There’s a lot of information floating around these days about what makes a site rank. Most of it’s misinformed, outdated, or entirely untrue, because practically nobody cites their sources. Worst of all, the products/services that stem from that kind of recklessness are often dangerous. Despite all that, we actually know a lot for certain about the way Google ranks sites. Real SEO knowledge doesn’t come from a random blogger, forum, or get-rich-quick scheme.
You probably already know that Google uses about 200 ranking factors in their algorithm but what the heck are they? This resource is a complete guide to how Google ranks sites. We’ve included factors that are controversial or even outright myths, but created filters to hide the junk. The information below is updated constantly, so if you’re serious about SEO, we recommend signing up for quarterly updates (below) so that you don’t lose touch.
Domain Age – Matt Cutts states that:
- Keyword Appears in Top Level Domain – Doesn’t give the boost that it used to, but having your keyword in the domain still acts as a relevancy signal. After all, they still bold keywords that appear in a domain name.
- Keyword As First Word in Domain – A domain that starts with their target keyword has an edge over sites that either don’t have the keyword in their domain or have the keyword in the middle or end of their domain.
Domain registration length: A Google patent states:
- Keyword in Subdomain Name – Moz’s 2011 panel agreed that a keyword appearing in the subdomain can boost rankings.
- Domain History – A site with volatile ownership (via whois) or several drops may tell Google to “reset” the site’s history, negating links pointing to the domain.
- Penalized WhoIs Owner – If Google identifies a particular person as a spammer it makes sense that they would scrutinize other sites owned by that person.
- Country TLD extension – Having a Country Code Top Level Domain (.cn, .pt, .ca) helps the site rank for that particular country…but limits the site’s ability to rank globally.
- Keyword in Title Tag – The title tag is a webpage’s second most important piece of content (besides the content of the page) and therefore sends a strong on-page SEO signal.
- Title Tag Starts with Keyword – According to Moz data, title tags that starts with a keyword tend to perform better than title tags with the keyword towards the end of the tag.