Google Ranking Factors Overview
Google ranking algorithm
This is a short overview of the number of factors Google takes into consideration in their ranking algorithm. So, this is what actually is in this ranking algorithm.
Domain level link features aka "Domain authority" is the first ranking factor. You can think of the domain authority as all the links from other websites pointing to all pages of your website. As well as appreciating the content on your website (keywords) Google also cares about the relationships of other website with you site through linking to your pages. There are a lot of features in the Google algorithm on domain authority e.g. number of links, quality of the websites linking to your site, etc.
The second factor is page level link feature or "Page authority". As opposed to domain authority which look at all links to all pages of your website, page level authority index is only looking at the page level.
Next on the list is page level keyword and content features aka "Keyword targeting". This is all about your focus keywords. If your keyword is "mobile phone repair" you would probably make sure your website has the exact keyword phase you're targeting. Because of Google topic modeling algorithm it is advised to also include topical variations of your chosen keyword. Topical variations are the connected or related keywords, in our case with the mobile phone repair these can be "screen", "battery" or phone models or manufacturer names.
Page level, keyword agnostic features are another ranking factors. These include page loading speed, mobile friendliness, content uniqueness, size/length etc. If many people search for a specific keyword on mobile and you want to be found on search results you have to make sure your webpage is mobile friendly. Likewise if people are searching for an in-depth topic and looking for a latest specific study on the web and you want your website to feature in the search results your website needs to have a very specific page with a unique and relevant content.
Engagement, data query and traffic. This factor have been making a breakthrough, several years ago no one even considered it as one of the ranking factors. When I talk about engagement, traffic and data I mean things like pogo-sticking and query success.
Pogo-sticking is best described using an example. Let's say you search a keyword on Google. After submitting your query Google displays a list of results. You then click on the first result in this list and go to the webpage but then immediately come back to the search list and click on the second result. What it indicated to Google is that the first result is not the best one because you did not spend time exploring it but instead came back and selected a different one. You need to make sure this does not happen with your website because this is a metric of a successful query or good experience which Google is paying close attention to.
Domain level, brand features. Another factor that Google likes to see. This includes direct visits, branded search, brand affinity. What is means is that Google looks at your domain and says "Okay, this domain is really connected to a particular topic... let's rank them higher to this topic queries". For instance, you might have seen many hotel reviews from TripAdvisor. So if you search for a holiday or hotel review you will often stumble upon and result from TripAdvisor. And after interacting with the TripAdvisor webpages, you add their brand name to your next hotel review search query. And what it tell Google is "maybe when people are performing the search without the brand attached we should be ranking this brand higher in our results".
Similarity to the domain level, brand features, domain level, topic and keyword associations is a connection of your domain name with a specific topic or keyword. For example moz.com, an online marketing and SEO software provider, has a positive association with the keyword "SEO". If you add to your queries this keyword moz.com webpages are most likely to be in the search results. This is because Google has a topic association with moz.com.
Moving on to the next factor, which is domain level, keyword agnostic features. Like the page level agnostic feature this factor is focusing on the domain level. Things like TLD extension, spam level, trust signals, traffic data are all elements of the domain agnostic features. TLD is top level domain, mywebsite.com, website.org and so on. Google would check things like is this domain flagged up a spam, is it registered in a way other trusted domains are, does it have contact information, etc.
Social engagement feature. This is the last but not the least important ranking factor. It is argued that this factor is not very important, though more and more recommendations from leading SEO analytics providers highlight its indirect role in the ranking algorithm. This factor includes tweets, Facebook, Google+ likes and shares.
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