Googles 200 SEO Ranking Factors | The Key to SEO Success In 2021

Are you looking to improve your websites SEO? Are you wondering how search engines determine how they rank websites on their results page? Well its not secret how Google determines SEO rankings. There are over 200+ factors that formulate SEO rankings on Google. We have compiled a list that explains each of these 200+ factors in order to help you achieve SEO success in 2021

NOTE: Keep in mind that search engines don't provide exact breakdowns on how much each factor weighs in deciding your ranking so the information being provided here is based on experiments conducted over time to determine these factors

Domain Factors

1.Domain Age

Domain Age is not a very crucial factor. As a domain ages it gains a little bit more authority but the difference is not substantial so this is not something you should be extremly concerned about.

2. Keyword In Domain

In the past having a keyword in your domain was a big factor in helping your SEO however that has changed over time. It is not as influential as it was before but if you haven't made your domain yet it doesn't hurt to centre it around a relevant keyword.

3. Keyword Being The First Word In A Domain

Having a keyword as the the first word in your domain will give you a slight SEO advantage over sites that have do not have a keyword in their domain or have it as a middle or end word in the domain.

4. Domain Expiration Date

It might sound surprising at first but your domains expiration date plays a roll in your rankings. Most illegitimate domains are not often used more than a year therefore domains with longer time left until expiry seem more legitimate as they are being taken more seriously by their owner.

5. Keyword in Subdomain

Having keywords in your subdomain has been proven to help your rankings as it builds relevancy to your pages topic.

6. Exact Match Domains (EMDS)

Exact match domains simply are domains that match exactly with a key-phrase. For example for the keyphrase "todays weather" the exact match domain would be "". In the past having an exact match domain was an instant key to success. Recently Google has updated their weighting of EMD's meaning they are not as effective as they once where. Despite this having an exact match domain would still provide a SEO boost just not as strong as in the past.

7. Domain History

A domain that often has changed owners in the past might cause Google to ignore backlinks pointing to it from the past and penalty’s toward the domain from the previous owner might carry over. If purchasing an established domain it is a good idea to look at the domains history and make sure that it has been in the hands of one owner with no penalties during its existence

8. Public v.s Provide Domain Owner Information

Having the domain owners registration set to private is a bad indicator to Google. It raises suspensions such as what said owner has to hide if they are set to private. Unless its extremely crucial that nobody knows you own your domain we recommend you set the owner info as public.

9. Penalized Domain Owner

If Google lists the owner of a website as a spammer then any other sites owned by that individual might take a SEO hit as well. Keep this in mind both when buying a domain from an individual and as well when making actions online with your site.

10. Top Level Domain (TLD) By Country

Having a country associated domain will help you rank better in that country. For example the domain helps us rank better in Canada but it limits our SEO ranking on a global level. This is something to keep in mind when deciding where you are located vs where your target market is located.

On-Page SEO Factors

11. Keyword In Title

Make sure your title tag has keywords in it. For example if you are a kitchen sink company located in Toronto the title tag for your homepage might be "Kitchen Sinks Toronto"

12. Title Tags That Start With Keywords

Placing your keyword at the start of your title tag will give you an advantage in comparison to having it in the middle or end of your title tag.

13. Keyword in Description Tag

Although your description tag is not directly used as a SEO ranking factor it does affect your click through rate (c-t-r). For example if you are looking for dog food on google and the description for a link has "best dog food" in it you will be more likely to click it. The more clicks a link gets the more valuable it looks to google therefore increasing your ranking.

14. Keyword Appears in H1 Tag:

Your H1 tag is simply a secondary title tag better known as a heading. Having relevant keywords in your H1 tag will positively affect your ranking.

15. TF-IDF

TF-IDF is a measurement of how important a word is to a document. More simply put the more times a certain word appears in a piece of content the more likely the content is about that topic. Take this article for example. Take a look and you will notice SEO is one of the most frequently used words.

16. Length of Your Content

Studies show that google does prefer longer content when ranking pages. Keep in mind that bounce rate is very important as well. Therefore your content needs to both be long and quality in terms of its content. If it's not quality content people will just bounce off the page quickly.

17. Table of Contents

Adding a table of contents to your blog articles or pages will give search engines a better understanding of your content and will let you build links within the content.

