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What influences the Google ranking? The top 50 ranking factors for 2024

Veröffentlicht: 17. April 2024
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It is in great demand. The first page of the Google search engine. Because only those who are listed there will be found. Over 95% of internet users use the search engine giant Google to find information, clarify questions and find suitable products and service providers.

If you want to position and present yourself in the first rows in front of your target group, you need a good Google ranking. It must be classified by Google as a relevant and trustworthy website.

But how does that work? How do you know which screws to turn and how to optimize your site so that Google declares you a favorite and puts you among the top search results?

Today I’ll show you the most important ranking factors and give you a few tips along the way!

If you are in a hurry, here are the most important points in brief:

This is my personal assessment of the current ranking criteria (as of April 2024).

How does the Google ranking work?

Google has a specific algorithm and ranking factors according to which it classifies and evaluates websites. Unfortunately, this algorithm changes as frequently as the weather forecast in April and is regularly the subject of heated and insistent debate among online marketing and SEO experts.

Nevertheless, there are certain Google ranking factors that you can use as a guide. Criteria that can be used to optimize your website for search engines. This leads to Google becoming aware over time and rewarding SEO optimization with a steadily higher ranking in the search results.

Perhaps you have already dealt with the topics of SEO and Google ranking. There are many theories floating around, some of which are more confusing than clear.

User signals, anchor text, search index, bounce or click through rate and so on, the question is: what really matters for successful SEO online marketing?

What influences a Google ranking and which factors are decisive for achieving high search results?

List: The 50 most important Google ranking factors for 2024

In total, there are over 200 ranking factors with which Google evaluates websites, traffic and digital interaction. Nobody knows exactly how the algorithm works. I have summarized the 50 most important ranking criteria for you in this list.

Content Quality

1. high quality content

Explanation: High-quality content is informative, well-researched and offers real added value for the reader. Google wants to provide its users with top results. Present a search result that delivers exactly what a searcher wants. It should fully satisfy a search and show content that is of high quality.

SEO influence: They promote longer dwell times and lower bounce rates, which has a positive effect on the ranking.

Tip: Focus on quality rather than quantity and clear, precise and reliable information.

2. content relevance

Explanation: Relevant content speaks directly to the interests and needs of the target group.

SEO influence: Directly relevant content improves search engine rankings because it meets the search intent of users.

Tip: Understand your target group and their search intentions precisely.

3. keyword optimization

Explanation: The correct use and placement of keywords makes content findable for search engines.

SEO influence: Targeted keyword optimization & keyword analysis can increase visibility and ranking in search results.

Tip: Use keywords naturally and in context to avoid over-optimization. Don’t limit yourself to a certain keyword density, but think in semantic concepts.

4. depth of content

Explanation: In-depth content covers a topic comprehensively and answers all relevant questions.

SEO influence: Deeper content signals a high level of expertise and authority to search engines.

Tip: Integrate different perspectives and detailed analyses into your texts.

5. topicality of the contents

Explanation: Current content reflects the latest information and trends.

SEO influence: Regularly updated content is considered more relevant by Google.

Tip: Keep your content regularly up to date and react to current developments.

6. originality

Explanation: Original content offers unique perspectives or information that cannot be found anywhere else.

SEO influence: Unique content is preferred by search engines and can improve the ranking.

Tip: Offer new insights or unexpected angles on familiar topics.

7. legibility

Explanation: Easy-to-read texts are clearly structured and easy to understand. A clear structure, many paragraphs, subheadings and clear bullet points are much easier to read than long continuous texts.

SEO influence: High readability improves the user experience and promotes longer dwell times on the page.

Tip: Use short paragraphs, subheadings and simple language to increase readability.

Summary

Content quality is the #1 ranking factor

The quality of your content is still the most important evaluation factor for Google. Every SEO strategy starts with content!

OnPage factors (at page level)

8. optimization of the title tag

Explanation: The title tag specifies the title of a website and is an important SEO factor.

SEO influence: An optimized title tag improves the click rate and relevance in search results.

Tip: Integrate the main keyword at the beginning of the title tag and keep it concise and meaningful.

9. meta descriptions

Explanation: Meta descriptions provide a brief summary of the content of a page.

SEO influence: Although they do not directly influence the ranking, they can increase the click-through rate.

Tip: Write appealing descriptions that encourage clicks and contain relevant keywords.

10. header tags

Explanation: Header tags structure the content and help search engines to understand the hierarchy of information.

SEO influence: Correct use of header tags (H1, H2, etc.) supports SEO through better content structuring.

