Google SEO Ranking Factors – What’s Your Ranking Potential?

SEO is a tricky game where the rules are not clearly set. Search engines won’t tell us all the truth about how their algos operate and for a good reason. If everyone knew what exactly makes you rank on top, the search engines would have a hard time determining what websites are really relevant to the user’s query and which ones are just optimized to get passed off as such. On the other hand quite a number of the ranking puzzle pieces have been discovered through testing and SEO experiments. Let’s see what SEO factors are known to have influence over your site’s ranking and how you can measure its ranking potential.

All ranking factors can be divided into 2 broad groups: On-page (something on your website) and Off-page (things on other websites).

Onpage Ranking Factors


Title is the single most important element on a webpage. SEO is a niche where experts hardly ever agree on anything, but the power of page titles is one such rare exception. Titles not only have significant impact on the ranking potential of a webpage but also to a large extent determine how many people will click on your link in the search results. Having your targeted keywords in the title is crucial, but you also need to make sure that the title is appealing to users if you want to achieve a higher click-trough rate.


Search engines (especially Google) tend to give more weight to pages of old trusted domains that have earned good reputation and authority. Young websites generally find it harder to rank on top for popular keywords but with some extra SEO effort a high listing can be achieved even with newly registered domains.


I’m sure you’ve heard it a lot of times: ‘content is king’, ‘build quality content and you’ll rank high’. In reality it’s very doubtful that search engines can really evaluate the quality of content as such without using any external factors like link popularity. Poorly written articles or sites with no content at all ranked in the top 10 for competitive keywords pretty much prove the point. However strange it may seem, content is king after all because of its link building potential. If you create quality content people will link to it helping you build your link authority and that brings us to off-page ranking factors.

Off-Page Ranking Factors

The term off-page as such is used for the most part to describe other sites linking to a website. It may seem quite obvious at first sight: more and better quality links is all you need (better quality often misinterpreted as higher PageRank). However, as you start digging deeper into what ‘better quality’ actually means you’ll find that there’s a lot more to a link than just the PR of the webpage it comes from.


The words surrounding the link play quite an important role in determining the relevancy of the page linking to you. You can have your targeted keywords in the anchor text but if the topic of the page is anything but relevant the link value you get will be somewhat smaller.

Position on the Page

Search engine spiders follow links on the first-come, first-served basis and links that appear higher up on the webpage tend to be more effective in shaping a website’s rankings than the ones sitting below.

TLD of the Linking Page

The day of getting a link from an .edu or .gov website is a great day for any website promoter. Links from these and other domains including .org and .mil are believed to have larger impact on a site’s rankings. Although it’s arguable whether search engines have any sort of preferences for these types of TLDs or whether it’s just that these are usually top-authority websites with a strong in-link profile, still links from these domains tend to be a more effective ranking catalyst.

These are some of the important but often overlooked SEO factors you need to take into account when shaping your optimization strategy and working out your way to the top of search results. Sure, it’s quite an extra mile to go if you try to gather and analyze all that data by hand. Luckily you can use SEO tools that will save you time on digging for the information and putting it together for analysis. And at the end of the day the results of your work will pay off big time.