Google SEO Ranking Factors & Link Value Factors Simplified – 2007

Google SEO Ranking FactorsEarly this year SEOmoz.com published search engine ranking factors 2007 document, they asked 37 well known SEO Gurus in the world of Organic search engine optimization to vote on the importance of a variety of Google Search Engine Ranking Factors that comprise Google’s ranking algorithun. Here is a summarized table of all factors in order of importance.

“it is my opinion that 90-95% of the knowledge required about Google’s algorithm is contained below.” Rand Fishkin said.

Ranking Factors are classified under 4 categories:

Keyword Use Factors (Keywords):
The following components relate to the use of the user’s search query terms in determining the rank of a particular page.

Page Attribute (Page):
The following elements comprise how the Google interprets specific data about a webpage independent of keywords

Site/Domain Attributes (Site/Domain):
The factors below contribute to Google’s rankings based on the site/domain on which a page resides.

Inbound Link Attribute (Links):
These pieces affect Google’s weighting of links from external websites pointing to a page.

The contributors rated each factor on a scale of 1 – 5:

1. Does Not Influence Ranking
2. Fractionally Weighted
3. Some Importance
4. Moderately Weighted
5. Strongly Weighted

Google SEO Ranking Factors

Importance Google Ranking Factors Agreement Category
4.9
Keyword Use in Title Tag: Placing the targeted search term or phrase in the title tag of the web page’s HTML header
0.4
Keywords
4.4
Global Link Popularity of Site: The overall link weight/authority as measured by links from any and all sites across the web (both link quality and quantity)
0.9
Keywords
4.4
Anchor Text of Inbound Link
0.8
Keywords
4.1
Age of Site: Not the date of original registration of the domain, but rather the launch of indexable content seen by the search engines (note that this can change if a domain switches ownership)
1.1
Keywords
4
Link Popularity within the Site’s Internal Link Structure: Refers to the number and importance of internal links pointing to the target page
0.9
Keywords
3.9
Topical Relevance of Inbound Links to Site: The subject-specific relationship between the sites/pages linking to the target page and the target keyword
1.1
Keywords
3.9
Link Popularity of Site in Topical Community: The link weight/authority of the target website amongst its topical peers in the online world
1.1
Keywords
3.7
Keyword Use in Body Text: Using the targeted search term in the visible, HTML text of the page
1
Keywords
3.6
Global Link Popularity of Linking Site
1.3
Keywords
3.5
Link Popularity of Site in Topical Community
1.2
Keywords
3.5
Quality/Relevance of Links to External Sites/Pages: Do links on the page point to high quality, topically-related pages?
1
Keywords
3.5
Rate of New Inbound Links to Site: The frequency and timing of external sites linking in to the given domain
0.9
Page
3.4
Age of Document: Older pages may be perceived as more authoritative while newer pages may be more temporally relevant
1.2
Page
3.4
Relationship of Body Text Content to Keywords (Topic Analysis): Topical relevance of text on the page compared to targeted keywords
1
Page
3.3
Keyword Use in H1 Tag: Creating an H1 tag with the targeted search term/phrase
1.1
Page
3.2
Amount of Indexable Text Content: Refers to the literal quantity of visible HTML text on a page
1.2
Page
3.2
Age of Link
Page
3.1
Relevance of Site’s Primary Subject Matter to Query: The topical relationships between the full content of a website and a user’s given query
1.4
Page
3.1
Topical Relationship of Linking Site
1.2
Page
3.1
Text Surrounding the Link
0.9
Page
3
Quality of the Document Content (as measured algorithmically): Assuming search engines can use text, visual or other analysis methods to determine the validity and value of content, this metric would provide some level of rating
1.3
Page
3
Keyword Use in Domain Name: Including the targeted term/phrase in the registered domain name, i.e. keyword.com
1.2
Site/Domain
2.8
Historical Performance of Site as Measured by Time Spent on Page, Clickthroughs from SERPs, Direct Visits, Bookmarks, etc.: Metric of click-through-rate, time spent on a page/site, direct navigation via bookmarks, etc. that Google may be measuring through use of their toolbar, free wifi, Google analytics, etc. (note that this is purely speculation as Google has never publicly admitted to monitoring or recording this data)
1.3
Site/Domain
2.8
Internal Link Popularity of Linking Page within Host Site/Domain
1.2
Site/Domain
2.8
Organization/Hierarchy of Document Flow (i.e. broad > narrow): The construction of document text flow – i.e. journalistic style generally dictates a detail-oriented introduction, a broad level overview of the issue and increasing specificity and detail as the article continues.
1.1
Site/Domain
2.8
Keyword Use in Page URL: Including target terms in the webpage URL, i.e. seomoz.org/keyword-phrase
1
Site/Domain
2.8
Keyword Use in H2, H3, H(x) Tags: Placing targeted terms in the H2, H3 headline HTML tags
0.9
Site/Domain
2.6
Manual Authority/Weight Given to Site by Google: Google is occassionally suspected or accused of applying manual manipulation to a domain or page (note that this factor refers specifically to positive ranking manipulation)
1.7
Site/Domain
2.6
TLD Extension of Site (edu, gov, us, ca, com, etc): The top-level domain extension of the site. Note that some domains, such as .edu, .gov, .mil and others have restrictions on who may purchase them
1.2
Site/Domain
2.6
Keyword Use in Alt Tags and Image Titles: Using target keywords inside alt HTML tags and img title tags
0.8
Site/Domain
2.5
Domain Extension of Linking Site (edu, gov, com, ca, co.uk, etc)
1.2
Site/Domain
2.5
Rate of New Pages Added to Site: The amount & frequency of new, spiderable documents added to the domain over time
1
Site/Domain
2.5
Temporal Link Attributes (when in time the link was created/updated)
1
Links
2.4
Frequency of Updates to Page: The number and time frame of changes made to the document over time
1.1
Links
2.4
PageRank (as measured by the GG Toolbar) of Linking Page
1
Links
2.3
Keyword Use in Bold/Strong Tags: Positioning keyword in HTML text with strong/bold attributes
1
Links
2
Keyword Use in Meta Description Tag: Utilizing keywords in the meta description tag in a webpage’s HTML header
1.1
Links
2
Number of Queries for Site/Domain over Time: The frequency of searches for the domain name or the company/organization’s brand as measured through Google’s search query logs
1
Links
1.9
Number of Trailing Slashes (/) in URL
1
Links
1.8
Accuracy of Spelling & Grammar: The literal correctness of spelling and grammar as related to the language of the document
1
Links
1.4
HTML Validation of Document (to W3C Standards): Validation of HTML page code as per the W3C consortium, an authoritative body on the standards of web-compatible code
0.6
Links
1.2
Keyword Use in Meta Keywords Tag: Utilizing keywords in the meta keywords tag in a webpage’s HTML header
0.5
Links

