Google Ranking Factors

Google has repeatedly said in the past that they have over 200 ranking factors. They are classified as:

Important
These are factors that can significantly improve your rankings. Be careful though, overusing them can sometimes hurt.
Confirmed
These are factors that can improve your rankings. Be careful though, overusing them can sometimes hurt.
Maybe
These factors may improve or correlate to higher rankings but have not been confirmed by Google. Remember, though; correlation does not equal causality.
Myth
The SEO community is full of rumors. These are topics that are frequently talked about but do not directly affect your rankings.

SEO Ranking Factor Types

The SEO ranking factors are split further into the following categories:

Page-level Factors

ABBR Tag

A Patent registered in 2014 indicated that Google considers larger fonts, boldening, or italicized text (formatted words) when assessing how relevant the page is to the users’ search query.

Google’s starter guide from 2010 confirms this.

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)

Google’s John Mueller confirmed in 2017 that AMP is not a ranking factor. There are two other considerations:

  • AMP can give you more visibility in the SERPs with extra snippets or image previews, at least until May 2021, when this will change.

  • AMP can also help achieve the necessary “Core Web Vitals” measurements, which is to become part of the new Page Experience ranking factor.

Bold, Italics, Larger fonts

A Patent registered in 2014 indicated that Google considers larger fonts, boldening, or italicized text (formatted words) when assessing how relevant the page is to the users’ search query.

Google’s starter guide from 2010 confirms this.

Keyword Density

Using your keyword in the text’s body multiple times to increase your keyword density is important to indicate to Google the subject matter of your article. However, you must not overuse the same keyword; otherwise, Google may think you are spamming it to manipulate the search results. Too many keywords and your web page may suffer a penalty.

Experts suggest that Google looks for a natural keyword density rather than a fixed keyword density. Each keyword might have a different optimal density. This is referred to as the TF-IDF or Term Frequency-Inverse Document Frequency.

Google says to ignore Keyword Density and write naturally. This is probably the best approach.

Keywords at the beginning of the URL

Google has said on several occasions that adding a keyword to the structure of the URL IS a Google ranking factor, albeit a tiny one. In further comments, they confirm that the position of the keyword comes secondary to that, but nevertheless still makes a difference.

As usual, Google comments that it is better to focus on new content rather than what keywords are in the URL.

Keywords in the title tag

Google has confirmed that using keywords in the title tag is an important ranking factor. There was a little bit of confusion when John Mueller said it was not worth restructuring your website to add them, but later clarified that they were important.

Google has also commented that stuffing your keyword in the Title Tag can give a bad user experience. It is possible that Google notices when this happens, so try to keep your title natural.

Keywords in the URL

Google has said on several occasions that adding a keyword to the structure of the URL IS a Google ranking factor, albeit a very small one.

Their recommendation is to make URLs for users, and not to restructure a website just to implement it.