SEO Criteria – Over 200 Ranking Factors [Part 2]

We promised, and we always follow through on our promises! So, here is the shiny, new second-half of the JSL SEO Ranking Factors blog.

Remember we talked last time about:

  1. Page Speed
  2. Mobile Optimized
  3. Domain Authority
  4. Title Tags
  5. H1 Tags
  6. Content Length & Depth
  7. Duplicate Content
  8. Canonical Tag
  9. Secure Website
  10. RankBrain

But we also talked about how there are over 200 (probable) SEO ranking factors that the Big G uses in order to view, judge, and rank you?

Of course, having over 200 ranking factors jumbled around in your head won’t help your website, business, or mental health. So we broke it down into the top 20 (that’s 1/10th of the total ranking factors, for you non-math individuals) to make it a bit easier to break off and chew.

After all, if you follow the Google-rules in these 20 areas, your site will definitely see jumps in rankings. Because it isn’t #198 that’s tanking your website rankings, it’s most likely one (or more) of these top 20 SEO factors.

For this next installment, here are the main factors we will be zeroing in on:

  1. Business Information
  2. Image Optimization
  3. Fresh Content
  4. Outbound Links
  5. Inbound Links
  6. Anchor Text
  7. Internal Links
  8. URL
  9. Sitemap
  10. Domain History

Ready to learn SEO in nice, actionable, and understandable chunks? Let’s dive in!

And, of course as always, if something seems a little too much, a little too confusing or a little too time consuming, JSL is here to help every day, any time, for any reason. Reach out to us and see how easy we can make your ranking climb become (or, at least, we’ll make it look easy)!

1. Business Information

This is important because Google wants to see that you are consistent and, therefore, reliable. If you have your business information (name, address, phone) posted on your page (which you should) then you have to make sure it is consistent across all online platforms, sites, and lists.

For example, make sure your Google My Business profile is accurate and matches your website, just like your Yelp, Facebook Business Page, LinkedIn, BBB, etc.

Especially focusing on your NAP (name, address, phone) is important; not just for search engines, but also for the practical reason of making sure your customers can reach you or find you.

2. Image Optimization

Google cannot see your images, it instead reads them, and this means you have to have ‘Alt text’ for each of your images.

Alt-text is kind of like a caption, but it is only viewable ‘behind’ the picture, or ‘within’ it. This way Google can see it, understand it, and pull it for relevant image searches.

Additionally, alt text can be a great place for keywords, as it all is indexed, or read, by Google and can help boost your rankings. If you have a picture of one of your products on your home page, don’t just name it ‘IMG6782’, instead, set the alt text to be descriptive with keywords.

3. Fresh Content

Ah, fresh content, the bane of many small businesses. Fresh content means that Google wants to see that you didn’t just make a website because you ‘had to’ and then forgot about it, or let it just sit there.

Remember, everything in Google’s algorithm (SEO ranking factors) is meant to find which websites are ‘good’, and ‘good’ means updated and frequently fixed, shined, and used.

What is the best way to show both Google and your actual customers that your website is updated often and that you keep up with it? A blog. Yes, you will actually have to write new, original, thoughtful, and helpful content monthly at the very least (weekly if you can hack it) to inform your customers and impress Google.

Write about relevant items, news, services, products, etc. And make each post ‘optimized’ around a keyword or subject. Additionally, don’t write something that is just a block of text; write something that is helpful but also easy to read – like this beautiful blog, with a list format, lots of white space, and interest.

And for length? At least 600 words, and that’s still pretty sparse. JSL aims to thoroughly explain a topic, which means our blogs can be anywhere from 900 words to 3,000, which is basically a small eBook.

4. Outbound Links

Many people don’t understand the importance of outbound links, but we’ll break it down for you in a quick, simple way.

Multiple studies have shown that if you have a single outbound link per page (a link that goes to a different website) then you will be ranked higher than a page with no outbound links.