18. Keyword Density

Keyword Density is one of the more tricky factors. Keyword Density is not how many times the word appears one the page but rather how many times it appears on the page vs the total # of words. Having to high of a density might hurt your quality and having to low of a density might make your content less relevant.

19. LSI Keywords

LSI Keywords are keywords that search engines understand as related keywords. For example if your topic is cars then some LSI's might be automobiles,engines etc. Having LSI's will help you establish relevancy to the topic

20. Content Covers Topic In Depth

As mentioned previously quality is a big determining factor for page rankings. Pages that go more in depth into their topic are usually higher quality and therefore have lower bounce rates making their ranking higher.

21. LSI Keywords in Title Tag

Having LSI keywords in your pages title tag helps Google determine relevancy so having them could be beneficial as long as the placement makes sense

22. Page Speed

Search engines analyze the html code of a website to estimate the loading time of a website. The faster the loading time the better for your overall ranking.

23. Loading Time In Chrome

Google uses data from chrome browser users around the world to get real loading times for sites.

24. AMP

AMP is a platform made by Google called Accelerated Mobile Pages. Essentially it allows mobile pages to load instantly. It is not a direct ranking factor but it is required to have be featured in top of the page Google News Features.

25. Entity Match

Entity is just Googles fancy way of referring to the topic. This factor just means that the content of the page should be relevant to the topic.

26. Google Hummingbird

Hummingbird is a Google SEO algorithm update released in 2013. It was designed to encourage content publishers to publish high quality natural writing rather than just shoving in as many keywords as possible.

27. Duplicate Content

Having the same information presented twice on the same site might have a negative effect on your rankings

28. Rel = Canonical

Adding this tag will let Google understand that a page has been duplicated and might save you from being penalized for having duplicates of the same page.

29. Image Optimization

Make sure the make your image file name, alt text, descriptions and captions SEO friendly.

30. Content Regency

Google prefers content that is more recent. Therefore having newer content will give you a slight SEO boost.

31. Scale of Content Updates

The scale of the update made also plays a factor on how much attention gives to your page based on newness. Google prefers to see entire sections added or replaced rather than just a few typos etc fixed.

32. Page Updates Over Time

Pages that have gotten update more frequently over longer periods of time will get a boost to their rankings

33. Keyword Prominence

You will want a keyword to be implemented in the first 100 words of a page. There is a direct correlation between this and first page rankings.

34. Keyword in H2, H3 Tags

Having keywords in your H2 and H3 tags could actually hurt your ranking as it makes Google think that the keyword is more of a subtopic instead of the main topic of the content therefore making it less relevant.

35. Quality of Your Outbound Links

Linking out to authority sites shows that your site is trustworthy increasing your rankings

36. Outbound Link Theme

The type of outbound links you use help google determine the key theme of your site. For example if you have a site for your company that sells suits and your outbound links link to tv show pages Google might think your site is about the tv show Suits.

37. Grammer and Spelling

Although there isn't a very high weight on it, grammar and spelling still count so make sure to proof read your content before publishing

38. Syndicated Content If you content have already been indexed once before and you make a duplicate page it either won't rank as high as the original page or wont rank at all

39. Mobile Optimization

Mobile Optimized sites will rank better

40. Mobile Usability

Google will rank easy to use on mobile sites higher

41. Hidden Content

Hidden content will not get ranked as high as visible content. Key content should be visible.

42. Helpful Add ons

Helpful add ons such as calculators, convertors or other web based application integrated into the page is a sign of a high quality webpage. This will help with rankings as long as the add ons are relevant.

43. Content Within Tabs

If content is integrated within tabs it may not get indexed by Google. Unindexed content cannot get ranked.

44. Number of Outbound Links

Having too many outbound links could hurt your ranking.

45. Multimedia

Having picture & video content is a sign of quality. Having relevant media can increase your page rankings.

46. # of Internal Links Directing Towards Page

The number of internal links directing users to a particular page helps google rank its importance in comparison to other pages on the site.

47. Broken Links

Broken links make Google think that the site is no longer being looked after. This will negatively affect rankings. Make sure to use broken link tools to periodically check for broken links.

48. Reading Levels

Reading levels are a ranking of how complex to content is to read. It is thought that basic or intermediate reading level content is more likely to rank higher as it appeals to the masses.

49. Quality of Internal links leading to a page

Internal links from pages with a higher pagerank will provide better pagerank to the linked page than using internal links from a low ranked or unranked page.

