Are exchanged or reciprocal links okay with Google?
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We analyzed 88 Google Ranking Factors and here’s what we found [Ebook]

We analyzed 88 Google Ranking Factors and here's what we found [Ebook]

Google says its algorithm takes more than 200 signals into account when ranking web pages.

But Google does not list all the 200+ ranking factors. Nowhere.

And most of those who claim to know all 200 Google ranking factors are lying – either to you or to themselves.

Therefore, we set out to uncover the truth about Google’s ranking signals. Or at least as much truth is as possible with a company that is as secretive about its algorithm as Google is.

So if you’ve ever wondered what is and is not a ranking factor – or should make the case to do or not do something “because it’s a Google ranking factor” – this guide is for you.


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Download it here.

The Marketing-Ideas team has spent more than 200 hours researching and compiling our results on 88 cues that at one time or another have been declared definitively Google rankings.

And now you can read our results in Google Ranking Factors: Fact or Fiction.

With this study of the validity of presumed ranking signals, our team has done its best to avoid guesswork and speculation. We only wanted facts (e.g., evidence from patents, confirmation from the source, and reputable sources) – not opinions.

Because, let’s be honest, correlation studies on ranking factors can be interesting and entertaining, but they are nothing more than that.


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We developed our RFM – or Ranking Factor Meter – to record which category each of the presumed ranking signals falls into:

Confirmed: There is direct confirmation from Google or someone working for Google that this signal is being used for ranking. Likely: There is a strong body of evidence (e.g., public comments, patents, third-party data) indicating that Google uses this ranking signal, even though neither Google nor a Google representative has officially confirmed it. Possibly: There are indications that Google is using this signal, but no official confirmation from a Google representative and / or conflicting / unreliable data. unlikely: this signal is not completely excluded, but there is little / no evidence that Google uses or has used it to rank results. No more: This used to be a ranking signal, but is now obsolete or no longer used by Google .Definitely Not: A ridiculous idea with zero proof – or even direct rebuttal from Google – that this signal is used for ranking.

This guide will determine if the following are Google ranking factors:

301 Redirects.404 and soft 404 pages.AdSense usage.All text.AMP.Anchor text.Authorship.BBB Rating.Bounce Rate.Breadcrumb Navigation.Canonicalization.Chrome Bookmarks.Click Depth.Click-Through Rate.Co-Citation.Code to Text Ratio.Contact Information.Content.Content Length.Core Web Vitals.Crawl Error & Crawl Budget.Dep Link Ratio.Direct Traffic.Disavow Tool.Domain Age.Domain Authority.Domain History.Domain Name.Dwell Time.EAT (Expertise, Authority, Trust) .. edu Links.First Link Priority.Fresh Content.Google Ads.Google Analytics.Google Search Console.Google Search Quality Evaluator Links.H1.H2-H6.HTML Lists.HTTPS.Images (Number of) .IP Address.Keywords Density.Keywords Prominence.Keywords Mood.Keywords Stuffing.Language.Link Stability.Link Velocity.Links (Contextual) .Links (Inbound) .Links (Internal) .Links (Nofollowed) .Links (Outbound). Links (paid) .Links (full page) .Local Citations (NAP) .LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) .Manual action.Meta Descrip tions.Meta Keywords.Mobile Friendl iness.MUM.Pagespeed.Physical Proximity to Searcher.RankBrain.Dep Link Link Ratio.Leading Level.Reanovations Requests.Relevance, Dominance & Prominence.Review Sentiment.Schema Markup.Social Signals & Shares.Spelling & Grammar.Somdomain & Subdirectories.Syndicated Content .Tabbed Content.Text Formatting.TF-IDF.Title Tags.TF-IDF.URLs.User Search History.User Generated Content.Quality Result On Website.WHOIS.www Vs. non-wwwXML sitemaps.

MYTHBUSTERS TEAM: Anna Crowe, Miranda Miller, Matt Southern, Kristi Hines and Danny Goodwin.

REVIEW PANEL: We have also put together a panel of respected SEO experts to review our results: Dave Davies, Jeff Ferguson and Ryan Jones.

This guide consists of 88 chapters and 626 pages of expert insights written exclusively by the editorial staff of the Search Engine Journal.


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Together with our partners, Internet Marketing Ninjas, Conductor and 1SEO, we created this guide to help you understand what is, is not and can be ranking factors.

Are you ready to find out which Google ranking factors really matter?

Download this ebook now.

Featured Image: Paulo Bobita / Search Engine Journal


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