Top 12 SEO Ranking Factors: What Matters To Google?

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With so much information out there on the Internet, with many conflicting opinions, not only has it become difficult for marketers to know what factors determine which website shows up in the search engines for specific keywords and phrases, but also for Google itself. That is why these SEO ranking factors can (and do) change from time to time. There are several different “formulas” that Google uses to determine which websites show up on search results pages for specific keywords or phrases. How does Google use all these different factors? Read on and find out!

To rank your website higher on Google there are a lot of factors that must be considered. These 12 search engine ranking factors should play a major role. This list is not based on any scientific research or authority opinion. It is strictly from my own experience dealing with keywords that had a high search volume at,, and

Table of Contents

1. Site speed and mobile-friendliness

Site speed and mobile-friendly websites are important factors for Search Engine Optimization/SEO ranking. If your site is slow then people will move to another site that is fast. If your site is not mobile-friendly then you can only target those users who are surfing on a desktop or laptop.

Site Speed SEO Ranking Factors image
Site Speed: SEO Ranking Factors

Website speed matters a lot in terms of providing a good user experience as well as search engine rankings. According to Google, they take into account more than 200 different ranking factors while determining the search results. There are many studies that show that if a website loads within 3 seconds, they have a higher bounce rate than those sites which load within 1 second or 2 seconds. It has also been proved that if your website loads faster, its SEO ranking will also improve with time and this will also help in increasing its conversion rates as per Google’s research team.

You can check your site or website load speed and mobile-friendliness using these two free tools; Google PageSpeed Insights and GTmetrix.

Why Site Speed is Important to Google R.F?

*R.F – Ranking Factors

Google has always maintained that it wants to provide the best possible user experience for its users. So, why does Google give importance to Site Speed? The answer lies in Google’s mission statement “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

  • Sie speed helps in enhancing the user experience. A website that loads faster will attract more visitors and hence, helps in improving the conversion rate. Since the loading time of a website is directly proportional to the visitor’s bounce rate, it’s important for you to have a fast website if you want people to stay on your site and explore it.
  • A faster website helps in improving search engine rankings as well. It’s been confirmed by Google that page speed is one of the many factors that help in determining a page’s ranking in its search results. Hence, having a fast website will help you achieve better rankings.
  • It’s been seen that users often leave websites that take more than 3 seconds to load. This can lead to the loss of valuable traffic and hence, it’s important for you to have a fast-loading website if you want people to stay on your site and explore it, instead of leaving it right away because of long loading times.
  • A slow website not only irritates users but also affects your bottom line because most online businesses rely heavily on their web presence and if they don’t have a fast website, they lose out in terms of revenue and profits.

💡 The Benefits of a Fast Loading Website or Blog

  • Increase your search engine rankings
  • Decrease bounce rate and increase pages per visit
  • Increase the number of time visitors spend on your site

2. Links from relevant websites (Backlinks)

Backlinks SEO Ranking Factors image
Backlinks/External links: SEO Ranking Factor

The most SEO ranking factor for a website is the number of high-quality backlinks you have. This includes the number of sites that link to your domain, the number of unique domains that link to your domain, and how many times they link to you.

You can get more links by asking others to add them to their site/blog and link back to your blogs. The best method that has worked for me and many others are writing high-quality guest posts. Add links that refer back to your website when you write guest posts. This should only be done in a professional way. The reason is to avoid loading readers with too many links which might reduce the effectiveness of these backlinks. You can read out our guest post guidelines to see what we want when our readers write for us. These guidelines are applied by many other sites that offer guest posts.

The most important thing is that these links are relevant, as in they are related to the content on your site. If you have an e-commerce site and sell baby products, then getting a link from a diaper manufacturer would make more sense than getting a link from a car manufacturer.

Let me give you an example:

You own a car service garage and you have a website for your business where you have all your services listed with prices. Now, what if someone writes a blog post on his blog about car service garages and mentions you in his article? A single link from that blog post to your website can be considered a backlink.

Why are backlinks important?

#Understanding the Importance of Backlinks

To understand why backlinks are important, it helps to think about how search engines operate. Search engines like Google use crawlers to “crawl” the web, gathering information about all the content they can find. This data is then abused in the search engine’s index that’s basically a giant database of all the content they’ve found and what it was about.

