• Toll-free: 1-800-514-5796
  • In Montreal: 514-400-0852

Glossary Definition: Ranking Signal

An ever-growing glossary of SEO Jargon

What is a Ranking Signal?

A ranking signal or ranking factor is any characteristic of a website that search engine algorithms might consider to calculate its rankings.

Major search engines don't officially disclose the details of their ranking algorithms; however, many sources of information exist that offer insights. These sources include search engine patent filings, extensive testing, case studies, search engine quality guidelines, and statements made by search engine representatives.

Google's 200 ranking signals

Google claims to consider over 200 unique ranking signals to determine how a web page will rank for different keyword searches. Listed below are just a few examples of the more commonly accepted Google ranking factors (some fact, some speculation).

On-site Factors

(Search engine ranking signals directly controllable by site owners)

Content signals
  • Relevance: Topical relevance of page content to search terms
  • Freshness: Frequency of content updates
  • Overall quality: Spelling, grammar, and sentence structure
  • Keywords: Natural occurrence of keywords throughout page content
HTML signals
Architecture signals
Domain signals
  • Registration privacy: Public vs. Private domain name registration
  • Domain registrant: Record of domain name registrant
  • Exact match domains: Especially quality of EMD sites
  • Registration length: 1 year only vs several years in advance
  • Domain extension: Generic vs country specific domain extension

Off-site Factors

(Influenced by visitor engagement, social media, and other off-site variables)

Backink signals
  • Strength: Authority and trust of linking websites and web pages
  • Anchor text: Descriptive, natural, diverse anchor text
  • Relevance: Topical relevance of linking web page's content
  • Domain diversity: Backlinks from various domains
Reputation signals
Social signals
  • Social shares: "Likes", "shares", and other endorsements of web content through social signals
  • Reputation: Shares from reputable social media accounts

Note: Ranking signals are not considered a one-size-fits-all, cookie cutter checklist for achieving greater web visibility. Search engines determine website relevance and rankings by looking at the context of signals, and how they naturally fit together on a particular website.

External Links

Share this:
Like this:
Back to Springboard SEO's glossary
Get a QuoteOr call us: 1-800-514-5796