Tip: Use H1 for the main title and H2 for subheadings to clearly delineate topic blocks.

11. URL structure

Explanation: A clear and logical URL structure makes it easier for search engines to crawl and understand a page.

SEO influence: Speaking URLs with keywords can have a positive influence on the ranking.

Tip: Keep URLs short, use hyphens to separate them and include important keywords.

12. image optimization

Explanation: Optimization of images includes file size, alt texts and format.

SEO impact: Faster loading images improve page speed and user experience.

Tip: Reduce the file size, use descriptive alt texts and choose the right image format.

13. page speed

Explanation: The loading time of a page is crucial for the user experience and SEO.

SEO influence: Fast loading pages improve both user retention and ranking.

Tip: Optimize images, minimize code and use caching to reduce loading times.

14 Mobile user-friendliness

Explanation: Pages must be easy to use and read on mobile devices.

SEO influence: Good mobile usability is a ranking factor, especially since Google’s mobile-first indexing.

Tip: Make sure your website is responsive and works well on different devices.

15. internal linking

Explanation: Internal links connect your own content and help to create an information structure.

SEO influence: Effective internal links distribute page authority and improve crawlability.

Tip: Set meaningful internal links that connect thematically related content and offer users added value.

Summary

Don’t forget classic on-page measures

For improved Google rankings and user experience, focus on optimizing title tags, meta descriptions, header tags, URL structures, images, page speed, mobile usability and internal linking to maximize the visibility and functionality of your website.

OnPage factors (at domain level)

16. page architecture

Explanation: The structure of a website influences how easily search engines can find and index the content.

SEO influence: A clear hierarchy and simple navigation support the ranking by simplifying crawling.

Tip: Plan and implement a logical structure based on the needs of the users.

17. sitemap

Explanation: A sitemap lists all available pages of a website and helps search engines to crawl it.

SEO influence: An up-to-date sitemap can make crawling more efficient and improve indexing.

Tip: Always keep your sitemap up to date and make sure that it contains all important pages.

18. server location

Explanation: The physical location of the server can influence the loading speed for regional users.

SEO influence: Servers that are geographically closer to the target group can load faster and improve the user experience.

Tip: Choose a server location that is close to your main target group.

19 HTTPS

Explanation: HTTPS is a protocol for secure data transmission on the Internet.

SEO influence: Google (and users) prefer secure websites, and HTTPS is a well-known ranking factor.

Tip: Make sure your website uses HTTPS to promote both security and SEO.

20. website availability

Explanation: Website availability refers to how often and reliably a website can be accessed.

SEO impact: Frequent outages can negatively impact rankings by disrupting the user experience.

Tip: Choose a reliable hosting provider and monitor the uptime of your website.

21. breadcrumbs

Explanation: Breadcrumbs are navigational aids that show the user’s position on the website.

SEO impact: They improve the user experience and help search engines understand the structure of the website.

Tip: Implement breadcrumbs to make navigation easier and strengthen the internal link structure.

22 Mobile-Friendly Design

Explanation: A mobile-friendly design ensures that the website works well on mobile devices.

SEO influence: Mobile usability is a critical ranking factor, especially since the introduction of mobile-first indexing by Google.

Tip: Use responsive design principles to ensure that your website looks and works well on all devices.

Summary

OnPage SEO also counts at domain level

Optimize the site architecture, always update the sitemap, choose a strategic server location, implement HTTPS, ensure constant website availability, use breadcrumbs for better navigation and ensure a mobile-friendly design to maximize the visibility and usability of your website.

Explanation: The number of backlinks is a measure of how many other websites link to a particular web page.

SEO influence: More backlinks can increase the authority of a website and improve its ranking.

Tip: Promote the creation of content that naturally generates backlinks through high quality and relevance. Or wait until you retire for it to work. It is better to actively take care of backlink building.

Explanation: The quality of the backlinks refers to how relevant and trustworthy the linking pages are.

SEO influence: High-quality backlinks from authoritative sources have a stronger positive influence on the ranking.

Tip: Aim for backlinks from established websites in your industry that have a high level of credibility themselves.

25. diversity of the anchor text

Explanation: Anchor text is the clickable text of a link. A variety of anchor texts can indicate a natural link structure.

SEO influence: Search engines use the diversity of anchor text to evaluate the relevance and naturalness of backlinks.

Tip: Avoid excessive repetition of the same anchor text and use varying, relevant phrases instead.

26. age of the linking domain

Explanation: Older domains that link are often considered more trustworthy.

SEO influence: Links from long-standing domains can contribute positively to trustworthiness and ranking.

