Google Ranking Factors Revealed – The Secret Signals To Ranking

by Matthew Woodward
Although there isn’t an official list of Google ranking factors, we do know a lot about the signals that Google use across their index to rank sites accordingly. This information comes from a combination of official sources, case studies, experience and my own personal experimentation. While it is impossible to know if the list of Google ranking factors below is complete – I ...Read the full article

Does Google take action on spammy guest blogging activities?

Currently, guest blogging is the favorite activity of webmasters for link acquisition. Due to its easy nature, lots of spammy activities are going on like article spinning etc. Is Google going to hammer websites for links acquired by guest blogging? Nandita B, India Read more about link schemes: http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=66356 Have a question? Ask it in our Webmaster Help Forum: http://groups.google.com/a/googleproductforums.com/forum/#!forum/webmasters Want your question to be answered on a video like this? Follow us on Twitter and look for an announcement when we take new questions: http://twitter.com/googlewmc More videos: http://www.youtube.com/GoogleWebmasterHelp Webmaster Central Blog: http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/ More resources for webmasters: http://www.google.com/webmasters


How can I guest blog without it appearing as if I paid for links?

How can I guest blog without it looking like I pay for links? Ben Holland, Phoenix, AZ Have a question? Ask it in our Webmaster Help Forum: http://groups.google.com/a/googleproductforums.com/forum/#!forum/webmasters Want your question to be answered on a video like this? Follow us on Twitter and look for an announcement when we take new questions: http://twitter.com/googlewmc More videos: http://www.youtube.com/GoogleWebmasterHelp Webmaster Central Blog: http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/ Webmaster Central: http://www.google.com/webmasters/


What should I be aware of if I'm considering guest blogging?

I predict that in future Google will penalise guest blogging sites. Any insights on guest blogging as spam? Google baba, Mumbai, India Have a question? Ask it in our Webmaster Help Forum: http://groups.google.com/a/googleproductforums.com/forum/#!forum/webmasters Want your question to be answered on a video like this? Follow us on Twitter and look for an announcement when we take new questions: http://twitter.com/googlewmc More videos: http://www.youtube.com/GoogleWebmasterHelp Webmaster Central Blog: http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/ Webmaster Central: http://www.google.com/webmasters/


How does required duplicate content (terms and conditions, etc.) affect search?

How does duplicate copy that's legally required (ie Terms & Conditions across multiple offers) affect performance in search? Jason, New York Have a question? Ask it in our Webmaster Help Forum: http://groups.google.com/a/googleproductforums.com/forum/#!forum/webmasters Want your question to be answered on a video like this? Follow us on Twitter and look for an announcement when we take new questions: http://twitter.com/googlewmc More videos: http://www.youtube.com/GoogleWebmasterHelp Webmaster Central Blog: http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/ Webmaster Central: http://www.google.com/webmasters/


How does Google handle duplicate content?

How does Google handle duplicate content and what negative effects can it have on rankings from an SEO perspective? Gary Taylor, Stratford Upon Avon, UK Have a question? Ask it in our Webmaster Help Forum: http://groups.google.com/a/googleproductforums.com/forum/#!forum/webmasters Want your question to be answered on a video like this? Follow us on Twitter and look for an announcement when we take new questions: http://twitter.com/googlewmc More videos: http://www.youtube.com/GoogleWebmasterHelp Webmaster Central Blog: http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/ Webmaster Central: http://www.google.com/webmasters/


How does Google determine domain age, and is it important for ranking?

How does Google determine domain age? Do they look at the whois data or do they rely on the crawler? e.g. When it first indexed the website. In general, how important is it for website authority? Thanks! Maarten, Belgium


Does Google use EXIF data from pictures as a ranking factor?

Does Google use EXIF data from pictures as a ranking factor? Christian Oliveira, Madrid Blog post about images: http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2012/04/1000-words-about-images.html Have a question? Ask it in our Webmaster Help Forum: http://groups.google.com/a/googleproductforums.com/forum/#!forum/webmasters Want your question to be answered on a video like this? Follow us on Twitter and look for an announcement when we take new questions: http://twitter.com/googlewmc More videos: http://www.youtube.com/GoogleWebmasterHelp Webmaster Central Blog: http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/ Webmaster Central: http://www.google.com/webmasters/


Does a site rank better if it has a lot of indexed pages?

Does a website get a better overall ranking if it has a large amount of indexed pages? Leah, New York Have a question? Ask it in our Webmaster Help Forum: http://groups.google.com/a/googleproductforums.com/forum/#!forum/webmasters Want your question to be answered on a video like this? Follow us on Twitter and look for an announcement when we take new questions: http://twitter.com/googlewmc More videos: http://www.youtube.com/GoogleWebmasterHelp Webmaster Central Blog: http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/ Webmaster Central: http://www.google.com/webmasters/


Can nofollow links hurt my site's ranking?