50. Affiliate Links

Having too many affiliate links will cause Google to pay more attention to other quality factors.

51. HTML Errors

Sites with lots of HTML mistakes are a sign of poor quality to Google. Sites without these errors might rank better.

52. Domain Authority

A page published on a domain with high authority will rank better than being published on a page with lower authority.

53. Pages Authority

The more authority a page has the higher it will rank

54. URL Length

URL's that are too long will negatively affect the URL ranking. Shorter URLS typically rank better.

55. URL Path

A page that is closer to the homepage on your site map will have higher authority than a site deeper in the path

56. Human Editors

It is widely believed that Google does have human editors that dictate some aspects of results rankings.

57. Page Category

The category the page appears in is a relevancy signal. If the page is relevant to the category it will be help its ranking.

58. Wordpress Tags

Wordpress tags are a factor that is only available to sites that operate on the Wordpress platform. The Wordpress tags are a relevancy signal so ensure that your tags are relevant to your content.

59. Keyword In URL

Having a keyword in the URL of the site will boost ranking

60. URL Strings

Google looks at the URL strings to decide what the page is about

61. References and Sources

It is believed that Google may be using citations and sources as a quality factor when ranking sites

62. Bullets and Numbered Points

Using bullet and numbered points makes your content much more user friendly for the reader and will help reduce bounce rates effectively helping your overall ranking

63. Location of Page on Sitemap

The location of the page on the sitemap affects the page ranking

64. Overload of Outbound Links

Having an surplus of outbound links will dilute the main content and could affect your overall ranking

65. High Ranking Keyword As Sign of Quality

Google sees sites with multiple high rankings for various keywords as high quality

66. Page Age

An old page that is regularly updated will rank better than a new page because of its built trust

67. User Friendly

User friendly layouts make the main content of the page easily visible and increase your rankings.

68. Parked Domains

Domains that are parked rank much lower than active domains

69. Useful Content V.S Quality Content

Google tells apart useful content and quality content


70. Content Provides Value and Unique Insights

Google has stated that they’re happy to penalize sites that don’t bring anything new or useful to the table, especially thin affiliate sites.

71. Contact Us Page

The aforementioned Google Quality Document states that they prefer sites with an “appropriate amount of contact information”. Make sure that your contact information matches your whois info.

72. Domain Trust/TrustRank

Many SEOs believe that “TrustRank” is a massively important ranking factor. And a Google Patent titled “Search result ranking based on trust”, seems to back this up.

73. Site Architecture

A well put-together site architecture (for example, a silo structure) helps Google thematically organize your content. It can also helps Googlebot access and index all of your site’s pages.

74. Site Updates

Many SEOs believe that website updates — and especially when new content is added to the site — works a site-wide freshness factor. Although Google has recently denied that they use “publishing frequency” in their algorithm.

75. Presence of Sitemap

A sitemap helps search engines index your pages easier and more thoroughly, improving visibility. However, Google recently stated that HTML sitemaps aren’t “useful” for SEO.

76. Site Uptime

Lots of downtime from site maintenance or server issues may hurt your rankings (and can even result in deindexing if not corrected).

77. Server Location

Server location influences where your site ranks in different geographical regions. Especially important for geo-specific searches.

78. SSL Certificate

Google has confirmed that use HTTPS as a ranking signal.

79. Terms of Service and Privacy Pages

These two pages help tell Google that a site is a trustworthy member of the internet. They may also help improve your site’s E-A-T.

80. Duplicate Meta Information On-Site

Duplicate meta information across your site may bring down all of your page’s visibility.

81. Breadcrumb Navigation

This is a style of user-friendly site-architecture that helps users (and search engines) know where they are on a site. Google states that: “Google Search uses breadcrumb markup in the body of a web page to categorize the information from the page in search results.”

82. Mobile Optimized

With more than half of all searches done from mobile devices, Google wants to see that your site is optimized for mobile users. In fact, Google now penalizes websites that aren’t mobile friendly

83. YouTube

There’s no doubt that YouTube videos are given preferential treatment in the SERPs (probably because Google owns it ):

84. Site Usability

A site that’s difficult to use or to navigate can hurt rankings indirectly by reducing time on site, pages viewed and bounce rate (in other words, RankBrain ranking factors).