Tip: Build relationships with established websites and promote long-term partnerships.

27. links from authority sites

Explanation: Links from websites with high authority, such as well-known industry leaders or educational institutions, are particularly valuable.

SEO influence: Such backlinks can significantly increase trust in your site and improve search engine rankings.

Tip: The goal is to create content that is considered link-worthy by these high-ranking sites. Get involved in relevant communities and offer valuable resources.

Summary

Build backlinks!

Still one of the (or currently THE) most important ranking factor. High-quality backlinks will boost your ranking or enable you to enter the SERPs for competitive keywords in the first place.

Technical SEO

28. canonical tags

Explanation: Canonical tags tell search engines which version of a page is the main version if similar or identical content exists.

SEO influence: They prevent problems with duplicate content and strengthen the relevance of the main page.

Tip: Use canonical tags carefully to ensure that the right pages are indexed.

29. robots.txt

Explanation: The Robots.txt file tells search engines which areas of the website should not be crawled.

SEO influence: Correct configuration can make crawling more efficient and prevent irrelevant pages from being indexed.

Tip: Check and update Robots.txt regularly to control search engine access correctly.

30. schema markup

Explanation: Schema markup is a code that helps search engines to better understand the content of a page and highlight it in the SERPs.

SEO influence: It improves the presentation in search results and can increase the click-through rate.

Tip: Implement structured data to use features such as rich snippets and improved search results.

31st Core Web Vitals

Explanation: Core Web Vitals are specific factors that Google considers important for the overall user experience on websites.

SEO influence: Good values in these metrics are beneficial for the ranking, especially loading speed and interactivity.

Tip: Optimize loading times, interactivity and visual stability to improve the Core Web Vitals.

32 AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages)

Explanation: AMP is a framework that was specially developed for fast loading of mobile pages.

SEO impact: AMP pages load faster, which can lead to a better user experience and potentially better rankings.

Tip: Consider implementing AMP for high-traffic pages to improve loading speed on mobile devices.

Summary

Take technical SEO seriously!

Implement technical SEO strategies such as canonical tags to avoid duplicate content, optimize robots.txt for efficient crawling, use schema markup to improve SERP display, improve core web vitals for an optimal user experience and consider implementing AMP to speed up loading times on mobile devices.

User signals

33 Click-Through Rate (CTR)

Explanation: The click-through rate measures how often users click on a search result after they have seen it.

SEO influence: A high CTR can be an indicator of relevance for search queries and influence the ranking.

Tip: Improve titles and meta descriptions to increase the CTR.

34. bounce rate

Explanation: The bounce rate measures the percentage of visitors who leave the website without viewing other pages.

SEO influence: A high bounce rate can indicate poor user experience or irrelevant content.

Tip: Improve content relevance and user guidance on the homepage.

35. dwell time (dwell time)

Explanation: Dwell time is the time visitors spend on a page before returning to the search engine.

SEO influence: Longer dwell time can be an indicator of the quality and relevance of the content.

Tip: Offer in-depth, interesting content and interactive elements to keep users on the site for longer.

36. pogo-sticking

Explanation: So-called “pogo-sticking” occurs when a user jumps back and forth between the search results and the various websites.

SEO influence: Frequent pogo-sticking can be a sign of dissatisfaction with search results and affect rankings.

Tip: Optimize the first sections of your content to immediately communicate relevance and value.

Summary

Optimize the user signals

…by improving click-through rates through engaging titles and descriptions, reducing bounce rates through relevant content, increasing dwell time through interesting and in-depth content, and minimizing pogo-sticking through instantly recognizable value and relevance of your content.

Social Signals

37. presence in social media

Explanation: Social media presence refers to how active and visible a brand or website is on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

SEO influence: A strong social media presence can indirectly influence SEO by increasing brand awareness and website traffic.

Tip: Build a consistent presence that regularly shares valuable content and interacts with the target group.

38. social shares

Explanation: Social shares are the number of times that content from a website is shared on social networks.

SEO influence: Although social shares do not directly influence the ranking, they increase visibility and can lead to more backlinks.

Tip: Create shareable content that contains informative, entertaining or emotional elements to increase the likelihood of shares.

Brand Signals

39. brand queries

Explanation: Brand name searches measure how often the name of a brand is searched for directly in search engines.

SEO influence: Frequent searches for a brand can be interpreted as a sign of trustworthiness and familiarity and improve the ranking.

Tip: Strengthen brand awareness through targeted marketing and high-quality interactions with customers.

40. online brand mentions

Explanation: Online brand mentions are references or citations of a brand on other websites or in social media.

