Website Health

Google Site Ranking Factors

1. Content Provides Value and Unique Insights: Google has stated that they’re on the hunt for sites that don’t bring anything new or useful to the table, especially thin affiliate sites.

2. Contact Us Page: The aforementioned Google Quality Document states that they prefer sites with an “appropriate amount of contact information”. Supposed bonus if your contact information matches your whois info.

3. Domain Trust/TrustRank: Site trust — measured by how many links away your site is from highly-trusted seed sites — is a massively important ranking factor. You can read more about TrustRank here.

4. Site Architecture: A well put-together site architecture (especially a silo structure) helps Google thematically organize your content.

5. Site Updates: How often a site is updated — and especially when new content is added to the site — is a site-wide freshness factor.

6. Number of Pages: The number of pages a site has is a weak sign of authority. At the very least a large site helps distinguish it from thin affiliate sites.

7. Presence of Sitemap: A sitemap helps search engines index your pages easier and more thoroughly, improving visibility.

8. Site Uptime: Lots of downtime from site maintenance or server issues may hurt your ranking (and can even result in deindexing if not corrected).

9. Server Location: Server location may influence where your site ranks in different geographical regions. Especially important for geo-specific searches.

10. SSL Certificate:  Google has confirmed that they index SSL certificates and that they use HTTPS as a ranking signal.

11. Terms of Service and Privacy Pages: These two pages help tell Google that a site is a trustworthy member of the internet.

12. Duplicate Meta Information On-Site: Duplicate meta information across your site may bring down all of your page’s visibility.

13. Breadcrumb Navigation: This is a style of user-friendly site-architecture that helps users (and search engines) know where they are on a site:

Both SearchEngineJournal.com and Ethical SEO Consulting claim that this set-up may be a ranking factor.

14. Mobile Optimized: Google’s official stance on mobile is to create a responsive site. It’s likely that responsive sites get an edge in searches from a mobile device. In fact, they now add “Mobile friendly” tags to sites that display well on mobile devices. Google also started penalizing sites in Mobile search that aren’t mobile friendly

15. YouTube: There’s no doubt that YouTube videos are given preferential treatment in the SERPs (probably because Google owns it ):

In fact, Search Engine Land found that YouTube.com traffic increased significantly after Google Panda.

16. Site Usability: A site that’s difficult to use or to navigate can hurt ranking by reducing time on site, pages viewed and bounce rate. This may be an independent algorithmic factor gleaned from massive amounts of user data.

17. Use of Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools: Some think that having these two programs installed on your site can improve your page’s indexing. They may also directly influence rank by giving Google more data to work with (ie. more accurate bounce rate, whether or not you get referall traffic from your backlinks etc.).

18. User reviews/Site reputation: A site’s on review sites like Yelp.com and RipOffReport.com likely play an important role in the algorithm. Google even posted a rarely candid outline of their approach to user reviews after an eyeglass site was caught ripping off customers in an effort to get backlinks.