When a person performs a search, Google tries to find the most relevant answers. In order for Google to know which pages are more relevant than others, it uses its algorithm. This complex mathematical equation evaluates many factors, including how many other pages link back to this page.

This means that if your site has links from other sites, it will be more likely to rank higher in Google than if your site doesn’t.

Tools That Help You With Backlinks for Your Site

  • Look up the most shared and most linked-to content for any topic with BuzzSumo.
  • Use a tool like the MozBar Chrome extension to see the Page Authority (PA) of the sites ranking in Google’s top 10.
  • Create something even better, then reach out to the right people to see if they’ll link to you.

The Benefits of Link Building/Backlinks To Your Site

  • The main benefit of link building is that it helps to drive traffic to your website or blog.
  • It improves the search engine ranking of your website or blog so that whenever someone searches for a particular keyword in Google, yahoo or bing then your website gets displayed on the first page of the search results. This way people find it easier to visit your site and hence increase the traffic even more.
  • It helps to improve the visibility of your website or blog on Google or any other search engine so that people find it easily when they search for any particular keyword related to your business or services that you offer through your website or blog.

3. Quality Content – the fresher the better

Quality Content SEO Ranking Factors image
Source: How To Index Your New WordPress Website On Google (Faster)

Content is the foundation of your website. It provides visitors with information and answers questions. But you may be wondering why content on a website is important as relates to search engines.

Content is important as it impacts your SEO rankings. As Google bots crawl through each page, they determine whether or not the content actually matches what the visitor is looking for. If it is, then that’s great news for you because it will help to move you up in the rankings. If not, well, that’s not so good news for you because you’ll start to move down in the rankings.

There is a lot of controversy over how much content you should have on your site. Some SEO professionals say that the more content there is, the higher your rankings will be. Others disagree, saying that not all content is created equal and only relevant, updated information will help your rankings.

A well-known expert in this area is Matt Cutts who works for Google as the head of their webspam team. He has been quoted saying:

“If you do a good job with the user experience, then users will be able to find what they want.”

Matt Cutts

This means that Google wants to see sites that have useful, up-to-date information that visitors can easily find and use.

John Mueller, a senior engineer at Google, said this on his Google+ page: “A site’s ranking is also a factor in how fresh we show it in search results.” Sites with fresh content generally have better rankings than sites with stale content.

“A site’s ranking is also a factor in how fresh we show it in search results.”

John Mueller

Pro Tip!!!

It is not just sites that have a news section that needs regular updates; any website that wants to attract visitors should look at ways of introducing fresh content regularly.

The Benefits of High-Quality Content on a Website

  • SEO Ranking – well-written content can increase traffic and search engine ranking
  • More customer inquiries – fresh content gets people interested and they want to know more
  • Higher conversion rates – if you have a product or service, you need a way to sell it and an online portfolio can help with that
  • Gives you an opportunity to drive traffic to other pages on your website
  • Provides you with an opportunity to show off your expertise and talents
  • Helps build authority
  • Gives you an opportunity to increase social sharing
  • Gives you an opportunity to generate email subscribers
  • More engaging – Longer visitor sessions

4. Keyword placement

In meta tags and title of a page

Keyword Placement SEO Ranking Factors image
Keyword Placement to boost SEO

On-page SEO is a crucial component of every SEO campaign. It comprises all the content on your website as well as the HTML code. Although search engines have become more sophisticated, they still rely on this information to determine what your site is about and where it should rank in SERPs.

The problem is that some business owners and marketers are unaware of the importance of proper keyword placement in key areas, such as meta tags and titles.

Why Does Keyword Placement Matter in Eyes of Google?

If you want to rank high in Google, you must have valuable content that is relevant to users who are searching for specific keywords or phrases on the Internet. As a content creator, you must also optimize the web pages for those same keywords. The reason is that search engines can understand what the page is about and give it a high ranking for relevant searches.

If your pages are not optimized for specific keywords or phrases, then you may see a drop in organic traffic from search engines like Google, Bing, or Yahoo!’s Bing Network (formerly Live Search). You’ll want to avoid this by creating content that’s optimized with relevant keywords at all times.