SEO influence: Mentions of the brand on trusted sites can increase the relevance and authority of the brand in the eyes of search engines.

Tip: Promote positive brand mentions through active PR, high-quality content and engagement in relevant communities.

Summary

Use all channels

Social and brand signals can indirectly influence your ranking. So also take care of other marketing channels.

Personalization

41. country

Explanation: The customization of search results based on the country in which the user is located.

SEO influence: Localized content can rank higher in search results if it is tailored to the respective country.

Tip: Optimize your content for specific markets with localized keywords and culturally relevant information.

42. locality

Explanation: The customization of search results to the user’s specific city or region.

SEO influence: Pages optimized for local search queries have a higher chance of appearing in local search results.

Tip: Use local SEO strategies, such as listing in local directories and optimizing for local keywords.

43 Search history of the user

Explanation: Search engines adapt the search results based on the user’s previous search queries.

SEO influence: Content that is relevant to the user’s previous interactions can be displayed higher in the search results.

Tip: Create engaging content that encourages users to come back to your site repeatedly to increase relevance in their search history.

Summary

Consider individualization

For some search queries, a high degree of personalization of the search results is unavoidable. Optimize your content for current and local queries if required.

Algorithm updates

44. compliance with the latest updates

Explanation: The adaptation of websites to the latest search engine algorithm updates.

SEO influence: Up-to-date compliance can improve rankings and ensure that the website meets modern SEO standards.

Tip: Always stay informed about the latest updates and adapt your SEO strategies accordingly.

45. avoidance of penalties

Explanation: Taking measures to avoid penalties from search engines, e.g. for spamming or black-hat SEO techniques.

SEO influence: Avoiding penalties is logically crucial in order to maintain a good ranking in the long term.

Tip: Stick to search engine guidelines and avoid overly aggressive or misleading SEO tactics. At least if you care about your domain.

Summary

Stay up to date

Google updates are becoming more and more frequent and can turn your Google rankings completely upside down. Always stay up to date and avoid aggressive blackhat strategies if you want to remain successful in the long term.

Special rules of the Google algorithm

46 SafeSearch filtering

Explanation: Google’s SafeSearch helps to filter explicit content in the search results.

SEO influence: Content that is marked as explicit can be suppressed in SafeSearch restricted environments.

Tip: Make sure that your content can generally be classified as safe to ensure broad visibility.

47. image recognition in content

Explanation: Google can analyze images and understand their context in relation to the text content.

SEO influence: Optimized images that are relevant to the text can improve SEO, especially in image-intensive search queries.

Tip: Use high-quality, relevant images and provide them with precise alt tags.

48. update request for certain queries

Explanation: For some search queries, Google prefers particularly up-to-date content.

SEO influence: Websites that are regularly updated can rank better in topicality-based queries.

Tip: Keep content fresh and up-to-date, especially if it requires rapid thematic developments or frequent updates.

49 DMCA complaints

Explanation: DMCA complaints concern copyright infringements on websites and their content.

SEO impact: Pages against which DMCA complaints are frequently filed can be penalized by search engines or removed from search results.

Tip: Check your content regularly for copyright infringements and act proactively to avoid legal problems.

50. reputation of the website host

Explanation: The reputation of the host on which the website is operated can have an influence on SEO.

SEO influence: Websites on hosts with a bad reputation can be negatively affected in their visibility (Bad Neighborhood).

Tip: Choose a hosting provider with a good reputation and reliable service to minimize the risk of SEO problems.

Summary

Stay clean

Avoid bad neighborhood hosting, copyright conflicts and unsafe content or content classified as inappropriate by Google.

Optimize your Google ranking

A guarantee of success? They never exist. Fortunately, however, we already know a lot about the criteria that are important to get a good search result in the Google search engine. SEO is versatile, but not impossible.

With the right strategy, every company and every website can achieve a good ranking – and thus become more visible to its target group.

For long-term success, SEO is no longer a nice-to-have, but a must-have. The sooner you start to give your website a proper SEO spring clean and continuously maintain it with regard to the tips mentioned – the better.

The faster you can get one of the coveted Google top spots on the first page.

If you want to get started now, start with our SEO step-by-step guide.

Hannes Kaltofen

Hannes Kaltofen

Gründer & Geschäftsführer

Seit über 7 Jahren in den SERPs unterwegs. Dank SEO konnte Ich das Affiliate Marketing, Blogging und Agenturgeschäft kennelernen und helfe Unternehmen tagtäglich bei ihrer Sichtbarkeit.

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