Surprise, surprise, the top three ranking signals in Google's search ranking algorithm is content, links and RankBrain. Not necessarily in that order, but content and links are more important ranking signals than RankBrain.
This was said by Andrey Lipattsev, a Search Quality Senior Strategist at Google, yesterday in a Google hangout Google Q&A via WebPromo with a bunch of wicked smart SEOs. Ammon Johns asked the question:
Would it be beneficial for us to know what the first two are (first to ranking signals are). Would webmasters build better sites...
Andrey Lipattsev said:
I can tell you what they are. It is content and links pointing to your site.
Ammon said "in that order or the other order?" Andrey replied, "there is no order."
As you know, RankBrain was disclosed as the third most important ranking signals. So now we know the shocking truth that content and links are the first two.
The thing that drives me wild is that RankBrain to me, is not a ranking signal but rather uses ranking signals - so that is the confusing part in my mind.
Anyway, this was said at the 30:20 minute mark into the video, here is the video embed at the start time:
Click here to learn more on RankBrain.