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Top 20 Google Ranking Factors That You Cannot Afford To Miss Out On

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Every marketer today is looking for Google ranking factors because who doesn’t want to rank #1. 

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 2021 and how they have evolved from Google SEO factors in 2020.

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 top 20 most important Google Ranking Factors that you need to set your eyes on along with some penalisation factors that affect your ranking. 

Bonus Read – Scope of Digital Marketing in 2021

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Top 20 Google Ranking Factors of 2021 You Should Start Using 

Google Ranking Factors: 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 – 

1. Content – 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. Title – Title 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. 

3. URLs – 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 Ranking Factors: Backlinks 

5. Backlinks are undoubtedly one of the strongest Google ranking factors in 2021 in Google’s page ranking factors. The higher the number of links you use from multiple high authority domains, the more your chances to rank for 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: 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.

6. Search visits – Search visits are very important and have are directly related to search rankings. Higher the number of website visits, the higher the Google ranking. 

7. Pageviews – Pageviews can measure the amount of traffic on a site. This again is beneficial for ranking on Google. 

8. Time on site – The amount of time a user spends on the website needs to be high.

9. 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.

10. High engagement – Likes, comments, shares are favourable for high engagement.

11. Return visitors – This is very important as it indicates that your content is high in value and quality as 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 –  

12. Site Structure – Your site design should be simple and easy to navigate

13. Content – Your content needs to include focus as well as relevant keywords.

14. Links – Your links need to be relevant.

15. Page speed – Page speed needs to be up-to-date for the best user experience.

16. Mobile responsiveness – Ensure that your website is mobile-friendly for indexing and ranking.

17. SSL certificate – HTTPS is more secure and trustworthy than HTTP. Your website can benefit from an SSL certificate.

18. 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 –

19. Domain Factors – 

  • Domain registration time – Google prefers domains that have been registered for over a year trustworthy. 
  • Domain history – If the domain has gone through any penalization in the past, it can affect your rankings
  • Country-specific TLD – If you have a country-specific target audience, then a country-specific TLD ( .in, UK . ie, etc.) will boost rankings.

20. Site Factors –

Some of the top site factors are listed below –

  • Sitemap – A sitemap helps a search engine to index all internal pages on the site. It helps Google understand what your website is about
  • Server location – A server’s location helps rankings in that particular region.
  • Mobile-friendliness – About 50% of internet users prefer mobiles for research. Hence, mobile-optimized sites will boost Google rankings.

11 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 penalise 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 –

1. Linking to bad websites – Linking out to questionable websites can affect your page rankings and lead to penalties.

2. Outbound Links – Re-directs to other sites can affect page rankings

3. Excessive keyword usage – Google might get suspicious if the same keywords are used in abundance for title tags, page content and meta tags.

4. Doorway Pages – In case your website redirects a user to another page, it is called a doorway page which can lead to penalties.

5. Not Following Ad Formats – Google can penalize a website if the content is comparatively less than the number of ads. 

6. Affiliate sites – Google does not like websites with affiliate links and these kinds of sites go through a lot of scrutinies.

Off-page Factors (Spam) for Google Penalisation

Listed below are some off-page factors or spam that can lead to penalization – 

7. Website Hacking – Hacked websites can be removed from search engine result pages.

8. A sudden influx of additional links – A sudden influx of new links can get Google very suspicious.

9. Unrelated links – Backlinks from unrelated websites can put your website under scrutiny.

10. Low-quality backlinks – Low-quality backlinks from directories can affect Google rankings>

11. Selling links – If you sell links on your website, you might get into serious trouble

These were the top google ranking factors and penalisation factors that you must note down and you’re good to go. Here are some commonly asked questions before we wrap. 

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Q. What are the most important Google ranking factors?

Some of the most important Google ranking factors are –

  • Content quality
  • Page speed
  • Backlinks
  • Keywords
  • 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.

To Summarise 

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 3-month advanced online digital marketing course or the 11-month MBA-Level postgraduate course, depending on your needs and requirements. 

Let us know in the comments section below if you have any questions about Google Ranking Factors.

Chief Learning Officer at IIDE

He has over 17 years of experience in the Digital Marketing and Design space. He is someone who understands all the elements of the Digital gamut ranging from User Experience, Graphics Design, SEO, SEM, Analytics, Media Planning, Social Media Marketing & eCommerce......[Read full bio]

Meherzad Karanjia


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