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What are the 200 SEO factors behind Google’s SERP?

Search engines take a variety of different factors into account when determining their search results. The most popular among them, Google, use more than 200.

All these elements but are not accorded the same importance, and the exact list remains private. However, SEO experts have developed a "theoretical" list of 206 potential factors.

Some of the items on the list are a bit speculative, others are slightly controversial. Many of them have only a minor impact on research results. Nevertheless, we present to you all the factors taken into account by the Google algorithm.

The comprehensive list of SEO factors is divided into several sections:

Domain related factors
Page Level Factors
Website level factors
Backlink factors (or inbound links)
User interaction
Special rules related to Google algorithm
Brand Signals
Factors related to spam on the site
Factors related to off-site spam

Domain SEO Factors

Domain age: Google “trusts” older domains. A domain that has operated for several years, with a good reputation, is generally favoured.

Presence of a keyword in the top level domain: Having a keyword in your domain name no longer offers the same benefit as in the past. However, it remains a signal of beneficial relevance.

Duration of domain registration: An official Google declaration states that the period for which your domain is registered is an indicator of the trust that is attributed to it. The statement states:

Value domains (legitimate) are often paid several years in advance, while door domains (illegitimate) are rarely used for more than one year. Therefore, the date a domain expires in the future can be used as a factor to predict the legitimacy of a domain.”

*Presence of a keyword in the subdomain: just like in the TLD, a keyword appearing in your subdomain can help your ranking.

Domain history: A site that has already been sanctioned or associated with spam may be penalized by Google even if the alleged wrongdoing has nothing to do with the current domain owner.

Exact match domain (Exact Match domain): the domains exactly matching the search terms have little direct SEO benefits. Unless your site has a truly unique name, the search results will prioritize better quality sites on a site of poor quality exactly matching the search terms.

Public vs. Private WhoIs registration: Private domain registration may indicate that a site has “something to hide”. Matt Cutts of Google is quoted as saying:

“… When I checked the names, they all had the name “whois privacy protection service”. This is relatively unusual. … The fact that someone’s privacy is turned on is not automatically bad, but once you have many of these factors, you’re often talking about a very different type of webmaster than one site.”

Penalized WhoIs Owner: If Google identifies an individual as a known spammer, it will review all other sites owned by that person. They may then be penalized in a preventive manner, without having been responsible for spam.

Country Domain TLD: Having a country code top level domain (.cn, .pt, .ca) can sometimes help the site rank for that particular country. However, this can sometimes limit the site’s ability to rank globally. This is especially true for extensions linked to countries whose reputation on the international scene is not enviable.

SEO factors at page level

Title tag keyword: Although it has lost importance over time, your title tag remains an important page-level SEO signal.

Keyword at the beginning of the title tag: Title tags starting with a keyword are more effective than those where the keyword appears at the end of the tag.

Keyword in meta-description: Google does not use the meta-description tag as a direct ranking signal. However, your description tag can have an impact on the click rate which is a key ranking factor.

Keyword appears in H1-H6 tags: H1-H6 tags act as second title tag. In addition to your title tag, Google uses your subtitle tags as a signal of secondary relevance.

*How often a certain word appears in the content: The more often that word appears on a page, the more likely it is that the page is about the topic. Google uses a sophisticated algorithm to count words, while assessing the relevance of the context in which they are used.

Content length: Content with more words may contain more information, allowing for more authority to be demonstrated on a subject. Google’s algorithm tends therefore favored longer content over shorter and superficial articles. In recent years, this trend has continued to grow. Increasingly, the first results tend to be contents of more than 2500 or 3000 words.

*Table of Contents: Using a table of contents with links helps Google better understand your page’s content. This thus promotes your SEO.

Latent semantic indexing (LSI) keywords in content: Latent semantic indexing keywords help search engines extract the meaning of words that have more than one meaning. For example: Orange, the telecom company, versus Orange, the fruit. The presence or absence of IXPL may act as a signal of content quality.

