5 SEO Ranking Factors You Probably Never Heard

Google is getting better and better at ranking websites. Google have 200+ Ranking Factors each having 100’s of variation. That’s close to 10000 factors.

We all know about 2 factors which influence our ranking most of the time.

  1. Backlinks
  2. Content

Yet, time and again you will find websites having poor content and no backlinks outranking authoritative sites.

So, I decided to reveal 5 such factors which may somewhat explain the deviations of the search results. Before I tell you about then, you should know they have a big impact on your rankings.


Niche Width

(How much content-specific is your website?)


Impact on Rankings: Moderate

You must probably have never heard of this before.

The websites with more specific overall topics tend to rank better than others.

Let us take the example of 3 blogs:

The first blog writes about SEO, Internet Marketing, Blogging, etc.

The second blog is just about SEO( Keyword Optimization, Backlinking, etc )

The third blog is the most specific one and covers only about Backlinks.

In such a case, the third blog would have the most advantage over keywords related to topic “backlinks” and will rank higher for that topic. However, the same website will fail to get good results for other topics.

The second blog will have a moderate ranking boost but that boost will be on all SEO topics.

The first blog will get a very small boost and hence require lots of backlinks to outrank the other 2 websites.


How do I use this to my competitive advantage?

Initially, when you are starting out, try to write only about 1 specific topic, since it will help you get higher rankings with fewer backlinks.

Once you have built an authoritative website, then you should move on to more related topics. Keep in mind, don’t choose too many topics, only a few.



Website Architecture

( How easy is it find pages on your website?)


Impact on  Rankings– Moderate

This ranking factor is officially declared by Google, yet it is often ignored by most SEO people. Navigation is very important for search engines.

Here is a screenshot from official SEO Webmaster Guide by Google:

Website Architecture


Here is the link to the SEO guide.


How to optimize your content for this Ranking Factor?

  • Plan out your navigation right from your home page.
  • Divide your website content into 3-4 categories. Club similar content together.
  • Every page must be reachable from home page in maximum 3-4 clicks.
  • Make sure that the most important pages are reachable from every page.
  • Implement Structured Data and Breadcrumbs on your website.

A Guide to Structured Data for SEO

If you really want to get best out of this ranking factor, I recommend you read about Perrin’s Silo Architecture Strategy to beat Authority Sites.



Type of Search Query

Impact on Rankings: Huge

People don’t talk about it much. But trust me, this is the most important ranking factor. Backlinks, content optimization everything comes after that.

Whenever someone searches on Google, Google tries to understand the search intent of the user. It then classifies the type of query and results are displayed according to it.

On the most basic level, there are 3 different types of queries:

  1. Informational
  2. Navigational
  3. Transactional

More on types of search queries and how they impact search results.

How these queries impact search results?

Let us say Google determines the query is informational, then it will prefer websites with in-depth articles on that topic.

Navigational Queries are related to a specific website only.

Transactional queries will favor websites only those selling products/services.

When you search “Men’s Shoes”, you end up seeing Amazon in search results but when you search “best shoes under budget”, you end up on review websites with in-depth articles.


How do I get best out of this Google’s Ranking Factor?

Before you target any keyword, have a look at search results for that keyword. Determine which type of results are favored. Analyze the common trend, content length, types of websites preferred and then decide whether it is right for you


Interested in Blogging? Check out this awesome Blogging Guide ( Basics to Advanced)


Localization Factor

You must have noticed that for product/services related queries, local websites tend to rank better than others.

But if you look a little closer, you will find this happens for almost every search result.

Search “how to make money from a blog” in Google UK and Google India. You will find at least 4 different search results in top 10. Try it with any query you like.

Why is it so?

The level of knowledge and search intent of users in different countries is different. For example, when people search about SEO in the USA, they are more interested in advanced stuff, while Indian users are mostly interested in basic stuff. The level of interest if different in every country and hence the difference.


How exactly Google decides which website is best for which country?

Google considers a lot of factors while deciding it, but the most important one is the country-specific backlink density. If you have more backlinks from a single country, you will see a rank boost in that country, but less in others.


How to benefit from this ranking factor?

  1. If you want to rank globally, try to build backlinks from websites that have a prominent presence in many different countries.
  2. If you are targeting a specific country, try to get backlinks prominent in that particular country.


QDF (Query Deserves Freshness)

Impact on Rankings: Moderate

Some of you may have heard about this ranking factor. But, you may not know the whole story.

Most people define it as:

There are certain queries which deserves fresh content and hence for them fresh content is preferred over old one”

However, it is very vague definition.

A more appropriate measurement of QDF:

QDF is calculated on -1 to 1 scale.

+1 means very recent content is preferred.

-1 means very old content is preferred.

0 means age of content doesn’t matter.


Why we chose this criteria?

It is true some queries deserve freshness, but on the other hand, there are some queries where older content is better. So, Google must have some way to find a degree of freshness or oldness a search result requires. So, we believe this scale more accurately defines this concept


How to benefit from this ranking factor?

For any query, add “&as_qdr=y15” at the end of URL and you will see Google displaying dates along with all search results.

Display dates in search

Study all the search results carefully, you will see how much old search results are that are ranking for that particular keyword. If a certain keyword has very recent results, then consistently updated and new content will rank much easier for that keyword.


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2 Responses

  1. Brandon
    May 14, 2017
  2. Manas Goel
    May 14, 2017

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