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Here are the top 18 google ranking factors from the list of thousands of gray rules that Google uses. Share your insights and mention any factors in the comments below that you think are important.

1)Domain Authority

Even though there is no clear answer on how much domain age affects the ranking of your website and how old should a domain be to rank well in SERP’s, studies show that domain age still matters. Google considers domain age as a signal in determining the quality of a site.

Based on our observations , we have noticed that older domains outranked new domains while using the same content and on page factors thus showing the importance of domain age. Similar to one considering a mechanic who is 20 years more experienced than a fresher in the field.

2)Backlinks:

Backlinks are strong ranking signals which Google still uses. The domain authority and relevance of your backlinks matters. Contextual links which follow with your keywords as the anchor text can make a significant impact on the site.

3)Page Loading Speed:

In 2010, Google has officially confirmed page speed as an important ranking factor. It is the amount of time that a user needs to wait for a page to completely load and you can use tools from Google as the Google Lighthouse for insights on how to improve your page speed.

4)Mobile-First Indexing

Mobile usability was a strong ranking signal and after the launch of mobile first indexing update, it is now one of the top ranking factors that Google considers.

5)Bounce Rate:

Bounce rate is determined by the number of users who visit your website and leave without any activity in a single session. An increased bounce rate may be a signal that your page doesn’t hold useful information.

6)SSL Certificate

SSL certified websites with https will have a slight priority in SERPs. Google has officially confirmed this on August 06, 2014. You should go for an SSL certificate if your site doesn’t have one and proper care should be taken during the HTTP to HTTPS migration.

7)Having a Country Code Top Level Domain

Google uses the ccTLD extension of your domain to find where your website is targeted, such as in which country or territory. The country code top-level domain is a strong indication of the geographical area that  your website targets especially while targeting international SEO. For example, in the http://www.example.co.uk the ccTLD extension UK indicates that the website is targeted in the geographical area of the UK.

8)Meta Tags:

The Meta details in the HTML tag represent the content on your page to the search engines and users. Even though optimizing meta tags is not that important now, it still has some role to play in ranking your website. As a good practice, you should use unique and relevant meta tags on every page, which can also influence the CTR of your website.

9)The H1 tag:

H1 tags are a strong indication of what nature of content on your page. Be sure that the h1 tag showcases the point of your page.

Eg: <h1>101 Google Ranking Factors</h1>

As a best practice always use only one h1 tag and avoid using hidden content within the h1 tag.

10)Content Length

Recent studies show that the length of content on your page has a significant role to play in determining your ranking on SERPs. Long contents can not only improve engagement and shares but it can also boost the ranking of your page.

11)Relevant Content:

The Google Hummingbird algorithm update announced on September 26, 2013, has made a significant impact on natural search queries. The algorithm was designed to improve the speed and accuracy of search results best matching the user intent. This update enabled Google to better understand the context of your page and to rank the website to the relevant queries.

12)Image Alt Tags:

Adding image alt tags helps search engines to understand what the image is about.

13)Outgoing Links

Recent studies have shown that outgoing links from your website can improve the ranking of your website. Outgoing links to quality websites improve the value of your page. But linking to relevant sites in the same theme is important since it may be a signal which indicates what your page is about.

For example, linking to a page which sells sunglasses from an article which is about weight loss doesn’t make any sense.

14)Internal Linking Structure.

The content on your page should not have any dead ends. Proper internal linking structure to guide the user and the search bots through the important pages in your website is essential.

15)Use of Schema.org

Structure data markups are recommended on your website to improve click-through rates. Additional features like review count make the snippet stand out in the crowd. Besides that schema.org markups helps the search engines to easily understand the content of your page. You can use either microdata or JSON LD to ad schema markup on the website.

16)Brand Name Searches:

If there is a significant amount of search for your brand name in Google, then that’s a positive signal proving your brand’s credibility.

17)Dwell Time:

Dwell time indicates the average time that the user spends on your webpage after entering through organic search results. Very small dwell time is not always a good ranking signal.

18)Social Media Signals:

A strong social media presence can boost your ranking since Google counts it as a factor in determining your relevance in the niche.

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