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Complete List of Search Ranking Factors

A Brief Introduction: This page features an ever-growing list of measurable components that search engines might/should use to rank websites and pages on their "results pages". The SEO factors listed here are what is believed to be an organized and concise grouping of every metric that can be used to grade and analyze a webpage, essentially to determine it's value and hence rank within the SERPs.Each metric is discussed in detailed and used as input for the ranking function

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Metadata and Page Details
Metadata and Page Details
Creator: Devin Peterson
Date: Created 01/16/2014
Subject: Search Engine Optimization, Algorithm Analysis, SEO, Ranking Factors
Publisher: DNM Int'l
Peer Review:
Citation: Peterson, D. (2014), "SEO Ranking Factors, Retrieved (date), from

Analyzing Ranking Factors

A ranking factor is the term we use to refer to a component or metric of a given webpage that can be used to help gauge the level of quality of a website and/or its relevance to a particular word or phrase. You could also consider a ranking factor a variable within the search engine algorithms that compute a site's rank among their result's pages.

The most important aspect of building a search engine algorithm is to define and implement a system of variables that are used to rank websites on a search results page that corresponds to a user's query. The variables are gathered from various components of a webpage and input to a ranking function which is essentially a partial equation. The ranking function turns an initial set of variables into a single variable which then gets added to a larger equation to compute the final value of an unknown term. The whole system of equations is known as an algorithm.

Each ranking factor discussed on this site will be analyzed in full detail and have the initial equation or ranking function generated on the page. In the final analysis, all the individual rankings functions will be combined to form a complete algorithm. Be warned, some ranking functions may be several lines long, and the algorithm consists of hundreds of unique functions.

The two biggest factors to consider when organizing a results page, is the relevance and quality of each result, as it pertains to the user's query. These two parameters are often independent of each other and can be measured and quantified in a variety of ways. Potentially hundreds of variables may be used to issue both a "relevancy score" and a "quality score". Each score will be considered when displaying the results among the SERPs. You'll see that of all the variables a search engine would use to rank a webpage, they can all be divided into two main categories. Relevance and Quality.


The precise definition of relevance is somewhat elusive, yet it is important for reasons that seem obvious. In early days of the old search engines, measuring relevance to word or phrase that a user submitted was really the only tool necessary to display useful results to the user. But with the addition of millions of new webpages, many similar in content, another factor needed to be incorporated, since there could be thousands of results equally relevant to a search term.


The quality of something, anything, can be a very subjective matter. When analyzing a body of work, such as a written paper (since webpages are similar in nature), the quality can be widely disputed. But regardless, if a consensus can be made, something with higher quality is said to be more superior, distinguishing, and excellent.

Full List of Ranking Factors For SEO

SEO Ranking Factors

  • Domain Name Age
  • URL Linguistics and Length
  • File Name Keywords
  • Date of Expiration
  • URL Parameters
  • Keywords in Main Body of Content
  • Keyword Density/Frequency
  • Keyword Prominence
  • Related Keywords (LSI or Latent Semantic Indexing)
  • Keyword Stemming (Stems, Stemmed, Stem)
  • Keyword Synonyms
  • Keyword Semantics (Bold, Italics, Font Size, etc..)
  • Images - Placement, Titles, Alt Tags, Prominence, Surrounding Text, Size, File Name
  • Length of Text/Content on Page
  • Originality of Content
  • Typographical Errors and Grammar
  • Coding Errors and Efficiency - Broken Links, Improper Nesting, Tables, CSS etc..
  • Crawlability - Frames, JAVA, Image Based, Robots, etc...
  • Viewer Metrics - Time on Page, Bounce Rate, Page Views Per Visitor, Return Rate, etc..
  • Linking Structure and Navigation
  • Outbound Links - Prominence, Keywords, Source Quality and Relevance
  • Inbound Links - Prominence, Keywords, Source Quality and Relevance
  • Sitemaps
  • Metadata - Titles, Description, Keywords, Author, Abstract, etc...
  • Trust Authority - Trust Badges like BBB, Verisign, GeoTrust, Godaddy Site Seal, etc...
  • Frequency of updates and new content as well as age and timelessness of content.
  • Social Media Presence - Likes, G+ 1s, Tweets, YouTube hits, Linkedin, etc...
  • Forum Popularity
  • Video Optimization
  • Schema and Rich Snippets
  • Pair Advertising
  • Locality
  • HTML5 Elements

Semantics and Linguistic Structure

  • Typographical Errors
  • Linguistic Scores and Literacy Test
  • Formatting and Organization
  • Text Mark-Ups and Semantic Language
  • Keyword Usage