The Benefits of Keyword Placement in Meta tags and Title

  • Keyword placement helps search engines identify what your website is about
  • Search engines like Google can easily find your website
  • This way, you can boost your organic traffic
  • A meta description that is well-researched and accurate. This represents your page can have a big positive impact on your Search Engine Rankings.
  • A compelling page title can have a big positive impact on your Search Engine Rankings.
  • The best keyword research will find terms that are relevant to your business and easy to rank.

5. Internal Link Structure

Linking to other pages that are relevant and related to that page

On-page SEO is a long, involved process that can quickly become overwhelming. With many SEO ranking factors, some like backlinks are always hard to get. However, there are a few simple things you can do to boost your site’s SEO and get it ready for search engine optimization. I mean internal linking.

One of the easiest and most important things you can do is focus on the internal linking structure. Internal links help Google crawl your site, find new pages and index them faster, and they also help distribute link equity across pages.

So, internal links are an important SEO ranking factor for search engines. But why?

Build Authority with Internal Linking

Search engines want to show the best results for any given query. If users keep clicking on a certain result and then coming back to search engines instead of navigating away from the site, it shows that the content was relevant and useful for that query. Search engines will continue showing that result over other results because it seems to be what users want.

Internal linking helps spread authority from high-authority pages to lower ones. Let’s say you have a page about search engine optimization basicsthat’s linking to some other basic SEO tips articles. That main page might not have been very high in the rankings before, but by linking out to articles about specific topics within the industry, it starts showing in the google search results page SERP.

The Benefits of Internal Link Structure To a Site

  • The first benefit is that it allows you to promote your old articles by linking them to your new articles.
  • Internal linking allows you to get more views per visitor and lower bounce rates by sending visitors to other pages they might be interested in.
  • It increases page views, time spent on the site, and session duration which are good for SEO.
  • Internal links allow you to link within your content when it makes sense to do so, such as when you’re reviewing a product and linking back to the product’s sales page
  • Another benefit is that if you create a whole network of websites, each one linking to another, then every one of those websites gets better rankings on Google for free simply because of the internal links
  • Internal linking can help you with overall SEO efforts by improving your ranking for certain keywords.
  • Lastly, Search Engines Crawl and Index Your Content More Easily.

6. URL Structure

URL structure is essential for SEO and it’s one of the first steps to consider in optimizing your website for search engines. Google said that keywords in the URL are a ranking factor, so you want to make sure that your URLs are structured in a way that makes them readable to search engines. Here is an example of a good URL structure and a bad URL structure 👇

A good URL looks like this:

Bad URL?

Why does URL Structure Matters To Google?

Every page on your website has a unique URL. While URLs are often overlooked when optimizing for search engines, they are actually quite important for SEO. According to Google, there are three main reasons why good URL structure matters:

1) URLs can help search engines learn about your site’s content and how it is organized.

2) URLs make it easier for users to identify which parts of your website were used to find the information they’re looking for.

3) Users may also use URLs to navigate your site by copying and pasting them into their browser or by typing them directly into their address bar.

The Benefits of URL Structure To Your Blog Website

  • It helps you to optimize your site for search engines and Improve SEO ranking
  • URL structure offers a better and more memorable user experience
  • It makes it easy for you to scale and grow your site (Easy to link to)
  • Uses/visitors/readers can easily share your content
  • It helps to make the URL look cleaner and more human-readable
  • A good URL structure makes it easy for search engine crawlers and other bots to crawl and index your pages

Few guidelines To Create a Better URL Structure:

  1. The shorter, the better. Shorter URLs are more appealing to users and they also make it easier for your site to be shared on social networks.
  2. Easy to read. URLs should be readable, as the title of an article or post, so that it’s easy to know what the page is about just by reading the URL.
  3. Easy to remember. Again, keep it short and simple enough that visitors can easily remember it if they want to come back later or share it with someone else.
  4. Use keywords in your URL. If you add keywords in your URLs, you have a great opportunity to increase organic traffic from search engines as well as optimize your website for long-tail keywords since there are fewer words in the URL string.
  5. Include dates in URLs for blog posts only! Dated URLs are great for blogs because it lets visitors know when the post was published. (Not necessary in the modern blogging world)

7. User experience and navigation design

EasyNavigation SEO Ranking Factors image
Source: Blog

Hovering over a search result does not always have the same meaning for a human and a computer. A website that is easy to navigate has a better chance of receiving more visitors, and this will increase the likelihood of getting a higher ranking in search engines.

