What Are Google's 200 Search Engine Ranking Factors?

Nov 25, 2009 • 9:25 am | comments (13) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

A neat new WebmasterWorld thread is trying to do the impossible by putting down on paper, what exactly are the 200 or so search engine ranking factors used by Google.

The thread creator put out a few dozen ranking factors, but there is a way to go here. Think this is a possible task?

Even if they do get all the 200 ranking factors down, figuring out the weights assigned to each and how Google scores them based on other factors can be a bit complex. SEOs have been trying to do so since even before Google was born. Back then, it was a lot easier, now - it is virtually impossible. I bet Matt Cutts, who has access to this data, wouldn't be able to get it exact (no offense).

Anyway, trying to come up with the list, in itself, is useful on some level. But understanding where to put your emphasis and time in, is what is most important for SEOs to understand.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

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11/25/2009 04:07 pm

They are not going to succeed. In the recent comment on the offensive Michelle Obama picture Google says: 'A site's ranking in Google's search results relies heavily on computer algorithms using thousands of factors to calculate a page's relevance to a given query.'. Not 200 but 'thousands of factors'. According to Google their algorithm includes language models, query models, time models and personalization models. Maybe a variable in such a model is something like 'freshness of a page' and to determine the value of this variable there are lots of factors they look at.

Michael Martinez

11/25/2009 04:59 pm

I agree with Roland. I think it's a fool's chase to try to pin down all the factors. And there is no science behind any of these ranking factors lists.


11/25/2009 05:43 pm

I bet Matt Cutts, who has access to this data, wouldn't be able to get it exact (no offense). So you're really just hoping Matt will hop in and say - "Can to!!! In alphabetical order, they're..."

Barry Schwartz

11/25/2009 06:11 pm

Reverse psychology, Lewis. :)

No Name

11/26/2009 04:24 am

we really cant do perfectly with the 200+ factors^^


11/26/2009 08:35 am

It's a nice intellectual game, but futile, IMO, if anyone's trying to reverse engineer the algo and somehow "beat" it.

John Harvey

11/26/2009 09:55 am

The top ten most important factors would be a good start!

rob w

11/26/2009 09:31 pm

Interesting exercise but ultimately not worth the time if you're doing it to try to figure out how to drive traffic. Spend your time making your site better not trying to reverse engineer an algorithm that changes daily. No offense but if you don't have a pretty good sense of the top 10 already you're either new to SEO or should be doing something else.

Rob Abdul

11/28/2009 08:24 pm

It does not matter how complex the algorithm is. One does not need to unravel the entire algorithm to rank high. Just knowing the basics gets reasonable results. I agree with John Harvey “The top ten most important factors would be a good start!”. Comparable to human ingenuity the algorithm will be compromised if left unchanged. This is the primary reason why the algorithm is in constant flux to incorporate change. I think people at large have their priorities wrong. Even if you were to decipher the entire algorithm and then create a website with that knowledge; I think you’ll soon learn that the most important variable/factor in maintaining good SERPs is your content and the user experience on your website. You may fool the machines but you cannot fool the people, Search engines understand this. It is the bread and butter after all. Good content with your users in mind and the aid of a social media campaign, and a strong offline marketing plan will give you “sustainable results”.


11/29/2009 10:48 pm

Google's objective is to get the best results and the best content. If you have a look at the factors, most of them are common sense and are about quality of the site. These factors can be used as a guideline to improve the quality of the sites... I've made the exercise of summarizing all the factors found in the webmasterworld thread: http://bit.ly/4H6ZSp

Arnie K

11/30/2009 04:05 pm

Seems like something you would do if you were totally bored. I don't believe I have ever been that bored. What good is the list when/if completed?

Rahman Mehraby

12/12/2009 09:09 pm

The more they are, the less I'm worried as each carry less weight. Instead, I stress on the most obvious ones that are the closest to the behavior of a natural web content writer for a natural web surfing experience.


02/22/2011 05:14 am

Look the bottom line is relevant content/quantity of content. Age does help but is not alway's the case. Google is like golf one day you are 11 under par and the next you can't even tee off. Just work hard and you will get lucky imagine that.

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