I'm building links, not for SEO but to try and generate direct traffic, if these links are no-follow am I safe from getting any Google penalties? Asked another way, can no-follow links hurt my site? Tubby Timmy, UK Learn about rel="nofollow": https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/96569?hl=en Have a question? Ask it in our Webmaster Help Forum: http://groups.google.com/a/googleproductforums.com/forum/#!forum/webmasters Want your question to be answered on a video like this? Follow us on Twitter and look for an announcement when we take new questions: http://twitter.com/googlewmc More videos: http://www.youtube.com/GoogleWebmasterHelp Webmaster Central Blog: http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/ Webmaster Central: http://www.google.com/webmasters/


What percentage of PageRank is lost through a 301 redirect?

Roughly what percentage of PageRank is lost through a 301 redirect? Sam Harries, Exeter, United Kingdom Have a question? Ask it in our Webmaster Help Forum: http://groups.google.com/a/googleproductforums.com/forum/#!forum/webmasters Want your question to be answered on a video like this? Follow us on Twitter and look for an announcement when we take new questions: http://twitter.com/googlewmc More videos: http://www.youtube.com/GoogleWebmasterHelp Webmaster Central Blog: http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/ Webmaster Central: http://www.google.com/webmasters/


How important is it to have keywords in a domain name?

How would you explain "The Power of Keyword Domains" to someone looking to take a decision what kind of domain to go for?" McDot, Berlin Russian subtitles provided by Mike Shakin. Have a question? Ask it in our Webmaster Help Forum: http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/Webmasters?hl=en Want your question to be answered on a video like this? Follow us on Twitter and look for an announcement when we take new questions: http://twitter.com/googlewmc More videos: http://www.youtube.com/GoogleWebmasterHelp Webmaster Central Blog: http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/ Webmaster Central: http://www.google.com/webmasters


Can a purchased domain's history affect its trust in Google?

I bought a domain 7 months ago. The website I put on it still doesn't show in the SERPs. Since 2000 it's had different owners - used by a co. in Oz, it's then served ads, then "for sale" with a company for 4ish years. Will it have trust issues in Google? Dave Shuts, Yorkshire, England


How can I research a domain that I may want to purchase?

How can we check to see if a domain (bought from a registrar) was previously in trouble with Google? I recently bought, and unbeknownst to me the domain isn't being indexed and I've had to do a reconsideration request. How could I have prevented? Wally, Reno Internet Archive Wayback Machine: https://archive.org/web/ Have a question? Ask it in our Webmaster Help Forum: http://groups.google.com/a/googleproductforums.com/forum/#!forum/webmasters Want your question to be answered on a video like this? Follow us on Twitter and look for an announcement when we take new questions: http://twitter.com/googlewmc More videos: http://www.youtube.com/GoogleWebmasterHelp Webmaster Central Blog: http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/ Webmaster Central: http://www.google.com/webmasters/


How much time should I spend on meta tags, and which ones matter?

How much time should I spend on meta tags, and which ones matter? Matt Cutts, Bay Area, California Read more about meta tags in our Help Center: http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=79812 Have a question? Ask it in our Webmaster Help Forum: http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/Webmasters?hl=en Want your question to be answered on a video like this? Follow us on Twitter and look for an announcement when we take new questions: http://twitter.com/googlewmc More videos: http://www.youtube.com/GoogleWebmasterHelp Webmaster Central Blog: http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/ Webmaster Central: http://www.google.com/webmasters


Can product descriptions be considered duplicate content?

Mani from Delhi asks: "Are product description pages on an e-commerce site termed as duplicate content if the same product description appears on other sites? It does happen for many branded products." Recorded on April 23, 2009.


Do spelling and grammar matter when evaluating content and site quality?

Do spelling and grammar matter when evaluating content and site quality? Blind Five Year Old, SF, CA Have a question? Ask it in our Webmaster Help Forum: http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/Webmasters?hl=en Want your question to be answered on a video like this? Follow us on Twitter and look for an announcement when we take new questions: http://twitter.com/googlewmc More videos: http://www.youtube.com/GoogleWebmasterHelp Webmaster Central Blog: http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/ Webmaster Central: http://www.google.com/webmasters


Should I correct the grammar of comments on my blog?

Should I correct the grammar on comments to my WordPress blog? Should I not approve comments with poor grammar? Will approving comments with grammar issues affect my page's quality ratings? Mr. Mortini, Chicago, IL Have a question? Ask it in our Webmaster Help Forum: http://groups.google.com/a/googleproductforums.com/forum/#!forum/webmasters Want your question to be answered on a video like this? Follow us on Twitter and look for an announcement when we take new questions: http://twitter.com/googlewmc More videos: http://www.youtube.com/GoogleWebmasterHelp Webmaster Central Blog: http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/ Webmaster Central: http://www.google.com/webmasters/


If I write about another article, where should I link to the original source?