Google Negative Ranking Factors

The 37 SEO Gurus also voted on the importance of Google’s Negative Ranking Factors. These search engine ranking factors may negatively affect a spider’s ability to crawl a page or its rankings at Google.

The contributors rated each negative factor on a scale of 1 – 5:

1. Does not inhibit crawling nor harm rankings
2. Slightly detrimental to crawling/rankings
3. Somewhat detrimental to crawling/rankings
4. Moderately detrimental to crawling/rankings
5. Strongly detrimental to crawling/rankings

Importance Negative Crawling/Ranking Attributes Agreement
3.8
Server is Often Inaccessible to Bots 1.3
3.6
Content Very Similar or Duplicate of Existing Content in the Index 1.2
3.6
External Links to Low Quality/Spam Sites 1.2
3.3
Duplicate Title/Meta Tags on Many Pages 1.3
3.3
Overuse of Targeted Keywords (Stuffing/Spamming)  
3.3
Participation in Link Schemes or Actively Selling Links 1.4
2.8
Very Slow Server Response Times 1
2.1
Inbound Links from Spam Sites 1
2.1
Low Levels of Visitors to the Site (Measured via Toolbar, Clicks in SERPs, etc.) 1

Link Value Factors

Link Value FactorsSimilar to SEOmoz’ Search Engine Ranking Factors, Wiep.net published Link Value Factors after asking 17 well respected, international SEO and Link Building professionals on 40 link factors. These Link Value factors mainly focus on the value that search engines may allocate to a link.