85. Use of Google Analytics and Google Search Console

Some think that having these two programs installed on your site can improve your page’s indexing. They may also directly influence rankings by giving Google more data to work with (ie. more accurate bounce rate, whether or not you get referral traffic from your backlinks etc.). That said, Google has denied this as a myth.

86. User reviews/Site reputation:

A site’s reputation on sites like likely play an important role in Google’s algorithm. Google even posted a rarely candid outline of how they use online reviews after one site was caught ripping off customers in an effort to get press and links.

Backlink Factors

87. Linking Domain Age

Backlinks from aged domains may be more powerful than new domains.

88. # of Linking Root Domains

The number of referring domains is one of the most important ranking factors in Google’s algorithm, as you can see from this industry study of 1 million Google Search results.

89. # of Links from Separate C-Class IPs

Links from separate class-c IP addresses suggest a wider breadth of sites linking to you, which can help with rankings.

90. # of Linking Pages

The total number of linking pages — even from the same domain — has an impact on rankings.

91. Backlink Anchor Text

As noted in this description of Google’s original algorithm:

Obviously, anchor text is less important than before (and, when over-optimized, work as a webspam signal). But keyword-rich anchor text still sends a strong relevancy signal in small doses.

92. Alt Tag (for Image Links)

Alt text acts as anchor text for images.

93. Links from .edu or .gov Domains

Matt Cutts has stated that TLD doesn’t factor into a site’s importance. And Google has said they “ignore” lots of Edu links. However, that doesn’t stop SEOs from thinking that there’s a special place in the algorithm for .gov and .edu TLDs.

94. Authority of Linking Page

The authority (PageRank) of the referring page has been an extremely important ranking factor since Google’s early days and still is.

95. Authority of Linking Domain

The referring domain’s authority may play an independent role in a link’s value.

96. Links From Competitors

Links from other pages ranking in the same SERP may be more valuable to a page’s ranking for that particular keyword.

97. Links from “Expected” Websites

Although speculative, some SEOs believe that Google won’t fully trust your website until you get linked to from a set of “expected” sites in your industry.

98. Links from Bad Neighborhoods

Links from so-called “bad neighborhoods” may hurt your site.

99. Guest Posts

Although links from guest posts still pass value, they likely aren’t as powerful as true editorial links (plus, “large-scale” guest posting can get your site into trouble).

100. Links From Ads

According to Google, links from ads should be nofollowed. However, it’s likely that Google is able to identify and filter out followed links from ads.

101. Homepage Authority

Links to a referring page’s homepage may play special importance in evaluating a site’s — and therefore a link’s — weight.

102. Nofollow Links

This is one of the most controversial topics in SEO. Google’s official word on the matter is

103. Diversity of Link Types

Having an unnaturally large percentage of your links coming from a single source (ie. forum profiles, blog comments) may be a sign of webspam. On the other hand, links from diverse sources is a sign of a natural link profile.

104. “Sponsored” or “UGC” Tags

Links tagged as “rel=sponsored” or “rel=UGC” are treated differently than normal “followed” or rel=nofollow links.

105. Contextual Links

Links embedded inside a page’s content are considered more powerful than links on an empty page or found elsewhere on the page.

106. Excessive 301 Redirects to Page

Backlinks coming from 301 redirects dilute some PageRank.

107. Internal Link Anchor Text

Internal link anchor text is another relevancy signal. That said, internal links likely have much less weight than anchor text coming from external sites.

108. Link Title Attribution

The link title (the text that appears when you hover over a link) may also be used as a weak relevancy signal.

109. Country TLD of Referring Domain

Getting links from country-specific top level domain extensions (.de, .cn, may help you rank better in that country.

110. Link Location In Content

Links in the beginning of a piece of content may carry slightly more weight than links placed at the end of the content.

111. Link Location on Page

Where a link appears on a page is important. Generally, a link embedded in a page’s content is more powerful than a link in the footer or sidebar area.

112. Linking Domain Relevancy

A link from a site in a similar niche is significantly more powerful than a link from a completely unrelated site.

113. Page-Level Relevancy

A link from a relevant page also passes more value.

114. Keyword in Title

Google gives extra love to links from pages that contain your page’s keyword in the title (“Experts linking to experts”.)

115. Positive Link Velocity

A site with positive link velocity usually gets a SERP boost as it shows your site is increasing in popularity.

