Google Reveals the Top 3 Search Ranking Factors

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There are hundreds of factors that affect your ranking on Google, but what are the top three? Google recently announced these during a Q&A session, Search Engine Journal has reported.


Last year, Google admitted that its new artificial intelligence system RankBrain was one of its top three ranking systems. Google started using the AI software towards the end of 2015, adding RankBrain as a new ranking factor to Google’s Hummingbird algorithm. The RankBrain software is used to sort through the millions of pages of search results and rank the ones most relevant to the user’s query. Google’s Senior Research Scientist, Greg Corrado, announced last year that RankBrain was the third most important ranking factor in Google.

Links and Content

RankBrain may be in the top three, but what are the other ranking factors? According to Google’s Search Quality Senior Strategist, Andrey Lipattsev, links and content round out the top three. Answering a question from Ammon Johns during an online Q&A, Lipattsey stated that two of the three most important ranking factors taken into account when ranking sites in Google search results are links and content. Of the numerous factors that Google use when ranking pages, these are said to be two of the most important.

SEO expert  Barry Schwartz summarised the list as such:

1 & 2: Links & Content

3: RankBrain

Though Andrey Lipattsev stated that content and links were first and second, he did not state the order in which they are prioritised.

Links, content and RankBrain are all built up of various different sub-factors, with hundreds more ranking factors as well as these taken into account in Google’s algorithm. Though these may currently appear to be Google’s most prioritised ranking factors, the search engine is yet to confirm the order of importance in which they rank.

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