Good navigation is essential for the user’s experience, but it is also important for improving your rank in search engines. When you navigate through the different pages on your site, you are essentially telling Google and other search engine crawlers that information about your business exists on these pages. This tells Google and others where to find pages related to your business when they are searching for your keyword.

The best way to improve your navigation design is to use a menu. A menu helps users navigate through different pages on your website, this tells Google that you have other important and useful content it should show on search results. The latter is part of the Google method to easily crawl and index your site way faster.

If you want your website to rank well on Google, it’s essential that your users have a positive experience and easy navigation through your website. This is the best way to ensure that your site will be seen as a viable search option.

What exactly is user experience?

Find this in our FAQ section.

The Benefits of User experience and navigation design To Your Site

  • Better usability: Users who navigate your site efficiently will be more likely to come back again. You can use both Ux/Nd and usability testing to see which areas of your site need improvement.
  • Better conversion rates: Users will be more likely to complete a purchase if they’re finding valuable content quickly.
  • Higher customer satisfaction: People will be less likely to leave a negative review or contact you with complaints if their experience was positive.
  • Less spam: Your site will be less attractive to spammers who want to explore your site, they can get to the page they want if they click a certain menu on your page. This can double your conversion rates.

8. Social Media Content and Engagement

Social media engagement has become a crucial part of search engine optimization. But it’s also a key element of success for your business and its products and services. The more share you get, it is a hint to Google that your content is useful and gets a higher chance of ranking.

Sharing Content to Social Platforms SEO Ranking Factors image

Another thing to note is when your content is shared, there is a higher chance of getting more traffic from these links. This way, you have an additional way of external links or backlinks. Backlinks are an important SEO ranking factor as discussed in point No 2. This means social media channels have become an important source of traffic for many websites.

Social media works best when you’re having conversations with the people who already follow your brand. Engaging them with engaging content can make all the difference between a site that disappears from the SERPs or one that gets noticed by potential customers and converts.

In addition to contributing to SEO, social media is an excellent way to build brand awareness for your eCommerce business. You’ll be able to use social media to reach out to new customers, build up relationships with existing ones, and keep in touch with your current customers — all without spending money on traditional advertising.

Benefits of Social media content and Engagement(s)

  • Social media content can bring in new customers. If you have a new product or service you’d like to promote, posting about it on social media is a good way to spread the word about it and get more leads for yourself and for your clients.
  • It’s free. Unless you have millions of followers and a huge budget for advertising, the cost of social media marketing is almost always free. It’s not even necessary to pay for any paid advertising to do it – most paid advertising dollars are wasted by companies that don’t use it well enough.
  • Increase traffic to your website: People who see your posts will be more likely to visit your site.
  • Social media content helps you build a brand. When you post photos with captions or share links with your followers, they get to see what you’re all about. You don’t have to write anything – people will draw their own conclusions by looking at your social media posts.

9. The relevancy of your content

#Content is King

You’ve probably heard that in the past. And it’s true. You can have thousands of links to your site, but if you have low-quality content, no one will want to stay on your site, and Google will not like that. This is why, in today’s online world, content quality matters as much as ever.

“Content is king” was first stated by Bill Gates back in 1996. We all know what happened to Microsoft over the years. While some may say that this statement shows that Microsoft actually has a really good understanding of how search engines work, it does show how important content actually is for a website in order for it to rank well on search engines such as Google.

What does “Content Quality” Mean?

Over the years, Google has been telling us that “content quality” is a very important factor for ranking purposes. But what exactly does this mean?