LSI keywords in the title and meta-description: As in the content of the web page, the LSI keywords in the page meta-tags help Google distinguish words with several possible meanings. They can also serve as a signal of relevance and authority.

Depth of subject coverage on page: There is a clear and direct correlation between the depth of subject coverage and Google results. Pages that offer more information are favored in the ranking compared to pages that offer less.

Page loading speed via HTML: Google and Bing use page speed as a factor to determine ranking. If your si is slow, its ranking may suffer.

Use of AMP: Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is not necessarily a direct Google ranking factor. however, this is a requirement to rank in the mobile version of the Google News carousel..

*Entity Correspondence: Does the content of a page match the “entity” a user is looking for? If so, this page will get a better ranking for this keyword.

Google Hummingbird: This addition to the algorithm helped Google go beyond keywords. He now relies on Hummingbird to better understand the subject of a web page.

*Duplicate content: Identical (or even slightly modified) content on the same website can have a negative effect on search engine referencing.

Rel=Canonical: Using this tag can prevent duplicate content from being penalized by Google by linking two versions.

Image Optimization: Images send important relevance signals to search engines. These include their file name, alternate text tag, title, description and caption. All these elements can contribute to the referencing of images.

Content Timelines: The Google Caffeine update promotes newly published or updated content. Google also displays the date of the last update of a page for certain pages.

Scope of Content Updates: If you are updating content, the scope of the changes serves as a freshness factor. If you add or delete entire sections, the content will be treated as original. If you only change the order of a few words or correct a typo, Google will not consider the content to be current.

Page Update History: How often has the page been updated over time? Daily, weekly, every five years? The frequency of page updates also plays a role in assessing the freshness of the content.

Importance of the keyword: The fact that a keyword appears in the first 100 words of a page’s content is essential to rank among the first results of Google’s ranking.

Keywords in H2 and H3 tags : The fact that your keyword appears as a subtitle in H2 or H3 is another signal of relevance. In fact, John Mueller of Google says:

“These HTML titles help us understand the page structure.”

Quality of outgoing links (backlinks): Links to official sites help send signals of trust to Google.

Outgoing link theme: Google uses the content of the pages you link to as a signal of relevance.

*Grammar and Spelling: Correct grammar and spelling is a good signal for referencing.

*Original Content: Is the content of the page original? If copied from an already indexed page, it will not be classified as well. It may not even be indexed at all.

*Mobile-friendly content: Google Mobile-Friendly Update update rewards pages optimized for mobile devices.

Ease of use of mobile devices: Google uses the Mobile-first Index, dictating that websites that mobile users can easily use are favored in search results.

*Content hidden on mobile devices: Content hidden on mobile devices may not be indexed, unlike fully visible content.

*Useful Additional Content: According to a (now public) document entitled Google Rater Guidelines, useful additional content (e.g., interactive recipes, currency converters, loan interest calculators, etc.) is an indicator of the quality of a page. This content therefore has an influence on the Google ranking.

*Content hidden behind tabs: Do users need to click on a tab to view some of the content on your page? If yes, this content cannot be indexed by Google.

*Number of Outbound Links: Too many outbound links identified dofollow can dilute your Google PageRank score, which can affect the ranking of this page.

*Multimedia elements: Images, videos and other multimedia elements can act as a signal of content quality. Once again, the originality of the content and its relevance are important to fully benefit from it.

*Number of internal links to page: The number of internal links to a page indicates its importance relative to other pages on the site. The more internal links there are to content, the more important it must be to Google.

*Quality of internal links to page: Internal links from authoritative domain pages have a stronger effect. On the contrary, links from pages with a low (if any) PageRank score have very little effect.

Broken links: Having broken links on a page may indicate that a site is being neglected or abandoned. The Google Rater Guidelines document indicates that broken links are used to assess the quality of web pages.

