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We have known for years there are more than 200 “signals” that go into determining Google search rankings. But search marketers have always had to speculate as to what they are and which were most important. Until now…
Google recently revealed what the top 3 ranking factors are.
I touched on this a bit in last week’s Monthly SEO Update video, but I wanted to go more in depth today.
RankBrain is a new signal Google only started incorporating into is algorithm last year. It’s a machine-learning or artificial intelligence system and it seems to be primarily about helping Google better understand the search phrase and better understand the content of web pages so the sites shown in its search results are more relevant. For example, RankBrain helps the Google better understand whether a search query is related to news, local listings, or images even if the query doesn’t include a specific word to indicate that.
That’s nice to know, but from a search marketing perspective, it doesn’t tell us what we can do to improve our RankBrain score or get better search rankings.
#2 & #1: Content and Links
Recently when Andrey Lipattsev, a Search Quality Senior Strategist at Google, was asked about the top 2 search ranking factors, he replied, “I can tell you what they are. It is content. And it’s links pointing to your site.”
He wouldn’t elaborate on which was #1 and which was #2, but we now know for certain content and links are the most important factors in search rankings.
What does this mean for search marketing?
- Optimize your existing web pages – Read more about on-page optimization here.
- Get more links to your site – Read more about link building here
- Do content marketing – Publishing keyword-targeted blog posts, images, audio, videos or other content on a regular basis obviously helps with content, and people like to link to and share good content. So, it helps with both of the top 2 ranking factors. Read more about content marketing here.
The top two ranking factors are not much of a surprise for anyone who has been doing search engine marketing for any length of time. In fact, OurChurch.Com’s Progressive SEO Management service primarily focuses on content and links.
What are your thoughts on the top 3 Google ranking factors?