Quality content should be:

  • Unique and relevant to users
  • Informative
  • Entertaining
  • Engaging with users (for example, through comments or social media shares)
  • Highly readable

The Benefits of Relevant and Quality Content

  • Quality Content increases the number of visitors to your website
  • It is a great way to beat your competition.
  • Readers/visitors share high-quality content more with friends and family or on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
  • It is a great way to engage readers and keep them interested in coming back for more information
  • It is a great way to promote your business or brand without having to spend money on paid advertising campaigns
  • You can get more traffic from other sites that link back to you if they like what they see on your blog or website

10. Image File Names and Alt Text for Images

How to Optimize Images for Your WordPress Site image
Source: How to Optimize Images for Your WordPress Site: The Basics of Image Optimization

The strength of your image search ranking depends on the amount of time and money you put into your images (Of course this can be done for free, click on the suggested blog after this paragraph). A strong search engine ranking can turn a potential buyer into a sale. But to get that position, you need to invest in the placement of your images on the web.

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Every image file has an alt text associated with each one, which is an alternative text description. It tells search engines how the image should be displayed when it’s searched for by users. This can make a big difference in how well these images rank on search engines.

Note!!! Simply having your images present on the web does not guarantee that they rank as well for driving traffic to your website. To achieve high rankings, you need to get these little details correct.

Search engines use this information to understand what images are used by websites and how they are presented in search results pages or other related searches. In order to get high rankings, you need to have accurate alt text descriptions and file names for all images in your website and blog posts.

Benefits of Image File Names and Alt Text for Images

Alt text can be a great way to help your images stand out on a page. If you’re using an image as the main graphic, it’s a good idea to include text in the alt tag. Here are 3 benefits of including alt text in your images:

  • Though an image may look the same on different screen sizes, alt text makes it easy for search engines to tell which image is the one that should appear when someone does a search.
  • Alt text helps you avoid copyright issues when you’re using images from other people’s work without permission.
  • An alternative text might be helpful if you’re asking a question in an online forum and need people to answer your question based on a specific picture or illustration.
  • Alt text can help people with disabilities or limited vision differentiate between versions of an image.

11. On-site SEO factors

With the rise of social media in today’s society, search engines are having a hard time figuring out what relevant content is and how they can find it. One of the tools they use to locate high-quality content is on-site search optimization.

Most of the on-page SEO ranking factors are already discussed like internal link building, image optimization, high-quality content, etc. This is just to summarize.

On-site SEO ranking factors refer to any aspect of your page that affects how people will look at your site. The more effective these factors are, the better your chance of rising up in search results.

On-site SEO factors include some of the already discussed points above: Title Tags, Meta Descriptions, H1 Headlines, Page Titles, Page Content, etc.

Benefits of on-site SEO factors To Your Website

Here are some of the benefits of on-site SEO:

  • Higher rankings. Search engines look at the quality of the site’s content before indexing it in their databases. If you’re using descriptive keywords in your content, search engines will be able to find your site more easily and rank it higher in search results.
  • More traffic. Search engines use on-site SEO to help users find your site when they search for specific keywords – and that means more traffic for you.
  • More targeted advertising. One of the main benefits of on-site SEO is that search engines can use it to show ads to people who are already searching for those keywords on your site – ads that may have special relevance to them (for example, an ad for a product only available online).

12. Off-site SEO factors

Off-Page SEO, on the other hand, is the practice of optimizing your website for users, not search engines. It’s about building a great website for visitors and driving relevant traffic to your site.

Most of the off-page SEO ranking factors are already discussed like link building, Social media content, engagement, etc.

High-quality link building is an effective way to demonstrate to search engines that you are a reputable site with useful content. This in turn tells the search engine that your site should be ranked higher up in the SERPs (search engine result pages).

The more external websites that link back to your site, the more authority search engines believe you have.

Each backlink acts as a ‘vote’, indicating to search engines that your content is trustworthy. The more votes you have, the higher your site will be ranked. Hence why quality backlinks are so important!

The Benefits of Off-Page SEO To Your Website

  • First and foremost, there are the obvious benefits – namely that you can use the power of these elements to increase traffic to your website and drive conversions. With an off-site element, you can convert visitors into followers and followers into paying customers without a single click on your site or blog page.
  • Search engine spiders love websites that talk about and link back to relevant keywords. So even if there isn’t an obvious link between your website and another site in your industry, search engines still love those pages.
  • It’s easier to get traffic from off-site SEO than from on-site SEO because it takes less time for people to find you when they’re searching for information about your topic.
  • Finding websites that are already talking about a topic you want to promote will help you get the most exposure possible.
  • Targeting keywords that have very low competition will help you rank better on Google and other search engines.