Reading level: Google estimates the reading level of web pages. The engine judges the level of vocabulary and expertise to determine the target audience. 3 results are possible: Basic, Intermediate and Advanced. What Google does with this information remains a mystery and is the subject of much debate.

Affiliate links: Using affiliate links as such does not affect your ranking. However, if you have too much on the same page, Google’s algorithm can run a quality scan to make sure you’re not just an affiliate site.

HTML errors/W3C validation: HTML errors or sloppy coding may indicate a poor quality site. Although a factor is somewhat controversial, the quality of a page’s code is used as an indicator of quality.

Domain Authority: A page on an authoritative domain will rank higher than a page on a domain with less authority.

Page PageRank score: Pages with a lot of authority tend to outperform pages with less link authority. However, there is no perfect correlation at this level.

Length of URL: A URL that is too long can affect the ranking of a page in search results. Short URLs have a slight advantage in Google search results.

Path to URL: A page closer to the home page has more authority than a page lost in the intricacies of a site’s architecture.

Human Writers vs. IA: Google has filed a patent for a system that makes it possible to promote the content produced by human editors compared to those from artificial intelligences.

Page Category: The category in which the page appears is a factor indicating relevance.

Keyword in URL: Another relevance signal, although a minor factor.

URL string: URL string categories are read by Google. They can provide a thematic signal on the meaning of a page.

*References and sources: Citing references and sources (as researchers and media do) can be a sign of quality. The Google Quality Guidelines stipulate that the search engine monitors sources when they visit certain pages.

Bulleted or numbered lists: Bullets and numbered lists help divide your content for readers. They thus make text elements more user-friendly. Google seems to agree and promotes content with bullets and numbered lists.

Priority of the page in the site plan (Sitemap): The priority of a page is given via the file sitemap.xml. This has an influence on the ranking of the page in the Google results.

*Too many outbound links: too many links can distract from your essential content. The Google Quality Reviewer document states:

“Some pages have too many links, obscure the page and distract attention from the main content.”

UX signals from page ranking for other keywords: If the page is ranked for several other keywords, it gives Google a sign of quality. In fact, Google’s recent report entitled How Search Works states:

“We are looking for sites that many users seem to like for similar requests.”

Page age: While Google prefers fresh content, an older page that is updated regularly is preferable to a newer page.

User-friendly layout: Attractive and user-friendly content will be promoted in search results. Google’s quality guidelines state:

“The highest quality page layout makes the main content immediately visible.”

Parked Domains (parked): Google voluntarily reduces the search visibility of parked domains relative to others in the results.

*Useful Content: Google is able (to some degree) to distinguish between “quality” and “useful content”. Content deemed useful is favoured when defining the ranking of search results.

Site Level Factors

*Content with unique value and perspectives: Google said it is happy to penalize sites that do not bring new or useful content. This is particularly true for thin affiliate sites (containing little original content but a lot of advertising).

*Contact Page and Contact Information: Google prefers sites with an “appropriate amount of contact information”. Ensure your contact information matches your information.

Domain confidence/TrustRank: The “TrustRank” is an extremely important ranking factor. A Google patent entitled “Ranking Search Results Based on Trust” appears to support that a trusted domain is being promoted in the results.

*Site architecture: A well-designed site architecture (such as a silo structure) helps Google organize your content by themes. It can also help Googlebot to access and index all pages of your website.

*Site Updates: Website updates count as a freshness factor across the entire site. This is especially true when new content is added to the site. However, Google denied using “publishing frequency” in its algorithm.

Presence of a Sitemap: A site map helps search engines index your pages more easily and in depth. This has the effect of improving the visibility of your pages. However, Google recently stated that HTML site plans are not essential for SEO.

*Site Availability Time: Many downtimes due to server issues or site maintenance may affect your ranking. They can even cause deindexation if the problem is not corrected.