Every factor has been rated on a scale from 1 to 5 by the participants:

1. Not of any influence on the value
2. Fractional effect on link value
3. Moterate influence on the link value
4. Strong influence on the link
5. Very strong influencing factor

Link Value Factors are classified in 3 categoris:
Link Factors (links):
Only factors directly related to the link itself and no on-page or on-domain stuff yet.

On Page Factors (on-page)
On-page factors that might (or might not) influence the value of a link. In stead of factors that are part of the link or are in the link’s direct surroundings, the focus is on the pages that lists the link here.

On Domain Factors (domain)
On-domain factors. While lots of factors that influence the value of a link are in the direct surrounding of this link, there are several domain wide factors that might influence this value as well. The most important ones will be discussed in this section.

Importance Ranking Factor Agreement Category
4.6
Anchor Text: Is the anchor text of a link of influence on the value of a link? For example, does it matter if the link is a URL, the company name or a relevant keyword?
high agreement
Links
4.4
Domain authority (in quality of backlinks): Does the domain authority, solely measured in the overall quality of backlinks, influence the value of a link? 
high agreement
Domain
4.4
Page authority (in inbound links): Does the page have a lot of incoming links from external pages? Does it have an effect on the link’s value if the linking page has a lot of backlinks?
mildly controversial
On-Page
4.3
Amount of outbound links on page: Does the amount of outbound links on the linking page have an effect on the value of the link? (outbound links only)
mildly controversial
On-Page
4.1
Total amount of links on page: Does the total amount of links on the linking page have an effect on the value of the link? (both inbound and outbound links)
mildly controversial
On-Page
4.1
Age of domain: Does the age of the domain (with age as in registry date) have an effect on the value of a link? 
mildly controversial
Domain
3.9
Relevant authority (in rankings on relevant keywords): Can the domain authority, purely measured in the SERPs of the domain (or page) for link relevant keywords, influence the value of a link? For example, does the page that links to your page about widgets rank for the keyword "widgets"?
somewhat controversial
Domain
3.8
Page authority (in internal links): Does the page have a lot of incoming links from other pages on the same domain? For example, does it have an effect on the link’s value if the page is well linked or if the linking page is an (almost) orphaned page?
somewhat controversial
On-Page
3.6
Age of the link: Does the age of a link have an effect on the value of a link? For example, is there a difference in value if a link is two weeks or two years old?
mildly controversial
Links
3.5
Type of link (image, text): Does the type of link, for example a text link or an image link, have an effect on the value of a link? 
highly controversial
Links
3.4
Age of the page: Is the age of the page of influence on the value of a link? For example, is a new link on an older page of more value than a new link on a new page?
mildly controversial
On-Page
3.4
Relevance of other outbound links: Does the relevance of the other outbound links on the linking page have an effect on the value of the link? For example, is your link between a link to a car dealer and a link to the paleontologist society? (relevance of the outbound links only)
somewhat controversial
On-Page
3.3
Surrounding text (near-link relevance): Does the content of a text that directly surrounds a link of positive influence the value of a link? This question only covers the content that surrounds the link directly. The overall page relevance will be mentioned later on.
mildly controversial
Links
3.2
Page relevance (contextual relevance): Is the page overall contextually relevant to the subject of the page where the link is pointing to? For example, this would mean a link on a car dealer website to a car manufacturer.
somewhat controversial
On-Page
3.2
Number of links: Does the amount of links, for example a single link or a site wide link, have an effect on the value of a link? 
mildly controversial
Links
3.1
Domain authority (in # of backlinks): Does the domain authority, purely measured in the amount of backlinks, influence the value of a link? 
controversial
Domain
3.1
Quality of other outbound links: Does the quality of other outbound links have an effect on the value of a link? For example, is your link between a link to CNN.com and a link to Adobe.com? (quality of the outbound links only)
somewhat controversial
On-Page
2.9
Reciprocity: Is it a one way link, or are you linking back? 
controversial
Links
2.9
Target page (where the link points to) location: Is the target page (does the link point to your homepage, is it a deeplink, does it point to an orphaned page) of influence on the value of a link? 
controversial
Links
2.9
Location of link on page (boiler plate): What kind of effect does the location of a link on a page, for example blogroll, body or footer link, have on the value of a link? This factor only covers the position of the link on the linking page.
mildly controversial
Links
2.9
Amount of non-linking content on page (is it a link or content page): Is the amount of linking versus the amount of non linking content of influence on the value of a link? For example, the percentage of linking content on a sitemap or in a directory is much higher than in a descriptive or an informational page. Does this have an effect on the value of the link? 
mildly controversial
On-Page
2.7
Domain authority (in PageRank): Is the domain authority, solely measured in the Google PageRank of the domain, an influential factor in determining the value of a link? 
controversial
Domain
2.6
URL of the page: Is the URL structure of the linking page’s URL (clean url, url with keywords, parametered url) a possible influencing factor on the value of a link? 
controversial
On-Page
2.6
Domain authority (in rankings on irrelevant keywords): Does the domain authority, purely measured in the rankings the domain (or page) achieves on link irrelevant keywords, influence the value of a link? For example, does the page that links to your page about widgets rank for the keyword "flowers"?
controversial
Domain
2.4
Page authority (in PageRank): Does the Google Toolbar PageRank have an effect on the value of a link? As it is impossible to determine the actual PageRank, this question covers Toolbar PR only.
controversial
On-Page
2.4
Last date of page edit (content freshness): Does the update frequency of a page have influence on the value of a link? Is a link on a page that is being updated frequently of more value than a link on a page that has been edited only once (while inserting the link)? 
somewhat controversial
On-Page
2.4
Domain relevance: Is the domain overall contextually relevant to the subject of the domain where the link is pointing to? 
somewhat controversial
Domain
2.3
TLD (.com, .edu, etc.) -based on TLD alone-: Does the TLD of a domain, for example .com, .in, .gov or .edu (and the TLD alone), have an effect on the value of a link? 
highly controversial
Domain
1.9
Location of link in source code: Does the location of the link in the source code (for example top 5% or last 20 Kb) have an effect on the value of a link? This factor only covers the position of the link in the page’s source code.
mildly controversial
Links
1.7
Page type (.html, .php, .pdf, .doc): Can the extention of the page that links to you, for example .php, .pdf, .html or .aspx, influence the value of a link? 
mildly controversial
On-Page
1.1
Alexa ranking: Is the Alexa ranking of a website of influence on the search engine value of a link? 
high agreement
Domain

