google ranking factorsThe world’s largest* infographic hit the web a few days ago, the subject of which caused heads to spin. This helpful, if not overwhelming, content lists each of Google’s 200 ranking factors. Some of the items listed were fairly well-known SEO tips, while others might have drawn a bit of surprise. The overwhelming emotion, however, was probably just the feeling of being completely overwhelmed, am I right?

That’s why we decided to break down the infographic and offer up some of the lesser-known factors listed. If you’d like to see the full infographic, and follow along, you’ll find it here. Just be sure to zoom for easier reading.


You probably already concentrate on your keywords in titles, description tags, and H1 tags. If not, go ahead and start. While Hummingbird removed the intensity of keyword importance, you still need to use them. They’re an indicator of relevance, and also tell Google what your content is all about. Just remember that going overboard with keyword density will hurt you.

Duplicate Content

Even content that has been slightly modified will be marked as duplicate content if you post the same thing twice on your site. You can use the rel=canonical tag to alert Google that your content has been duplicated for a reason, such as syndication or reposting for emphasis. Just be sure you know how to use the tag properly so you don’t get penalized.

Content Length

Though not officially stated, content with more words can be beneficial. The reason is that longer copy tends to be more in-depth rather than superficial. Since Google loves quality and promotes it heavily, the longer articles will be given priority.

Grammar and Spelling

Again, quality is the name of the game. Content with poor grammar and spelling may signify lower quality content. Though not specifically stated, your website could be negatively affected if you don’t proofread before posting copy.

Outbound Links

The links you use within your content to outside pages serve as a relevancy signal, meaning quality sources can only help you. Just be careful not to use too many dofollow links, because you can hurt your search visibility. Also, too many links can obscure the meat of the content, which could also hurt your ranking results.

Fresh Content

Google loves fresh content, so updating your site regularly is a plus. When the content is of excellent quality, that’s even more bonus points. This is why a blog is so important to business sites, because each blog post is a new page added and is counted as fresh content.

Geo-Specific Searches

Your ranking for local business searches could be affected by the location of your server. If you use services that are outsourced to other areas of the country, you may not receive the benefit of local SEO.

YouTube Videos

Rich content through YouTube distribution will rank higher in searches—most likely because Google owns YouTube. Whenever you can present videos as your content, you might want to take the opportunity.

Backlinking and Anchor Text

If used incorrectly, these can be webspam signals. When you do it right, they can help determine the relevancy of your website. In fact, Google might find them more descriptive than the website’s address.

These are some of the more surprising or lesser-known ranking factors, but of course, this isn’t even close to an exhaustive list. If you’re determined to improve your ranking, you may be better served by the full infographic. Of course, you can also visit Google’s Quality Guidelines to get more information on any of the factors listed here.

*blatant use of hyperbole

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Originally published Jun 27, 2014 10:00:00 AM, updated January 18 2023


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