Server Location: Server location can influence the ranking of your site in different geographic areas. In some cases, Google will offer results based on physical proximity. This factor is particularly important for geospecific research (example: pizzeria in Paris).

SSL certificate: Google has confirmed that using an HTTPS connection protocol is a rating signal. In fact, sites using an unsecured connection (HTTP) are penalized by search engines.

E-A-T: E-A-T stands for Expertise-Autority-Trust (experxtise, autorité, fiabilité). Google gives an advantage to sites with high levels of E-A-T. This is especially the case for sites that publish certain types of content (notably related to health and certain scientific fields).

Meta-Information duplicated on the site: Duplicating certain meta-Information on your site may affect the ranking of your pages on Google.

Breadcrumbs Navigation: Breadcrumbs is a user-friendly and popular site architecture style. It helps users and search engines know where they are on a site by showing how far they have come to reach it. Google Search uses a breadcrumb tag in the body of a web page to categorize page information in search results.

Mobile-optimized content: More than half of all web searches are done on mobile devices. Google therefore wants your site to be optimized for mobile users. Search engine now penalizes websites that are not mobile-friendly.

YouTube: YouTube videos receive preferential treatment in Google results. It may very well be related to the fact that Google owns it. In fact, experts have found that traffic has increased significantly after the Google Panda update.

Site Usability: A site that is difficult to navigate can indirectly affect rankings. This can reduce time spent on the site and the number of pages viewed, and increase the bounce rate. In other words, a lack of usability will negatively affect RankBrain’s ranking factors.

Using Google Analytics and Google Search Console: Installing these two Google programs on your site can improve the indexing of your pages. They can also directly influence rankings by giving Google more data to work with.

*User Feedback and Site Reputation: A site’s reputation on review sites like or plays an important role in Google’s algorithm.

Key Web Vitals (Core Web Vitals): Web Vitals have a significant impact on Google rankings.

Age of related domains: backlinks from old domains may be more influential than backlinks from new domains.

# links to root directory: The number of referent domains is one of the most important ranking factors in Google’s algorithm.

# of separate Class C IP address links: Links from separate IP addresses suggest a wider range of sites connecting you. Greater diversity promotes a better ranking.

*Number of linked pages: The total number of linked pages (even from the same domain) can have an impact on the ranking.

Backlink anchor text: This description of Google’s original algorithm indicates that the backlink anchors have an impact on search results:

“Anchors often provide more accurate descriptions of web pages than the pages themselves.”

Obviously, anchor text is less important than before. When it is too optimized, it can even work as a webspam signal. Despite this, used sparingly, an anchor text rich in keywords always sends a strong signal of relevance.

Image Alternative Text Tags: Alternative text acts as anchor text for images. In addition, it offers better accessibility for Internet users with visual disabilities.

Domain links . edu or . gov: Google claims to ignore many . edu links and not give them priority. However, several CEO experts believe that there is a special place in the algorithm for domains using the . gov and .edu.

Related page authority: The authority (PageRank) of the reference page (from which a link comes) has been an extremely important ranking factor since the early days of Google and it still is. A link from a page with more authority has a greater impact on the ranking.

Related Domain Authority: Like the page authority, the Reference Domain authority can also play a role in the value of a link.

*Competitor links: Links from other pages in the same SERP may be more useful for ranking a page for that particular keyword. This is because these pages are very relevant to Google.

*Expected Links: While speculative, some business leaders believe that Google will not fully trust your website until it contains a link to a set of expected authority sites in your industry.

*Links from "bad neighbourhoods" (Bad Neighborhoods): Not everything is black and white on the web. There are several grey areas where legitimate activities co-exist with other potentially problematic activities (such as file sharing sites). Google treats these grey areas as risk areas, or bad web neighborhoods. Links to these “bad neighborhoods” can affect your site’s ranking, by flagging your site as a suspect.

Guest Posts: Links to guest posts always add value to a page. however they are not as powerful as genuine editorial links.

