6. Over Optimization of Site
If a good optimization strategy can help you improve your Google ranking then over-optimization of the site can lead to Google ranking you lower.
7. IP Address
Ensure that your IP Address is not flagged as spam as it will affect your ranking. There are various IP Address checkers online that will help you know whether your IP Address has been blacklisted or not.
8. Contact Us
Google Quality Document will always give more credit to websites that have Contact Us pages.
9. Visual Media
Google ranks those websites higher that have multiple media such as images and videos as it makes them more visually appealing. But, do not add irrelevant media as it will lead to a negative ranking.
Google has said that readability is not a ranking factor but keeping your readability level in alignment with the target audience is always going to add to your current quality of content and hence indirectly ranking.
11. Domain Age
Backlinks from older domains tend to perform better than the new ones.
12. Number of Linking Pages
A large number of linking pages from the same domain as well can hamper Google Rankings.
13. Page Rank
The authority of the linking page is also an essential Google ranking factor when it comes to backlinks.
14. Bad Links
Links from websites that are considered of low quality or unethical according to Google can hamper your rankings.
15. Link Location
Links that are placed at the beginning of a content piece are more impacting than links placed at the end.
16. Keyword in Title
Google ranking factor for backlinks also depends on whether you can use your keyword in the title of the page of the links.
17. Broken Links
More links that are directed to a 404 error page hampers the page ranking.
18. URL length
For a good Google ranking, ensure that the URL is shorter in length. The idle URL length is 50-60 characters including folders and sub-domain. This is a good URL length-
The higher the number of links you use from multiple high-authority domains, the more your chances are to rank for the best keywords. Penguin 4.0 is one such update that can clean and filter low-quality backlinks.
Must Check Out: Top 10 SEO Benefits for Businesses
Google Ranking Factors for User Engagement
Every digital marketer knows that there is a correlation between Google search rankings and the website’s user engagement or in simpler terms, website traffic. We have a list of traffic engagement metrics that correlate with Google page rankings.
19. Search visits
Search visits are very important and are directly related to search rankings. Higher the number of website visits, the higher the Google ranking.
Pageviews can measure the amount of traffic on a site. This again is beneficial for ranking on Google.
21. Time on site
The amount of time a user spends on the website needs to be high.
22. Bounce rate
Bounce rate is when a user visits your website, may not find it interesting, and immediately exits it. Hence, the ‘bounced’. The bounce rate needs to be very low as it can affect your Google rankings.
23. High engagement
Likes, comments, and shares are favorable for high engagement.
24. Return visitors
This is very important as it indicates that your content is high in value and quality and it attracts users again.
Google Ranking Factors: Google Algorithm
Google does not entirely reveal its ranking factors. It is a well-kept secret. With trial and error, people have tried to understand the ranking factors. Here is a list of Google’s ranking factors that we know about –
25. Site Structure
Your site design should be simple and easy to navigate
Your content needs to include focus as well as relevant keywords.
Your links need to be relevant to what your website is about.
28. Page speed
Page speed needs to be up-to-date for the best user experience.
29. Mobile responsiveness
Ensure that your website is mobile-friendly for indexing and ranking.
30. SSL certificate
HTTPS is more secure and trustworthy than HTTP and your website can benefit from an SSL certificate. Nowadays, with SSL certificate prices being very low, many resellers even offer cheap SSL certificates.
31. User engagement
High bounce rates, low engagement, and negligible return visits will affect page rankings.
Google Ranking Factors: Domain & Site-wide
Domain and site factors can affect your rankings. Here’s how –
32. Domain registration time
Google prefers domains that have been registered for over a year trustworthy.
33. Domain history
If the domain has gone through any penalization in the past, it can affect your ranking.
34. Country-specific TLD
If you have a country-specific target audience, then a country-specific TLD ( .in, UK . ie, etc.) will boost rankings.
A sitemap helps a search engine index all internal pages on the site. It helps Google understand what your website is about
36. Server location
A server’s location helps rankings in that particular region.
