SEO Tip #50: What Signals Are Used in Ranking Other than PageRank?

Matt Cutts: I am happy to say that yes PageRank, while it’s one of the more important of the 200 signals that we have, it is still only 1 of 200 different signals that we do in ranking. People shouldn’t be backlink obsessed, they shouldn’t suffer from BO as I like to say. PageRank does matter but it’s not the only thing that matters.

As far as the other signals that are used in ranking there is a lot of stuff that is common sense. Not just the links but think about anchor text. Then think about the content that is on the page. There is the URL of the page, the title of the page, whether something is in the header or not. There is content on the page. There is even proximity so if Brittany is up top and Spears is at the bottom that is different than Brittany Spears right next to each other.

So there are a lot of different signals that we use in our ranking and a lot of them are really common sense things you could probably guess. The secret sauce is in the blending and exactly how we weight different signals and which ones we think really matter a lot in terms of returning really high quality search results.

Again, PageRank is only 1 of more than 200 different signals that we use so please don’t get obsessed with PageRank and only pay attention to PageRank. If you’re thinking about whether users are going to have a good experience, whether your visitors are going to be happy and whether they are going to want to tell their friends to come to your site and check it out then that is the mark where a website will often be very successful.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

About the Author

Andy Johnson

Andy Johnson has been on the Internet since the its dawn(ie his first computer program was recorded on cassette tape) and his first hard drive cost about as much his current MacBook. His first byline was in 1993 for a local newspaper rag he eventually helmed, and his last “real job” was at a computer start up which ended when it ended. Throughout it all he’s freelanced and blogged. Now he is mesmerized by Search Engine Optimization forever trying to “rise to the top” for the right reasons. He’s been married to his wife Julia for as long as he can remember and has two lovely, wonderful children. He looks forward to sharing the latest in the technical best for all the online entrepreneurs.