Ad links: Google suggests that ad links should be set to nofollow or use the attribute rel=sponsored. However, Google is generally able to identify and filter the tracked links associated with ads.

Home page authority: Links to the home page of other pages may be of particular importance in assessing the weight of a site.

*Links Nofollow: These links represent one of the most controversial topics related to SEO. The official version of Google on the issue is:

“We don’t usually follow them.”

Between us, the choice of terms suggests that they probably do in some cases. The percentage of nofollow links can tell Google if your link profile is natural or not.

100. *Variety of link types: Having an abnormally high percentage of your links from a single source can sometimes be a sign of spam. Links from various sources is usually a sign of a natural link profile.

101. Labels rel=sponsored or rel=UGC: Links marked with a label rel=sponsored or rel=UGC are treated differently from links labeled followed or “_rel=nofollow_.

102. *Contextual links: The location and context of a link impact its value. Links embedded naturally in the content of a page are considered more powerful than links placed elsewhere on the page or on a blank page.

103. Excessive 301 redirects to page: Too many backlinks from 301 redirects can in some cases dilute the PageRank score.

104. Internal link anchor text: Internal link anchor text is also considered a signal of relevance. However, they have much less weight than the anchor text of links from external sites.

105. *Link title assignment: The link title (the text visible when you hover over a link with your cursor) is also used as a marginal signal of relevance.

106. *Referent Domain Geographic TLD: Links from sites using country-specific top level domain extensions (.fr, .ca, .us, .uk) can help your ranking in that country. Note that the effect only applies to one country for each geographic TLD.

107. *Location of links in content: Links at the beginning of a content usually carry a little more weight than links at the end. The difference, however, is really minor.

108. Link location on page: When a link appears on a page, it is important. In general, a link embedded in the content of a page is more powerful than a link in the footer or sidebar.

109. *Relevance of a related domain: A link from a site with a similar niche is much more powerful than a link from a site with no apparent link.

110. *Page-level relevance: A link to a page deemed relevant also gives a higher value.

111. *Keyword in title: Google values links from pages that also contain the main keyword of your page in the title. This is a demonstration of the concept “Experts linking to other experts” in Google’s eyes.

112. *Positive link velocity: A site with a positive link velocity (so the number of incoming links increases over time) is generally favoured in Google results. This is due to the fact that this growth shows that your site is increasingly popular.

113. *Negative link velocity: Conversely, a negative link velocity (so the number of incoming links decreases over time) can significantly affect the ranking. In this case, it is a signal of decreasing popularity.

114. *Links from “Hub” pages: Links from pages considered to be leading resources on a certain topic (such as NASA) are given special treatment.

115. *Link from authoritative sites: A link from a site considered an “authoritative site” is more interesting than a link from a small, relatively unknown site.

116. Link to Wikipedia sources: Although the links are nofollow, many SEO experts believe that a Wikipedia link gives you a bit of trust and authority in the eyes of search engines. Google denied, however, that the online encyclopedia was particularly important.

117. Co-Occurrences: Words that tend to appear around links to your content (on third-party sites) help Google understand the content on your page. The context associated with backlinks can have a positive or negative effect, depending on the results discovered by Google.

118. *The age of backlinks: According to a Google document called Information retrieval based on historical data, older incoming links have more ranking value than new backlinks.

119. *Links from real sites vs. Artificial: The proliferation of blog networks has led Google to adjust to give more weight to links from real sites than to fake blogs. They use various branding and user interaction signals to distinguish the two.

120. *Natural link profile: Google favours sites with a natural link profile over sites that clearly use questionable strategies to accumulate links.

121. *Link Exchange: Link exchange can be beneficial if used sparingly. On the [Google Link Schemes] page (, the search engine lists “excessive link exchanges” as being to be avoided.

122. User Generated Content Links (UGC): Google may identify the UGC-generated content of the content published by the site owner.

