How Google ranks web pages? | Page-level factors

Last Thursday, we talked how Google ranks your websites, PageRank, and weightage of thematic clusters.

As an introduction we started with the domain level factors which influenced your page ranking. Today we are going to see the page level factors which influence your SERP ranking.


Page-Level Factors


  • Title Tag starting with a keyword or a keyword in the title tag: Although not as important as it once was. Title tag still remains an important on-page SEO signal. Title tags that starts with a keyword tend to perform better than title tags with the keyword towards the end of the tag.


  • Keyword in Description Tag: Not considered a direct ranking signal it’s more like a tip to improve your click-through-rate.


  • Keyword Appears in H1 Tag: Along with your title tag, Google uses your H1 tag as a secondary relevancy signal.


  • TF-IDF: A fancy way of saying: “How often does a certain word appear in a document?”


  • Content Length: Content with more words are likely preferable in the algorithm compared to shorter, superficial articles. A recent industry study found that content length correlated with SERP ranking.


  • Table of Contents: Using a linked table of contents can help Google better understand your page’s content.


  • Keyword Density: Although not as important as it once was, Google may use it to determine the topic of a webpage. But going overboard can hurt you.


  • Latent Semantic Indexing Keywords: In title, description tags and content, this acts as a prominent relevancy signal.


  • Page Covers Topic In-Depth: Pages that cover a topic in-depth in every angle is likely to have an edge over pages that only cover a topic partially.


  • Page Loading Speed via HTML.


  • Page Loading Speed via Chrome.


  • Use of AMP: While not a direct Google ranking factor, AMP may be a requirement to rank in the Google News Carousel.


  • Entity Match: Does a page’s content match the “entity” that a user is searching for? If so, that page may get a rankings boost for that keyword.


  • Google Hummingbird: This “algorithm change” helped Google go beyond keywords. Thanks to Hummingbird, Google can now better understand the topic of a webpage.


  • Duplicate Content: Identical content on the same site (even slightly modified) can negatively influence a site’s search engine visibility.


  • Rel=Canonical: Proper usage of this tag may prevent Google from penalizing your site for duplicate content.


  • Image Optimization: Images send search engines important relevancy signals through their file name, alt text, title, description and caption.


  • Content Recency: Google Caffeine update favours recently published or updated content, especially for time-sensitive searches. Adding or removing entire sections is considered a more relevant update, than correcting typos.


  • Historical Page Updates: Frequency of page updates also play a role in freshness.


  • Keyword Prominence: Having a keyword appear in the first 100 words of a page’s content is correlated to first page Google rankings. Keyword in H2, H3 Tags may be another weak relevancy signal.


  • Outbound Link Quality: Many SEOs think that linking out to authority sites helps send trust signals to Google. According to The Hilltop Algorithm, Google may use the content of the pages you link to as a relevancy signal.


For example, if you have a page about cars that links to movie-related pages, this may tell Google that your page is about the movie Cars, not the automobile.


  • Grammar and Spelling: Proper grammar and spelling is a quality signal.


  • Syndicated Content: Is the content on the page original? Scraped or copied content from an indexed may not rank as well or may not get indexed at all.


  • Mobile Usability: Websites that mobile users can easily use may have an edge in Google’s “Mobile-first Index”.


  • Helpful “Supplementary Content”: According to a now-public Google Rater Guidelines Document, helpful supplementary content is an indicator of a page’s quality (and therefore, Google ranking).


Examples include currency converters, loan interest calculators and interactive recipes.


  • Content Hidden behind Tabs: Do users need to click on a tab to reveal some of the content on your page? If so, Google has said that this content “may not be indexed”.


  • Multimedia: Images, videos and other multimedia elements may act as a content quality signal. For example, one industry study found a correlation between multimedia and rankings.


These are the page level factors which influence your SERP ranking. Come back next Thursday for more PageRank factors that influence your SERP positions.


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