Dampening Link Value Factors

Damping Link Value Factors doesn’t mean that these factors have a negative effect (e.g. as in a penalizing effect) on the link, it only means these factors might be able (or not) to make the link of lesser value.

These factors could have also be named “possible link juice reducing factors”, but dampening factors was shorter. Wiep Knol said.

These factors have also been rated on a 1 to 5 scale:

1. No negative effects at all
2. Slight negative effect on the value
3. Somewhat negative effects
4. Big negative effect on the link value
5. Maximum negative effect

Importance Negative (Dampening) Factor Agreement
4.8
Robots.txt excluded page: Does it have an effect when the link is on a robots.txt excluded page?  high agreement
4.5
Link is on penalized page: Does it have influence on the link when the linking page has been penalized? (Penalized as in: the page doesn’t score for it’s title tag and/ or a similar query) mildly controversial
3.9
Javascript link: Does it have an effect on the value of a link if the link is a javascript link?  somewhat controversial
3.9
Redirect link: Does it have an effect on the value of a link if the link is in fact a (temporary 302) redirect?  controversial
3.6
Bad neighborhood links are present on linking page: Does the presence of links on the linking page that point to bad neighborhood websites have an effect on the value of the link that points to your website?  mildly controversial
3.4
Paid Link triggers: Does the presence of paid link triggers, such as a TLA code, a PPP code or a ‘sponsored links’ section, have any influence on the link value? (despite of the fact that you’ve paid for the link or not) mildly controversial
2.9
Noindex page: Does it have an effect when the link is on a page that has a noindex meta tag?  highly controversial

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