123. *301 redirect links: Some experts believe that 301 redirect links perform slightly less well than a direct link. This theory is far from unanimous.

124. Using Pages that support microformats are generally preferred over pages that are unable to. This may be due to deliberate intervention by Google or the fact that pages with microformatting have a higher click rate:

125. *Linked Site Reliability: The reliability of the site linked to your content determines how many TrustRank is sent to you.

126. *Number of outgoing links on page: A PageRank score is not infinite. Each outgoing link dilutes the page score. A link from one page with hundreds of external links transmits less PageRank than another from a page with a few external links.

127. *Forum links: Because of spam on a very large scale, Google significantly devalues links from forums relative to others.

128. *Number of words in link content: A link from a 2000-word article is usually more valuable than a link included in a 25-word excerpt.

129. *Link content quality: Links from poorly written or poor quality content are not as valuable as links from good quality content.

130. *Site links: Site links are “compressed” to count as one link.

User interaction

131. RankBrain: RankBrain is Google’s artificial intelligence algorithm. Many believe that its main purpose is to analyze how users interact with research results. The results would then be ranked accordingly.

132. *Organic click rate for a keyword: According to Google, pages that get more clicks can be favored for that particular keyword.

133. *Organic click rate for all keywords: The organic click rate of a site for all keywords for which it ranks is a signal of human user interaction. In other words, a general measure of quality” for organic results.

134. *Bounce rate: Not everyone in SEO agrees on the importance given to the bounce rate. It can be a way for Google to use its users as quality testers. After all, a page with a high bounce rate may not be the best result for this keyword. A study by SEMRush found a direct correlation between the rebound rate and Google rankings.

135. *Direct traffic: Google uses Google Chrome data to determine how many people visit a site, and how often. Sites with a lot of direct traffic are considered to be probably of better quality than sites with very little direct traffic. The SEMRush study cited above also found a significant correlation between direct traffic and Google rankings.

136. *Repeat traffic: Sites with repeat visitors can be promoted in Google’s ranking.

137. *Pogosticking: The Pogosticking is a particular type of bounce, related to the behavior of the user after the bounce itself. In this case, after leaving a site, the user clicks on other search results to try to find the answer to his request.

When multiple users leave a site to view the following results, the site may experience a significant drop in ranking.

138. Blocked sites: Google discontinued this feature in the Chrome browser. However, the Google Panda algorithm uses this feature as a quality signal. It is therefore possible that Google still uses a variant of it.

139. *Chrome Bookmarks: Google collects data from all users of the Chrome browser. Pages that get bookmarked or categorized as favorite in Chrome can be favored.

140. *Number of comments: Pages that attract many comments can be a sign of quality and user interaction. In fact, comments can have a significant impact on rankings.

141. *Downtime: Google pays particular attention to downtime. Google measures how long Google researchers spend on your page. The more time they spend, the better.

Google algorithm special rules

142. *The query deserves freshness: Google favors new pages for some searches, so as to present more recent results.

143. *Request deserves diversity: Google may add diversity to search results related to certain ambiguous keywords (which may have multiple meanings).

144. *User browsing history: You’ve probably already noticed: the websites you visit regularly are favored in your search results.

145. User Search History: The search string influences search results for future searches. For example, if you are looking for “reviews” and then “automotive”, Google will favour auto review sites in the results.

146. *Featured Excerpts: Google selects the content of featured excerpts based on a combination of content length, formatting, page authority and HTTP usage.

147. Geographic Targeting: Google prefers the closest sites. It therefore favours those with a local server IP address and a specific domain name extension in the same country as the user.

148. *Secure Search: Search results containing adult swear words or content will not appear for people whose Secure Search is enabled.

149. *High Quality Keywords (YMYL): Google has higher content quality standards for certain keywords. These are referred to as YMYL, or Your Money is Your Life (or Your Money or Your Life). For these keywords, your content must be of very high quality in order to rank well.