I have a blog and I post original articles but I also like to link to the original website. So I link the website in a word in the first paragraph. Is this the right way or I should give a link separately at bottom. nayanseth, India Have a question? Ask it in our Webmaster Help Forum: http://groups.google.com/a/googleproductforums.com/forum/#!forum/webmasters Want your question to be answered on a video like this? Follow us on Twitter and look for an announcement when we take new questions: http://twitter.com/googlewmc More videos: http://www.youtube.com/GoogleWebmasterHelp Webmaster Central Blog: http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/ Webmaster Central: http://www.google.com/webmasters/


Why doesn't google.com validate?

Michael Thingmand from Denmark asks: "Why doesn't google.com validate (according to W3C)?" This video is part of a "Grab Bag" series in which Matt Cutts, head of Google's webspam team, answers questions from webmasters. We're not currently taking new video questions, so your best bet for getting an answer about webmaster-related search issues is to head to our help forum: http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/Webmasters?hl=en


Is it necessary for every page to have a meta description?

Is it necessary for each single page within my website to have a unique metatag description? Walter, Leiden, Netherlands Learn more about titles and descriptions: https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/35624 Have a question? Ask it in our Webmaster Help Forum: http://groups.google.com/a/googleproductforums.com/forum/#!forum/webmasters Want your question to be answered on a video like this? Follow us on Twitter and look for an announcement when we take new questions: http://twitter.com/googlewmc More videos: http://www.youtube.com/GoogleWebmasterHelp Webmaster Central Blog: http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/ Webmaster Central: http://www.google.com/webmasters/


Is comma a separator in a title tag?

Hi Matt. More and more websites started using comma (,) as a separator in title tag (less pipes or dashes). Is comma really a separator OR if it's better for the visitors it's better for SEO ? Thanks ! Adrian, Europe Have a question? Ask it in our Webmaster Help Forum: http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/Webmasters?hl=en Want your question to be answered on a video like this? Follow us on Twitter and look for an announcement when we take new questions: http://twitter.com/googlewmc More videos: http://www.youtube.com/GoogleWebmasterHelp Webmaster Central Blog: http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/ Webmaster Central: http://www.google.com/webmasters


SMX Advanced 2012 keynote: Matt Cutts on Affiliate Links

From the "You & A with Matt Cutts" keynote conversation at SMX Advanced in Seattle, June 2012. Google's Matt Cutts talks about affiliate links.


Is freshness an important signal for all sites?

Google has expressed in the past that frequently updated pages get a boost in rankings (QDF), that seems to favor blogs and news sites over company sites, which have less reason to be updated often. How important of a signal is "freshness"? Ivan, Canada Have a question? Ask it in our Webmaster Help Forum: http://groups.google.com/a/googleproductforums.com/forum/#!forum/webmasters Want your question to be answered on a video like this? Follow us on Twitter and look for an announcement when we take new questions: http://twitter.com/googlewmc More videos: http://www.youtube.com/GoogleWebmasterHelp Webmaster Central Blog: http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/ Webmaster Central: http://www.google.com/webmasters


Which is better: an HTML site map or XML Sitemap?

Raj in India asks: "HTML site map v/s XML Sitemap. Which one is yummy for Google search engine spider?"


Is it still important to offer a site map to users?

In addition to using Webmaster Tools to submit an XML Sitemap to Google, how important is it to also have a sitemap for users? It seems like nobody does this anymore. Is it still important in Web 2.0?


Can the geographic location of a web server affect SEO?

Lee from the UK asks: "Hi Matt, could you confirm whether the geographic location of the web host has any significant ranking factors for organic SEO?" Recorded on April 23, 2009.


What impact does server location have on rankings?

Rob Lewicki from Toronto, Ontario asks: "What impact does server location have on Google rankings?"


Can a site's downtime affect its ranking?

Last year, one of my client's webservers went down for over a day. Would this have affected the site's PageRank at all? Hypothetically, what if this had happened for longer--could it actually drop the site from Google's index? Land Lubber, Colorado


How does Google consider site-wide backlinks?

Are sitewide backlinks considered good or bad by Google? Or do they just count as 1 link from the whole domain? Chris Trynkiewicz, Cracow, Poland Have a question? Ask it in our Webmaster Help Forum: http://groups.google.com/a/googleproductforums.com/forum/#!forum/webmasters Want your question to be answered on a video like this? Follow us on Twitter and look for an announcement when we take new questions: http://twitter.com/googlewmc More videos: http://www.youtube.com/GoogleWebmasterHelp Webmaster Central Blog: http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/ Webmaster Central: http://www.google.com/webmasters/