Because having a link to a different website, if its quality, is a sign that you are truly trying to inform your customers. If you only link to yourself, then you aren’t giving your customers the possibility to find better expertise elsewhere.

Now don’t go linking to your biggest competitor, but instead, if you are talking about your Mexican food restaurant, link to a well-known food blog, a recipe, or a Mexican history page (where relevant).

Just make sure your outbound link is going to an authoritative (trusted) and relevant site. No Wikipedia or spammy blogs.

5. Inbound Links

The opposite of an outbound link is an inbound link – and no, these aren’t the links you have on your website that connect one of your pages to another (that’s point #7). An inbound link is when another website links to you because you have great content.

To continue the previous example, if you are still a Mexican restaurant, and a well-known food blogger links to you, that is an inbound link – and a good one!

Just like you want to link to authoritative and relevant sites, so do others. And just like having your page link to them looks good, having them link to you looks very good.

6. Anchor Text

When a page links to you, they do so with some kind of text. Meaning if I am going to link to the JSL Marketing Page on Web Design, I’m going to do what I just did and label it so the potential clicker knows where that link will bring them.

That is called anchor text and you want it to be descriptive and hopefully include keywords or your branded name.

Having someone link to you saying ‘here’ is much less helpful from an SEO perspective than having them link to you saying ‘best Mexican restaurant in town’.

7. Internal Links

Ah, finally, the easiest of the links.

Internal links are the links you place within your own webpage that bring the user to a different of your own webpages.

Like when we talk about ‘contact us’ we obviously link to our own contact page.

Now, don’t go crazy and link everywhere to everything so no one can click on any word without being whisked away, but make sure to have relevant links that make sense and would enhance the user experience, connecting pages to others that they would likely go to next.

As an easy example, this ‘SEO Ranking Factors: Part Two’ blog will link multiple times to the ‘SEO Ranking Factors: Part One’ blog, because that’s just logical and a reader of this blog will most likely want to see the first half as well. However, linking to our holiday ‘thank you’ blog doesn’t really make sense, so I won’t do it.

8. URL

Your URLs can actually help your SEO too – but be careful, as Google doesn’t seem to like ‘exact matches’ but instead ‘similar URLs’.

This simply means that having your website URL be: JSL.Marketing/website-design is better than having it be JSL.Marketing/best-website-design-in-Dallas-TX for the keyword ‘best website design in Dallas TX’.

Sound counterintuitive? Think of it like this, Google wants your URL to be descriptive without being spammy, hence, similar but not exact matches to your keywords.

9. Sitemap

This is something you should have your developer do, as it’s simple, but technical.

Submit a sitemap to Google so it knows what you have, your structure, and something about your purpose. Want to learn how to submit a sitemap to Google? Then check out that link to Yoast’s website where they break it down for you.

(And yes, the above is the perfect example of how to use an outbound link to a non-competitor to give more value to your reader as well as how to use anchor text.)

10. Domain History

This one is a little like a credit score, as you cannot raise this specific section unless you have history.

Google likes to see that your website isn’t brand new, after all, which seems more trustworthy, a company that has been around for 6 years and has paid for their domain name for another 4, or a company that has a 3 month old website and only has it bought for another 3 months?

After all, what company only expects to be in business for 6 months? A scam, that’s what.

Google takes this idea and runs with it, so they will probably trust a 5-year old website more than a 2, and a 2 more than a brand new one.

Of course, every website started somewhere and that means that all websites were young at one point in their past. The best thing you can do is to buy your domain for a longer period of time to show Google you plan on sticking around.

Some studies have shown that 2-3 years is the magic number, though others say 5. We recommend buying your domain for at least one year, and then renewing it for more as you grow and are able.

Remember, Google is always watching (shudder).

Does All of This Sound Like a Lot? It Is! But JSL Loves SEO & Is Here to Help!

Contact JSL Marketing & Web Design and get your SEO right (without having to do any of the above on your own) by letting us handle it for you!

Request Pricing