150. *Complaints to DMCA: Google disadvantages pages with legitimate DMCA complaints in search results.

151. *Domain Diversity: the update nicknamed Bigfoot would have added more domain diversity to each results page.

152. *Transactional searches: Google sometimes displays different results for keywords related to shopping. This is particularly the case with the schedule of certain theatres and cinemas.

153. *Local Searches: For local searches, Google often places local results ahead of other normal organic results.

154. Google Top Stories box: Some specific keywords activate the Top Stories feature, leading to the posting of articles on the subject.

155. *Preference for major brands: Since the Vinceupdate, Google has begun to favour leading brands for certain keywords.

156. *Shopping Results: Google sometimes displays Google Shopping results among organic results.

157. Image Results: Google images are sometimes displayed among normal organic search results.

158. "Easter Egg" results*: Google has a dozen results related to shells, or Easter Egg. For example, looking for Atari Breakout in Google images offers an amazing result. The images of the search results become playable.

159. Single Site Results for Brands: Brand or domain keywords usually refer to multiple results from the same site.

160. Payday Loans Update: This is a special algorithm designed to clean up queries associated with a lot of spam.

Brand Signals

161. Brand anchor text: A brand anchor text is a simple but effective brand signal for Google.

162. *Brand searches: People are looking specifically for certain brands. If people search for your brand in the search engine, it shows Google that your site is associated with a real brand (and that your brand is relevant).

163.** Search by brand + keyword**: Do people search for a particular keyword at the same time as your brand. If this is the case, Google can promote your ranking when people search only for that keyword on Google.

164. Site has a Facebook page with followers: Recognized brands tend to have Facebook pages with many followers.

165. *The site has a Twitter profile with followers*: Twitter profiles with many followers signal a popular brand.

166. Company Official Linkedin Page: Most real companies have official Linkedin pages.

167. Known author: Identifying the author of a content makes it more trustworthy in the eyes of search engines. In February 2013, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said:

“In the search results, information related to the verified online profiles will rank higher than the content without this check, so most users will naturally click on the higher (verified) results.”

168. *Legitimacy of social media accounts: A social media account with 10,000 followers and only two posts is interpreted very differently from another account, with the same number of followers but a lot of interaction. Google has filed a patent on a system to determine whether social media accounts are authentic or not.

169. *Google Top Stories Brand Mentions: Top brands are mentioned all the time on Google Top Stories and other engines. This is a strong signal of relevance.

170. *Unrelated Trade Marks: Trade Marks are listed without links. Google considers unrelated trademarks as a brand signal.

171. *Physical location: Real businesses often have offices. Google may use location data to determine if a site is linked to a major brand.

172. *Panda Penalty: Sites with low quality content, including content farms, are penalized in search results. This is due to a penalty applied by Google Panda.

173. *Links to “bad neighbourhoods”: Links to grey areas of the web (e.g., shady pharmacies or payday loan sites) can affect your visibility on search engines.

174. Redirects: Any form of sneaky redirection must be avoided at all costs. Google can not only penalize, but unindex a site for deceptive redirects.

175. *Popups and Distracting Advertisements: The official document Google Rater Guidelines indicates that distracting popups and advertisements are a poor signal of a site.

176. Interstitial popups: Google may penalize sites that display “full page” interstitial popups to mobile users.

177. Excessive site optimization: Google penalizes people who improperly optimize their site. This includes stuffing various elements such as keywords or title tags. It also includes excessive keyword decoration.

178. Gibberish Content: A Google patent allows it to identify content that is equivalent to gibberish. This is especially useful to filter the automatically generated content of their index.

179. Pages Door ofentry: Google wants to see the same page you are showing the user. If your page redirects people to another page, it is an entry page. Google does not like sites that use these pages and penalizes them.

180. Ads above the page fold: The layout algorithm penalizes sites with multiple ads and little content above the page fold.