116. Negative Link Velocity

On the flip side, a negative link velocity can significantly reduce rankings as it’s a signal of decreasing popularity.

117. Links from “Hub” Pages

The Hilltop Algorithm suggests that getting links from pages that are considered top resources (or hubs) on a certain topic are given special treatment.

118. Link from Authority Sites

A link from a site considered an “authority site” likely pass more juice than a link from a small, relatively unknown site.

119. Linked to as Wikipedia Source

Although the links are nofollow, many think that getting a link from Wikipedia gives you a little added trust and authority in the eyes of search engines.

120. Co-Occurrences

The words that tend to appear around your backlinks helps tell Google what that page is about.

121. Backlink Age

According to a Google patent, older links have more ranking power than newly minted backlinks.

122. Links from Real Sites vs. “Splogs”

Due to the proliferation of blog networks, Google probably gives more weight to links coming from “real sites” than from fake blogs. They likely use brand and user-interaction signals to distinguish between the two.

123. Natural Link Profile

A site with a “natural” link profile is going to rank highly and be more durable to updates than one that has obviously used black hat strategies to build links.

124. Reciprocal Links

Google’s Link Schemes page lists “Excessive link exchanging” as a link scheme to avoid.

125. User Generated Content Links

Google can identify UGC vs. content published by the actual site owner. For example, they know that a link from the official blog is very different than a link from

126. Links from 301

Links from 301 redirects may lose a little bit of juice compared to a direct link. However, Matt Cutts says that a 301s are similar to direct links

127. Usage

Pages that support microformats may rank above pages without it. This may be a direct boost or the fact that pages with microformatting have a higher SERP CTR:

128. TrustRank of Linking Site

The trustworthiness of the site linking to you determines how much “TrustRank” gets passed on to you.

129. Number of Outbound Links on Page

PageRank is finite. A link on a page with hundreds of external links passes less PageRank than a page with a handful of outbound links.

130. Forum Links

Because of industrial-level spamming, Google may significantly devalue links from forums.

131. Word Count of Linking Content

A link from a 1000-word post is usually more valuable than a link inside of a 25-word snippet.

132. Quality of Linking Content

Links from poorly written or spun content don’t pass as much value as links from well-written, content.

133. Sitewide Links

Sitewide links are “compressed” to count as a single link.

User Interaction

134. RankBrain

RankBrain is Google’s AI algorithm. Many believe that its main purpose is to measure how users interact with the search results (and rank the results accordingly).

135. Organic Click Through Rate for a Keyword

According to Google, pages that get clicked more in CTR may get a SERP boost for that particular keyword.

136. Organic CTR for All Keywords

A site’s organic CTR for all keywords it ranks for may be a human-based, user interaction signal (in other words, a “Quality Score” for the organic results).

137. Bounce Rate

Not everyone in SEO agrees bounce rate matters, but it may be a way of Google to use their users as quality testers (after all, pages with a high bounce rate probably aren’t a great result for that keyword). Also, a recent study by SEMRush found a correlation between bounce rate and Google rankings.

138. Direct Traffic

It’s confirmed that Google uses data from Google Chrome to determine how many people visit site (and how often). Sites with lots of direct traffic are likely higher quality sites vs. sites that get very little direct traffic. In fact, the SEMRush study I just cited found a significant correlation between direct traffic and Google rankings.

139. Repeat Traffic

Sites with repeat visitors may get a Google ranking boost.

140. Pogosticking

“Pogosticking” is a special type of bounce. In this case, the user clicks on other search results in an attempt to find the answer to their query.

141. Blocked Sites

Google has discontinued this feature in Chrome. However, Panda used this feature as a quality signal. So Google may still use a variation of it.

142. Chrome Bookmarks

We know that Google collects Chrome browser usage data. Pages that get bookmarked in Chrome might get a boost.

143. Number of Comments

Pages with lots of comments may be a signal of user-interaction and quality. In fact, one Googler said comments can help “a lot” with rankings.

144. Dwell Time

Google pays very close attention to “dwell time“: how long people spend on your page when coming from a Google search. This is also sometimes referred to as “long clicks vs short clicks”. In short: Google measures how long Google searchers spend on your page. The longer time spent, the better.

Special Google Algorithms

145. Query Deserves Freshness

Google gives newer pages a boost for certain searches.

