91 Key factors affecting the SEO of your website

91 Key factors affecting the SEO of your website

15 Sep 2020


Renji Yonjan

Businesses are well aware of the importance of SEO, yet it can be difficult to keep up when best practices are always changing. Google algorithms include extensive ranking factors, so if you want to boost your SEO, it’s vital to learn all about these. With this comprehensive list of SEO ranking factors, you can supercharge your SEO efforts.

Page Elements

1. Title Tag: Including a target keyword as part of a title tag continues to be an important SEO signal.

2. TT begins with a Keyword: Title tags that begin with a target keyword perform better compared with TT’s using keywords nearer the end.

3. Term Frequency and Inverse Document Frequency: Google uses TF-IDF to determine the frequency of words on a page, using this info to determine the topic.

4. Description Tag Keyword: Description tags have a direct impact on CTR, which affects your ranking.

5. Table Of Contents: Google can gain a better understanding of page content if a table of contents is used. This is especially true if the table includes links.

6. Content Length: Longer content is preferable to Google algorithms. The search engine favours depth and quality info.

7. Latent Semantic Indexing: LSI keywords support search engines to decipher the meaning behind words. It’s important for words which have more than one definition.

8. In Depth Content: Pages that cover a topic in depth rank higher than pages that partially cover that topic.

9. EAT Framework: EAT is an acronym for ‘Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness’. To rank higher, a page must demonstrate that the content producer is an expert who has earnt authority and trust in their industry.

10. Page Loading Speeds: Search engines use page HTML code to estimate speed, your page speed is then used as a ranking factor.

11: YMYL: ‘Your Money or Your Life’ refers to content about finances, health, government info, law, or current events. Google is strict about YMYL content ranking because these topics have negative repercussions if inaccurately represented.

12. Image Optimization: The captions, descriptions, titles, and file names of images send key relevancy signals to Google.

13. Link Quality: High quality outbound links helps signal to Google that your website is authoritative and trustworthy.

14. Mobile Optimised: Google rewards websites that are adequately optimised for mobiles.

15. Multimedia Signals: Videos, images, and other multimedia can also signal quality (of lack of) to search engines.

16. Quantity Of Outbound Links: A large number of ‘do follow’ links can negatively affect the ranking of that page.

17. Internal Links: Site’s with more internal links are determined as more important than websites with less internal links.

18. Internal Link Quality: Links from authoritative pages are more powerful than internal links from low ranking pages.

19. Affiliate Links: Too many affiliate links means algorithms will pay more attention to different quality signals. This is to ensure that your website isn’t a thin affiliate website.

20. Broken Links: A large number of broken links tells Google that the site has been abandoned or neglected.

21. Numbered Lists And Bullet Points: Clearly defined lists are user friendly, breaking up content and ensuring an easier read. Google prefers content which is structured with bullets and lists.

22. URL Length: Overly long URLs can damage search visibility. Shorter URLs have a slight advantage in search results.

23: Several Keywords: When a page ranks for several other keywords, this provides search engines with a quality indicator.

24: UX Layout: A user friendly layout is essential to reduce bounce rates and ensure that the main content is easily visible.

Domain Elements 

25. Keyword In Domain: Using a keyword in your domain gives your SEO a boost.

26. First Word: When a domain uses a target target keyword as the first word, this site gains even more relevance.

27. Subdomain Keyword: Using a keyword as part of the subdomain can also improve rankings.

28. Domain Legitimacy: The expiration date of a domain is used as a factor to predict it’s legitimacy. Illegitimate domains have a short life-span, while legitimate domains are usually pre-paid to cover several years.

29. Exact Match: An exact match domain can elevate the ranking of your site. However, bear in mind that low quality websites risk EMD updates.

30. History: If Google perceives site ownership to be volatile, it may reset the history, invalidating the links that lead to that domain.

31. Public Or Private WhoIs: Using a PrivateWhoIs may look as though the webmaster is hiding something.

32. Domain Authority: DA is a ranking score which predicts ranking results in the SERPS. Domain Authority scores start at one and go up to 100. Your DA score is affected by high-quality links.

33. TLD Country Extension: A top level domain country code (.ca, .pt) helps the website to rank for that country.

34. Root Domains Linking: The more referring domains that you have, the better that you’ll rank in Google’s algorithm.

35. Link Age: Links that come from aged domains are usually more powerful than links from newer domains.

36. Linking Page Authority: When it comes to your referring pages, page rank is an incredibly important factor. 

37. Competitor Links: Links from pages that rank within the same SERP are often more valuable than the keyword.

38. Bad Neighbourhood Links: Any links that come from ‘bad neighbourhoods’ may negatively affect your site ranking.

39. Ad Links: Google states that ad links should be ‘nofollowed’. Regardless, Google filters out followed links.

40. Guest Posting: Guest posts can be valuable, however not to the extent of authentic editorial links.

41. Link Diversity: When your links come from a single source, this is sometimes an indication of spam. Site’s rank higher when their links come from diverse places.

42. 301 Redirects: Backlinks that come from 301 redirects tend to harm the page ranking.

43. Contextual Links: Embedded links are more effective than links outside the content, or links placed on empty pages.

44: Link Location: Positioning links nearer the beginning of your content can slightly increase their effectiveness.

45: Link Domain Relevance: Links from similar websites are far more powerful than links that come from unrelated websites.

46: Keyword in Link Title: Google loves links that include your keyword within the title.

47. Wikipedia Source Link: It’s believed that a Wikipedia link gives you an authority boost in search algorithms.

48.  Real Site Links: Google prefers links from authentic sites as opposed to fake blogs. The search engine uses interaction signals (between the brand and the user) to sniff out the fakers.