181. Hide affiliate links: Going too far in trying to hide affiliate links can result in a Google penalty. Especially if you use camouflage.

182. *Fred: This is the nickname given to a series of Google algorithm updates starting in 2017. Fred is penalizing sites with low-value content that put revenue before their users.

183. Affiliate Sites: Google is not very supportive of advertising (competing) affiliations. Sites that monetize with rival affiliate programs are subject to additional monitoring. Of course, the partners of Google Ads and Adsense nw are not penalized.

184. Self-Generated Content: Google hates AI-generated content. If Google suspects your site is publishing computer-generated content, it may result in a penalty or even de-indexing.

185. _Excessive Modelling of PageRank: Going too far with PageRank modelling (for example, marking all outgoing nofollow links) can be a sign of system abuse.

186. IP address marked as spam: If your server’s IP address is marked as spam, it can negatively affect all websites on that server.

187. Meta tag stuffing: Keyword stuffing can also occur in meta tags. If Google considers that you are adding keywords to your title and meta description tags in an effort to cheat, your site may be sanctioned.

188. Pirated site: If your site is hacked and misused, it may disappear from search results and be de-indexed.

189. Unnatural influx of links: A sudden and unnatural influx of links is a sure sign of fraudulent artificial links.

190. *Google Penguin Penalty: Sites that have been sanctioned by Google Penguin are much less visible in the search. Penguin is now focusing on filtering some bad links instead of penalizing entire websites.

191. *Link profile with high percentage of low quality links: Many links from sources commonly used by SEO cheaters (such as blog and forum comments) may signal system abuse.

192. Links from websites with no apparent link: A high percentage of backlinks from sites with no link can increase the chances of a Google manual penalty.

193. Unnatural link warning: Google may send a message regarding the use of link; Google Search Console notice of detected unnatural links. This is usually accompanied by a decrease in ranking (but not 100% of the time).

194. Bad quality directory links: Backlinks to bad quality directories can lead to a Google penalty.

195. Widget links: Google disapproves of links generated automatically by a user integrating a widget into a site.

196. Links from the same C-class IP address: Getting an abnormal amount of links from sites on the same server IP address suggests to Google that your links potentially come from a blog network.

197. Poisoned Anchor Text (Poison): The fact that the poisoned anchor text points to your site may be a sign of spam or hacking. It can affect the ranking of your site, or even lead to its de-indexing.

198. Influx of unnatural links: A 2013 Google patent identifies whether an influx of links to a page is legitimate or not. Unnatural links may then be devalued.

199. *Links from Article Directories and Press Releases: Article directories and press releases have been grossly abused. Google is now wary of these two strategies and considers them “link scams” in many cases.

200. *Google manual measurements: There are several types of manual intervention that can occur. Most of them are related to the use of fraudulent links.

201. Link Sales: being caught selling link sites can lead to a site being sanctioned.

202. *Google Sandbox: New sites that receive a sudden influx of links can be placed in the Google Sandbox. This temporarily limits their visibility on the search engine.

203. *Google Dance: Google Dance can temporarily shake your rankings in results. According to a Google patent, this is a way to determine whether a site is trying to trick the algorithm or not.

204. *Opt-out tool: The opt-out tool allows manual removal of a manual or algorithmic penalty for sites whose SEO has been penalized.

205. *Request for Reconsideration: A successful request for reconsideration may waive a penalty.

206. *Fraudulent temporary links: Google identifies people who quickly create and delete spammed links. This measure makes it possible to block certain abuses of this type.


The list can seem endless, and it is impossible to focus on so many things at once. Fortunately, some factors are much more important than others.

In summary, Google’s top ranking factors in 2023 are:

Reference areas
Organic click-through rates
Domain Authority
Ease of use of mobile devices
Length of stay
Total number of backlinks
Quality of content
Referencing on page

Updated on: 08/05/2023

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