Google Releases the Top 3 Ranking Factors

Written by: Jason Bayless | February 20, 2017

Whether for greater transparency or in an effort to help webmasters better understand and work with its algorithm, Google has released its top three ranking factors. This news is making it easier for both site designers and site owners alike to devise SEO campaigns that are virtually guaranteed to succeed. Although there are countless aspects of the search engine optimization process, SEO is best implemented with the greatest determinants for page rank in mind.

1. Link-Building

Like all of the top three ranking factors, link-building has a number of subcategories that are well-worth paying attention to. Quality links are considered a sign of popularity and they also serve as a digital mapping system for the flow of web traffic. What’s surprising about link-building and it’s position at the top of this list is the fact that Google recently made a point of showing it’s disdain for links built through guest-blogging. The reason for this was that people were guest-blogging at random, solely for the purpose of generating new links, and without any concern for the quality or relevance of the content being published.

It’s important to note that quality of links is far more important than quantity, which is something that many site owners have had to discover the hard way. Building links too fast and through any means other than organic ones can result in stiff and painful penalties. It is therefore essential to build links in a slow and gradual fashion while only making moderate use of business and niche-specific directories. Guest-blogging is once again considered acceptable, but only when it’s done with purpose and meaning. For instance, industry experts can share their information and ideas on third-party platforms, but random, keyword-dense pieces that have been posted on poorly reputed, guest-blogging sites won’t bode well for businesses. At the end of the day, the absolute best way to build links is by crafting interesting and insightful content that both companies and people want to link back to.

2. Content Is King

Whether links or content deserve the top position on this list is a matter of opinion. After all, you can’t build an impressive link profile if you lack quality content. As such, link-building and content should rank as equally important on your list of priorities. One thing to note about content and its impact on SEO, however, is that it’s not limited to the written word. You can certainly upload articles, blogs, white papers, e-books and other written projects related to your website or business, but you can also engage in video advertising campaigns, participate in Facebook Live broadcasts, publish images and create infographics among many other things. A key thing to take note of is that your content should look good on any device that people happen to be using. The more web users that are able to access and share your content, the better your site will invariably rank.

3. RankBrain

RankBrain has been and remains one of Google’s biggest pet projects. This is an artificial intelligence that plays a hand in organizing and categorizing websites. Because of RankBrain’s ever-changing nature and functions, there isn’t really anything that site owners can do to improve how this learning creation affects their page rank. There are, however, a few things that are fairly easy to surmise about this AI and the way it will likely shape SEO moving into the future. For instance, Google has long been committed to ensuring the relevance of its search results. As such, one of the primary functions of RankBrain will be to ensure that listings positioned higher up on SERPs are significantly more meaningful than those that don’t make the cut.

It’s also important to consider how Google’s decision to remove sponsored listings from the right side of SERPs has limited the availability of space and significantly increased competition for first page placement. With less space to vie for and RankBrain working constantly to ensure relevancy, site owners are going to have to work harder than ever before to craft content that addresses common needs and that’s capable of generating attention all on its own. Moreover, with RankBrain gradually taking over the implementation of Google’s algorithm, both site owners and web users alike can expect to see the eventual demise of black hat SEO and spam.