5 Factors Google Favors When Ranking Content

I don’t know about you, but in the days before learning about SEO (search engine optimization), I didn’t put much thought into how the results that came up actually got there.

Every time I wanted to know something, my numero uno solution was “to like just Google it.”

Little did I know, the pages that Google returned we’re what it considered to be the best based on a number of different criteria that’s apart of it’s ever-changing algorithm.

What’s crazy is that there are over 200 different factors Google looks at to decide which content deserves to rule the top spots.

This can be difficult for anyone to understand, especially for beginners.

However, the basis of what you wanna know can be found in the infograph below.

How Google Determines Where to Rank Your Website

As you can see, these factors are divided among 5 different levels:

  1. Domain
  2. Page Level
  3. Site Level
  4. Backlink
  5. Social Signals

They are the most important things you want to keep your eye on if you want to rank well in the search engines.

But why?

Let me explain:

1. Domain

If you aren’t sure what a domain is, it’s the name of your blog or website.

Google looks at these in terms of authority, so sites with more authority will usually have more trust.

It’s also a way to tell Google what your website is actually about.

From the infograph, we learned that domains with keywords are given an advantage over those that don’t

2. Page Level

This pertains to the optimization you do to your content on-page, which can also be know as on-page optimization.

In plain English, it basically means dressing your content around certain keywords or phrases so Google can better identify what it’s about.

These days, it’s all about user experience though, so you have to do this as casually as possible.

Back in 2012, it was cool to stuff your articles with more keywords than you would a turkey at Thanksgiving, but now Google is aware.

It’s best to spread the keyword out as much as possible and use synonyms as well, so everything looks a lot more natural.

3. Site Level

Since we optimize individual pages on the site, we also have to remember to optimize the site as a whole.

On the home page, you want a to make add a space for people to contact you and get to know more about who you are.

Show them where to connect with you on social media and tell them a little more about your story.

People like to see honest, genuine people so having a section about yourself is the perfect little party favor to invite them into your world.

4. Backlinks

Backlinks are just what they sound like: links placed on other sites that point back to your site.

It’s easier to remember when you think of them as votes.

But it’s not about how many votes you have, it’s about the quality.

Remember how we talked earlier about Google giving more trust to site’s with higher authority? The quality of backlinks a site can can contribute to this as well.

Think about it. Anybody go out an get regular backlinks from sites like Stumbleupon, Pinterest, YouTube, Facebook, and well you get the point.

So what set these sites apart from each other? Right.

Sites with links that are harder to get will be valued more to Google because of the fact these sites don’t give links out to just anybody.

I hope that makes sense.

Oh and as you can see from the pictures, sites with more age will have more trust on their side, which is a perfect example for what type of site you would use to get a quality link.

Another example of this would be sites with a high PR, or pagerank. This is how Google rates how much authority a site has on a scale of 0-10.

So sites like Facebook and Yahoo have a PR of around 9, because of the fact that they have Google’s trust.

If you want to be able to tell the pagerank of a site I suggest visiting PRChecker  or downloading SEOquake, which is a toolbar you can install to your browser.

I don’t like to always rely on just what one site says, so I usually check at least two other sites I find in the top results during my search.

The other two I usually turn to are: Small SEO Tools and SEO Centro. 🙂

And to be honest, they’re the easily route to take if you plan on going down the road of checking sites over and over again.

Once installed, it should look like this:


Obviously my site has no PR (yet) but you can see what I’m talking about.

SEOquake is available for Mozilla Firefox and Chrome, but unfortunately not through Internet Explorer.

5. Social Signals

The web is like a popularity contest, so the more of a social following the more popular you will be.

Feel like you’re in high school again? 😉

That being said, the more social shares a site has the more Google considers a site to be user friendly and informative.

And we know how Google likes it some user friendly content, right?

Now I know I said earlier that anybody can get a link from sites like Facebook so it’s not as powerful but when it comes to your site’s social side they are.

Plus, why would Google NOT want to see links from one of the most visited and interacted site on the planet?

Think about it.

Not too much though, you should be thinking about these Google ranking factors more. 😉

If you have any questions, concerns, or comments on the subject I would love to hear from you so feel free to shoot me a message or write them below.

If you made it to this point and liked what you just saw, please give this post a little love with a like or share.

Other than that my friend, it’s been great discussing the Big G with you and I hope you have a wonderful rest of your day.


Torri Thompson

Image Courtesy of: Quick Sprout

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