146. Query Deserves Diversity

Google may add diversity to a SERP for ambiguous keywords, such as “Ted”, “WWF” or “ruby”.

147. User Browsing History

You’ve probably noticed this yourself: websites that you visit frequently get a SERP boost for your searches.

148. User Search History

Search chain influence search results for later searches. For example, if you search for “reviews” then search for “toasters”, Google is more likely to rank toaster review sites higher in the SERPs.

149. Featured Snippets

According to an SEMRush study, Google chooses Featured Snippets content based on a combination of content length, formatting, page authority and HTTPs usage.

150. Geo Targeting

Google gives preference to sites with a local server IP and country-specific domain name extension.

151. Safe Search

Search results with curse words or adult content won’t appear for people with Safe Search turned on.

152. Google+ Circles

Even though Google+ is soon to be dead, Google still shows higher results for authors and sites that you’ve added to your Google Plus Circles.

153. “YMYL” Keywords

Google has higher content quality standards for “Your Money or Your Life” keywords.

154. DMCA Complaints

Google “downranks” pages with legitimate DMCA complaints.

155. Domain Diversity

The so-called “Bigfoot Update” supposedly added more domains to each SERP page.

156. Transactional Searches

Google sometimes displays different results for shopping-related keywords, like flight searches.

157. Local Searches

For local searches, Google often places local results above the “normal” organic SERPs.

159. Big Brand Preference

After the Vince Update, Google began giving big brands a boost for certain keywords.

160. Shopping Results

Google sometimes displays Google Shopping results in organic SERPs:

161. Image Results

Google images sometimes appear in the normal, organic search results.

162. Easter Egg Results: Google has a dozen or so Easter Egg results. For example, when you search for “Atari Breakout” in Google image search, the search results turn into a playable game (!).

163. Single Site Results for Brands: Domain or brand-oriented keywords bring up several results from the same site.

164. Payday Loans Update: This is a special algorithm designed to clean up “very spammy queries“.

Brand Signals

165. Brand Name Anchor Text

Branded anchor text is a simple — but strong — brand signal.

166. Branded Searches

People search for brands. If people search for your brand in Google, this shows Google that your site is a real brand.

167. Brand + Keyword Searches

Do people search for a specific keyword along with your brand (for example: “Backlinko Google ranking factors” or “Backlinko SEO”)? If so, Google may give you a rankings boost when people search for the non-branded version of that keyword in Google.

168. Site Has Facebook Page and Likes

Brands tend to have Facebook pages with lots of likes.

169. Site has Twitter Profile with Followers

Twitter profiles with a lot of followers signals a popular brand.

170. Official Linkedin Company Page

Most real businesses have company Linkedin pages.

171. Known Authorship

In February 2013, Google CEO Eric Schmidt famously claimed: “Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification, which will result in most users naturally clicking on the top (verified) results.”

172. Legitimacy of Social Media Accounts

A social media account with 10,000 followers and 2 posts is probably interpreted a lot differently than another 10,000-follower strong account with lots of interaction. In fact, Google filed a patent for determining whether or not social media accounts were real or fake.

173. Brand Mentions on Top Stories

Really big brands get mentioned on Top Stories sites all the time. In fact, some brands even have a feed of news from their own website, on the first page

174. Unlinked Brand Mentions

Brands get mentioned without getting linked to. Google likely looks at non-hyperlinked brand mentions as a brand signal.

175. Brick and Mortar Location: Real businesses have offices. It’s possible that Google fishes for location-data to determine whether or not a site is a big brand.

On Site Webspam Penalties

176. Panda Penalty

Sites with low-quality content (particularly content farms) are less visible in search after getting hit by a Panda penalty.

177. Links to Bad Neighborhoods: Linking out to “bad neighborhoods” — like spammy pharmacy or payday loan sites — may hurt your search visibility.

178. Redirects

Sneaky redirects is a big no-no. If caught, it can get a site not just penalized, but de-indexed.

179. Popups or “Distracting Ads”

The official Google Rater Guidelines Document says that popups and distracting ads is a sign of a low-quality site.

180. Interstitial Popups

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

181. Site Over-Optimization

Yes, Google does penalize people for over-optimizing their site. This includes: keyword stuffing, header tag stuffing, excessive keyword decoration.

