SEO Success Factors

100+ Google SEO Success Factors, Ranked

Factors that actually improve your traffic and rankings, and how to leverage them.


SEO Factors: Level of Impact


Ranking factors are awesome—and sometimes—a little bit dangerous.

That is, chasing insignificant ranking factors can lead to a dangerous waste of resources, while at the same time neglecting holistic SEO that actually leads to higher rankings and better traffic.

Google uses 1000s of signals to rank web pages. Nobody knows what they all are (and anyone who claims otherwise is fibbing). In fact, since the rise of machine learning, not even Googlers can tell you all the elements that influence rankings and how they interact with one another in search results.

What matters is success.

SEO Success Factors are those elements you can take action on to improve your rankings, traffic, and visibility in Google search. Many Success Factors—but not all—are based on ranking factors, and a number of them deliver bigger results than others.

As an example, while meta descriptions aren’t a Google ranking factor, crafting well-composed descriptions that improve your click-through rate (CTR) can have a positive, outsized impact on your SEO efforts.

Using a combined analysis of:

  • Ranking factors studies
  • Experimentation data
  • Expert opinion surveys
  • Patent filings
  • And statements from Google

… we’ve aggregated the most popular SEO Success Factors in one place. Our goal is to show you not only what works, but how to use these factors to improve your rankings and traffic.

Use this information is to prioritize the most critical factors first, while working your way towards less important elements. You can safely ignore the “Myth” factors, while being sure to stay away from the “Negative Factors.”

Next Steps

Google SEO Success Factors

Feel free to use this infographic with proper attribution. Click here for high-res version.

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24 thoughts on “SEO Success Factors

    • This seems to be one of those areas were Google says things that are “technically correct” but the practical application is wholly different. Yep, Google doesn’t look at domain age, but Google also says they look at when they first saw a page/domain.

      So, in theory, a site could be 3 years old, but Google only first saw the site last month. In this case, they are looking at a month’s worth of data. If the site has any links at all, for most of us, Domain Age is going to be roughly equal to the time Google first saw the site.

      Controversial and we’re cutting a fine line. Hope that makes sense.

  1. definitely a good article with valid points, sometimes email marketing and that dept over do the emails…but gotta pick and choose your battles

  2. Excellent guide, great list and solid foundation. My mind boggles over how much misinformation and hype around SEO being a “dark art” that still exists in 2018. Thanks for setting it straight.

  3. Congratulations, Cyrus!

    This SEO guide is simple and easy to understand, without oversimplification. That´s always a risk. The structure and organization is impressive too.

    This guide is beyond high-quality. Intelligent self-scaling niche marketing. So hard to copy. Well done, Sir!

    • Thanks Trond!

      Was thinking this morning how much I dislike the term “dumbing down.” If you need to simplify something complex, it doesn’t mean the person you’re explaining it to is dumber or less intelligent, they simply have less experience with the subject matter. They are likely just as hungry for intelligent and well-structured information as you are.

      Regardless, thanks for the comment!

  4. Awesome list Cyrus. These points will be valid for the future as well as everything at the end boils down to user experience.

  5. I began my SEO career in 1996 and I have seen a lot of changes in the industry. However the critical factors for solid SEO have changed very little aside from the different devices. How many years has Google been telling us to create quality content? As a Google user however I don’t think the search results are better than 10-15 years ago. I don’t know maybe it’s just me. Thoughts on the SERPS?

    • That’s a ton of experience!

      So true about the Critical Factors. It does seem to me that 10 years ago I spent much more time on page 2,3,4+ of SERPs, and now I’m more unlikely to go past page 1, but perhaps that’s simply my perception.

      Regardless, thanks for the great comment.

  6. Now, this is a masterclass on epic content creation.
    1. Fantastic UX
    2. An actual informative infographic
    3. Love the Navigator

    p.s. Lately, I’ve seen an inordinate amount of time spent on the web debating the use of multiple H1 tags. This is taking up valuable time that could be spent looking at kitten photos on Instagram.

    • Absolutely, at least for the next 2-3 years, I can say with confidence. In fact, I suspect is likely more future-facing than a lot of SEO-focused advice out there today.

      • Thanks for a great summary Cyrus, I couldn’t agree more with the categorisation, and this made the Moz Top 10!
        I do agree that the main factors will stay true for the next few years, after all they have been true for the past decade at least. But Oguz, how can anyone properly answer if it will apply in the future? If I had a crystal ball…

  7. This is an awesome list. I think 90% of SEO is about writing unique, original, problem-solving content which actually fulfills the intention of your audience. If you write high quality, citable content, you are destined to rank higher on Google Search.

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