49. Co-Occurrences: It’s advisable to use words (positioned close to your backlinks) which help Google determine the theme of your page.

50: Schem.org Usage: If a page supports microformats it will rank above pages that do not. Pages with microformatting often have higher CTR.

51. Link Site TrustRank: The more trustworthy that the website linking to you is, the better for SEO.

52.  Link Content Word Count: Links from longer posts have more value than links from small snippets.

53. Links From Forums: Google often devalues links from forums, and this is due to the prevalence of spam.

54. Content Quality: Links from badly written content don’t carry as much weight as content that’s well-written.

Google Algorithm 

55. Domain Diversity: Google’s BigFoot Update increased the number of domains on every SERP page.

56. Featured Snippets: Google picks the Featured Snippets content using factors such as HTTPs usage, page authority and content length.

57. Image Results: Often, Google images will come up in the organic search engine results.

Brand Elements

58: Branded Anchor Text: Using a branded anchor text is a powerful signal to extend your reach.

60. Keyword Searches and Brand: If people search for a keyword and your brand name, Google might boost your rankings when they search for that word without your brand.

61. Brand Mentions Without Links: When a brand is mentioned, but not linked too, Google still picks up the mention as a signal.

Site Elements

62. TrustRank: This algorithm distinguishes between spam and useful web pages. It’s a key ranking factor, ensuring that web users are provided with quality sites.

63. Quality Content With Unique Insights: Search engines penalize websites which don’t offer originality. The most important thing is to create high quality and insightful content.

64: Site Architecture: High quality site architecture (such as using silo structure) can support Google to organize the content on your site.

65. Location Of Server: The server location affects the ranking of your website in different geographic areas.

66. SSL Certificate: Google also uses HTTPS as one of its ranking signals.

67: Duplicate Meta Info: Meta info duplicates may compromise the visibility of your site.

68. Privacy and Terms of Service Pages: These pages let Google know that your website is a trustworthy internet source. The service and privacy pages may also improve your website E-A-T.

69. YouTube Videos: YouTube videos always get preferential treatment in terms of ranking.

70. Site Reputation And Reviews: Good reviews on sites like Yelp.com also improve the ranking of your website.

User Interaction

71. Direct Traffic: Google gathers data to determine the number of people who visit the website, plus how often they visit. Websites with plenty of direct traffic are judged to be higher quality sites.

72. Organic Click Through Rate: The organic CTR rate is relevant for all keywords which a site ranks for. Organic CTR determines the overall quality.

73. Page Comments: If a page has plenty of comments, this signals quality and user interaction. Both of these things do wonders for SEO.

74. Dwell Time: Google measures the time that people spend on your page, the more time that people spend there, the better!

Webspam (External)

75. Hacked Websites: A website that gets hacked may be dropped entirely from the search results.

76.  Poor-Quality Links: If a site has links from a poor-quality directory, the site may end up with a penalty.

77. Unnatural Links: Websites will receive a warning if they are found to include unnatural links. After receiving such a warning, most sites will find that they rank lower.

78: Widget Links: Google dislikes links that are auto generated, for instance if a user embeds a widget on the website.

79: Same Server Links: If your site receives an unusual number of links on one server IP, Google determines that these links are from a blog network.

80: Links From Press Releases And Articles: Press releases and article directories have historically been over used for links. As a result, Google negatively deems these as link schemes.

81. Google Sandbox: New websites that receive an influx of links may be positioned in Google Sandbox, which limits search visibility on a temporary basis.

82: Disavow Tool: The Disavow Tool removes a penalty for websites that have experienced negative SEO.

83: Reconsideration Request: Such requests (if successful) serve to remove penalties.

Webspam (Internal)

84. Use of Pop Ups: Pop ups, or other distracting ad content, are often associated with low quality websites.

85. Redirects: Sites with sly redirects can get both penalised and de-indexed.

86. Interstitial Pop Ups: Displaying full sized pop ups on mobiles may also result in penalties.

87. Over Optimized Sites: Google penalises sites that adopt keyword stuffing techniques in an attempt to rank higher.

88. Above the Fold Ads: Google uses an algorithm which penalises websites with too many ads positioned above the fold.

89. Hidden Affiliate Links: Including affiliate links that are hidden is another reason that sites get penalised.

90. Affiliate Websites: Google algorithms are not overly fond of affiliates, some believe that websites that use these programs face scrutiny.

91. Auto Content: If a site is found to be producing computer generated content, the website may be de-indexed.

Which SEO factors are most important in 2020?

With so many factors to consider, it’s challenging to know where to begin. To help you out, these are the six factors to pay the most attention to this year.

1. Mobile Optimisation

2. Dwell Time

3. Organic CTR

4. Quality Backlinks

5. Referral Domains

6. Quality Of Content

How can EB Pearls Help?

EB Pearls can help you to grow your company with powerful website design. Our designs are SEO optimised and optimised for mobile devices. We pride ourselves as experts in web design, mobile apps, SEO and more. If you would like more information about SEO and web design, reach out to us today.


Renji is always striving for the best at any given moment, both in and outside of work. Her constantly inspires and motivates her teams so that they grow and improve both professionally and personally.

Read more Articles by this Author
Contact us Today

Beautiful Websites For Better Business

  • star
  • star
  • star
  • star
  • star

“During the entire project, what I witnessed was an unwavering determination to keep forging ahead and readily adapting to every new challenge that came our way. The performance was outstanding, and we owe our success to you. Without your contributions, this wouldn’t have been possible. Great job!”

Alison Brandon MondialVGL
Alison Brandon

— Marketing Manager at Mondial VGL