Consider these factors carefully if you are trying to get your website ranked higher on the search engines. Since all of the factors have either a greater or lesser influence, it helps to know which has the most influence over your site ranking. If you optimize your site’s these factors, you can significantly increase the chances that your site will appear on the first page in the search engine result pages.

It’s difficult to say what the top ranking factors are because they change over time and are different for each keyword/segment. So, you need to be aware of what is currently working in your niche and focus on doing more of that.

Be patient! Ranking (On-site SEO and Off-Page SEO) takes time; it’s not a get-rich-quick scheme. It requires lots of hard work and research, but it can pay off immensely if you put the effort into it!


What factors affect Search Engine Rankings?

Google has been changing its search algorithm almost every year to improve search result quality. And if you’re a blogger that relies on Google organic traffic like me, then it’s significant to learn how to optimize your WordPress website and make it SEO friendly. These factors are; internal linking, image optimization, URL structure, site load speed, mobile-friendly site, etc. In general, all on-page and off-page SEO ranking factors as discussed above.

What is SEO?

Search engine optimization or SEO is an online marketing strategy that helps websites and web pages rank higher on search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, and others search engines. The goal of SEO is to make content easy for users and websites to navigate through search engines. It’s not just about keywords anymore; it’s about creating quality content fast and easy for users to navigate through.

When you search for something on Google or any other search engine, it displays a list of results from highest ranking to lowest ranking based on the keywords you searched for and other factors (which we will discuss later). In general, higher-ranked websites receive more traffic from search engines than lower-ranked ones. That means if your blog is not SEO optimized, you’ll never be able to rank in top positions and will end up getting less traffic which means less money.

What are SERPs?

Search Engines Ranking Pages (SERPs) are what we see on Google when we enter a query into the search bar. It’s what Google decides to show us in response to our query. Think of them like mini-websites just for your keyword query that has all kinds of information – images, videos, answers, news articles, ads…you name it!

How does Google rank websites?

The search engine giant has an algorithm that determines how to rank websites based on thousands of factors, but the three most important SEO ranking factors are quality, relevance, and backlinks.

Google determines quality by parsing the content of a page. The information contained on the page should accurately and completely answer the searcher’s question, or it should provide some kind of useful or entertaining value. A page that is full of text about keywords and keywords alone will be ranked low because it does not offer anything else.

Backlinks or external linking. This is probably the most important factor in ranking because it tells the search engine where you are and where you came from – essentially who controls the content on your site and what links back to it. The more high-quality backlinks pointing at your site, the better chance you have at making it into Google’s top 10 list of results.

What are Link Building/Backlinks?

Link building is the process of getting other websites to link back to your website. It’s also referred to as “off-page SEO” in the internet marketing world. This means that any promotion you do outside of your website (like posting on social media, blogging, writing guest posts, etc.) is considered part of your link-building strategy.

Websites get links from other sites for two reasons:

  • Because their content is useful and deserves a link for people to click on and read.
  • Because they have connections with other bloggers/website owners and can reach out to them directly.

Note!!! It’s important to understand though that most of your link-building efforts will be because you are creating content that other people find helpful. And if they find it helpful enough, they will share it with their audience and link back to your website as the source.

What is an Alt Text for Images?

The alt text (alternative text) for your images is a brief description of the image that appears when someone points their mouse at it. It’s visible on mobile devices and on the search results page of most search engines.

An alt text isn’t just for search engines. They’re also used by screen readers, which are programs that allow blind people to navigate websites without needing to see the visual cues that sighted people take for granted.

And, if you’re using a WordPress theme, you can add an alt text toolbox in your WordPress dashboard. Simply go to Media > and click any image to add alt text.

Thanks for reading, and good luck to everyone starting a blog and who already have their own blog!

If you enjoyed reading this blog, then please do give it a share. Thank You!

Do you have any questions or concerns we didn’t address above? Please let us know in the comments below! We would love to hear from you!

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7 thoughts on “Top 12 SEO Ranking Factors: What Matters To Google?”

  1. Thanks for another fantastic article. Where else could anybody get that type of info in such a perfect way of writing? I have a presentation next week, and I’m on the look for such information.

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