Google Ranking Factors: Systems, Signals, and Page Experience

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Google Ranking Factors: Systems, Signals, and Page Experience


The third edition of Ranking Factors is finally here! It got a little makeover both in looks and content inside. And, for the first time, we’ve put all the factors into a sortable sheet to find the info you need, faster.

Check out some of the other updates to this latest edition…

We all know that Google is understandably secretive about ranking signals and systems, and the public documentation can be vague.

More than 200 hours went into researching and gathering our findings on the signals that have been officially declared, at one point or another in time, as Google ranking factors – and now you can read the results!

Ranking factors

Use our R.F.M. (Ranking Factor Meter) to detect which category each of the supposed ranking signals fall into:

  • Confirmed: There is direct confirmation from Google, or someone who works at Google, that this signal is used for ranking.
  • Probably: There is a strong amount of evidence (e.g., public comments, patents, third-party data) indicating Google uses this ranking signal, though neither Google, nor a representative of Google, has officially confirmed it.
  • Possibly: There is some evidence that Google is using this signal, but no official confirmation from a Google rep and/or conflicting/unreliable data.
  • Unlikely: This signal hasn’t been ruled out completely, but there is little/no evidence that Google is using, or has used it, to rank results.
  • Not Anymore: This used to be a ranking signal but is now outdated or no longer used by Google.
  • Definitely Not: A ridiculous idea with zero evidence – or even direct refutation by Google – that this signal is used for ranking.

Our team has done its best to prioritize facts (e.g., documentation & patents, statements from Googlers, reputable third-party testing) over guesses and speculation.

You get all the expert insights and major search updates you need to help you determine what are, are not, and could be considered ranking factors in Google’s algorithms.

Some of the updates we made to this year’s Ranking Factors guide include:

  • Five ranking factors we changed our opinion on.
  • Four factors we removed (for either being out of date or just rolled into other factors).
  • And other factors updated with new information.

This year’s format is a bit more to-the-point, with each ranking factor including a brief description, our conclusion on its status, and a link to a related SEJ article if you want more information.

And, for quick reference there’s a template with a sortable list of ranking factors.

Notice: The 4th edition of Ranking Factors is now available! You can access it here.

An announcement to adapt SEO strategies for Google's systems with an image of a book titled "Google Ranking Systems & Signals 2024."