About 50% of internet users prefer mobiles for research. Hence, mobile-optimized sites will boost Google rankings.
Few SEO experts are of the opinion that the location of the server also boats rankings. This yet remains unconfirmed.
39. Search Console
Connecting your website with the Google Search Console double-checks the quality and credibility factor and hence helps you rank better.
40. Parked Domains
A domain that is registered but does not have a website or online service connected to it is known as a parked domain. Since there is no activity, Google recognizes Parked Domains and ranks them lower.
41. Exact Match Domain
Sometimes, people buy a domain that is an exact match of the focus keyword hoping that it will drive all the website traffic. But it is a Google ranking factor that will lead to penalties or be considered spammy.
42. Site Reviews
Reviews are considered to be a good push for ranking on SERPs.
If you have a lot of old content that is not ranking or ranking low, optimization according to recent trends and data can help you boost your ranking. This Freshness update was rolled out in June 2010 by Google.
14 Google Ranking Factors That Can Penalise Your Website
Now that you’ve looked at the top Google ranking factors that you should definitely start applying, here are a few factors that can penalize your website ranking, and hence you must avoid them at any cost.
On-page Factors (Spam) for Google Penalisation
On-page website spam factors that can affect Google rankings include –
44. Linking to bad websites
Linking out to questionable websites can affect your page rankings and lead to penalties.
45. Outbound Links
Re-directs to other sites can affect page rankings
46. Keyword Stuffing
Google might get suspicious if the same keywords are used in abundance for title tags, page content, and meta tags.
47. Doorway Pages
In case your website redirects a user to another page, it is called a doorway page which can lead to penalties.
48. Not Following Ad Formats
Google can penalize a website if the content is comparatively less than the number of ads.
49. Affiliate sites
Google does not like websites with affiliate links and these kinds of sites go through a lot of scrutiny.
50. Hidden content or link
If any hidden content or link is found by Google while indexing or crawling, your website can be penalized. Changing the font size of certain texts to 0, and changing the font color to white can lead to a penalty.
51. Disability of buttons
In certain instances, developers disable the function of a button like ‘close’ to increase the web page session time.
52. Thin Content
If you add a lot of web pages with zero to very limited quality content, it will lead to a penalty.
Off-page Factors (Spam) for Google Penalisation
Listed below are some off-page factors or spam that can lead to penalization –
53. Website Hacking
Hacked websites can be removed from search engine result pages.
54. A sudden influx of additional links
A sudden influx of new links can get Google very suspicious.
55. Unrelated links
Backlinks from unrelated websites can put your website under scrutiny.
56. Low-quality backlinks
Low-quality backlinks from directories can affect Google rankings>
57. Selling links
If you sell links on your website, you might get into serious trouble.
These were the top google ranking factors and penalization factors that you must note down and you’re good to go. Here are some commonly asked questions before we wrap.
Q. What are the most important Google ranking factors?
Some of the most important Google ranking factors are –
- Content quality
- Page speed
- Mobile responsiveness
Q. What determines your Google ranking?
Google ranking systems are made of a whole set of algorithms. These search algorithms look at many factors such as the words in your query, usability of pages, relevancy, location, sources, and setting.
Q. What is a good page rank?
According to Google, a good page rank is 10 and a page rank score of 0 is a poor quality page rank.
There exist multiple google ranking factors with 100s of opinions of different practitioners. This list is compiled by IIDE’s SEO Experts after various trials and errors. We hope you enjoyed reading our blog and make the most of it.
If you’re keen on learning SEO and applying it to your business or probably work in this field, you should definitely check out IIDE’s Online SEO Course. It is a comprehensive course that breaks down every technical concept of SEO in an easy to understand format so that you can start applying it right away!
Also, if you’re a digital marketing professional, looking for a comprehensive digital marketing course, check out IIDE’s 4-month advanced online digital marketing course or the Post Graduation in Digital Marketing in India, depending on your needs and requirements.
Let us know in the comments section below if you have any questions about Google Ranking Factors.