182. Gibberish Content

A Google Patent outlines how Google can identify “gibberish” content, which is helpful for filtering out spun or auto-generated content from their index.

183. Doorway Pages

Google wants the page you show to Google to be the page that user ultimately see. If your page redirects people to another page, that’s a “Doorway Page”. Needless to say, Google doesn’t like sites that use Doorway Pages.

184. Ads Above the Fold

The “Page Layout Algorithm” penalizes sites with lots of ads (and not much content) above the fold.

185. Hiding Affiliate Links

Going too far when trying to hide affiliate links (especially with cloaking) can bring on a penalty.

186. Fred

A nickname given to a series of Google updates starting in 2017. According to Search Engine Land, Fred “targets low-value content sites that put revenue above helping their users.”

187. Affiliate Sites

It’s no secret that Google isn’t the biggest fan of affiliates. And many think that sites that monetize with affiliate programs are put under extra scrutiny.

188. Autogenerated Content

Google understandably hates autogenerated content. If they suspect that your site’s pumping out computer-generated content, it could result in a penalty or de-indexing.

189. Excess PageRank Sculpting

Going too far with PageRank sculpting — by nofollowing all outbound links — may be a sign of gaming the system.

190. IP Address Flagged as Spam

If your server’s IP address is flagged for spam, it may affect all sites on that server.

191. Meta Tag Spamming

Keyword stuffing can also happen in meta tags. If Google thinks you’re adding keywords to your title and description tags in an effort to game the algo, they may hit your site with a penalty.

Offsite Webspam Factors

192. Hacked Site

If your site gets hacked it can get dropped from the search results.

193. Unnatural Influx of Links

A sudden (and unnatural) influx of links is a sure-fire sign of phony links.

194. Penguin Penalty

Sites that were hit by Google Penguin are significantly less visible in search. Although, apparently, Penguin now focuses more on filtering out bad links vs. penalizing entire websites.

195. Link Profile with High % of Low Quality Links

Lots of links from sources commonly used by black hat SEOs (like blog comments and forum profiles) may be a sign of gaming the system.

196. Links From Unrelated Websites

A high-percentage of backlinks from topically-unrelated sites can increase the odds of a manual penalty.

197. Unnatural Links Warning

Google has sent out thousands of “Google Search Console notice of detected unnatural links” messages. This usually precedes a ranking drop, although not 100% of the time.

198. Low-Quality Directory Links

According to Google, backlinks from low-quality directories can lead to a penalty.

199. Widget Links

Google frowns on links that are automatically generated when user embeds a “widget” on their site.

200. Links from the Same Class C IP

Getting an unnatural amount of links from sites on the same server IP may help Google determine that your links are coming from a blog network.

201. “Poison” Anchor Text

Having “poison” anchor text (especially pharmacy keywords) pointed to your site may be a sign of spam or a hacked site. Either way, it can hurt your site’s ranking.

202. Unnatural Link Spike

A 2013 Google Patent describes how Google can identify whether or not an influx of links to a page is legitimate. Those unnatural links may become devalued.

203. Links From Articles and Press Releases

Articles directories and press releases has been abused to the point that Google now considers these two link building strategies a “link scheme” in many cases.

204. Manual Actions

There are several types of these, but most are related to black hat link building.

205. Selling Links

Getting caught selling links can hurt your search visibility.

206. Google Sandbox

New sites that get a sudden influx of links are sometimes put in the Google Sandbox, which temporarily limits search visibility.

207. Google Dance

The Google Dance can temporarily shake up rankings. According to a Google Patent, this may be a way for them to determine whether or not a site is trying to game the algorithm.

208. Disavow Tool

Use of the Disavow Tool may remove a manual or algorithmic penalty for sites that were the victims of negative SEO.

209. Reconsideration Request

A successful reconsideration request can lift a penalty.

210. Temporary Link Schemes

Google has caught onto people that create — and quickly remove — spammy links. Also know as a temporary link scheme.

Now that you know what your SEO rankings are derived from you will be better capable of working your way up to rankings. SEO is not an overnight process and takes countless many months and countless hours to optimize. This paired with the fact that ranking factors are always being changed/updated makes it challenging to run your day to day business requirements and work on SEO at the same time. At our team of experts are always updated on the latest SEO tactics and work to ensure success for your business. Contact us today to see how we can help you grow.



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