A new article on Search Engine Journal asks if Google really does have 200 ranking factors? Here are eleven things we know for sure, based on statements from Google itself.
The author says that keeping up with Google ranking factors has never been more challenging. Google is updating its algorithm at unprecedented rates. Something that didn’t impact search rankings yesterday might be a significant ranking factor today
The opposite is also true. Ranking factors are not set in stone. On top of that, the amount of misinformation you have to sift through makes it difficult to know what to believe. You’ll often run into articles where the writer backs up their ranking factor claims with opinion or anecdotal evidence. That’s why Search Engine Journal’s editorial team tackled and analyzed 88 of the most talked-about potential ranking factors in their Google Ranking Factors.
This article takes another approach: going right to the source – Google. It explores the major ranking factors Google has confirmed, and explains what they mean for search and our SEO efforts – but this is the biggest myth about ranking factors:
Google Has 200 Ranking Factors
The author says they can prove without a doubt that there aren’t actually 200 ranking factors. The “200” figure seems to have originated around 2009 when Google’s Matt Cutts mentioned there were “over 200 variables” in the Google algorithm. Remember, this was over a decade ago. That’s before:
- The HTTPS boost.
- The mobile-first index.
- A whole litany of updates and changes, including the introduction of machine learning into the algorithm with RankBrain.
Since then, things have changed quite a bit. Let’s assume that even if there was a nice round 200 as the number of ranking factors back then, that Google has probably added at least one or two factors into the mix since. So – the first legit fact we’ve covered here is that there aren’t 200 ranking factors.