Archive for March 30th, 2011


Big Damn List of SEO Factors

Okay, here it is. A Big Damn List of Things that Probably Influence Search Ranking (mostly in Google). It is culled from many sources around the web. Many of these factors have lost credibility over the years (e.g. keyword meta tag)  while others not listed here are probably on the rise. The lists are in no particular order. In all instances, the word “keyword” should be read as “the keyword or keyword phrase that was queried at the search engine.”

Checklist for Search Ranking Factors

Positive Ranking Factors, On Page
Keyword in URL
Keyword in domain name
Keyword in title tag
Keyword in meta description tag
Keyword in meta keyword tag
Keyword in H1, H2 and H3 tags
Keyword in emphatic tags (bold or strong, em, CSS spans, etc)
Use of keyword in content
Use of keyword synonyms and variations
Prominence of keywords in webpage code
Keyword in Alt text for images
Use of keyword in anchor text
Clear and text-readable navigation structure
Links pointing outward to authoritative sites
Traffic history to page
Source traffic patterns
Sitemap link on page
W3 validated code
Short page load time
Clear HTML code
Page content prominent in source code
Large script blocks called as includes (off-page)
Valid CSS
Short URLs
Content freshness
Age & history of domain

Positive Ranking Factors, Off Page
XML Sitemap
Valid robots.txt file
Backlinks from authoritative web pages
Backlinks from relevant sites
Backlinks with keyword in anchor text
Backlinks from varied IP addresses
Backlinks from large sites
Variation in anchor text from various backlinks
Traffic popularity of referring page
Page position of backlink
Age of backlink
Backlinks from
Backlinks from Wikipedia
Backlinks from social networking sites
Backlinks from article directories
Backlinks from press release publishers
Backlinks from newspaper archives
Visits trending upward
Click-through to impression ratio of backlinks
Bounce rate
Percent of visits remaining on site
Geographic distribution of visits

Negative Ranking Factors, On Page
Over optimization
Page cloaking
Title tag length
H1 tags in excess of one
Keyword stuffing in meta tags
Keyword stuffing in content
Keyword stuffing in Alt tags
Broken links
Links or content unreadable by spiders
Improper redirects
Excessive interlinking
Lack of domain age
Lack of page content
Poor navigation structure
Repeated links
Overuse of emphatic text
Slow page load
Excessively high keyword density
Site updates in unnatural patterns
Dynamic URL’s
Excessive Java Script in page code
Unreadable page content
Use of frames
Hidden text
Hidden links
Deceptive links
Use of “gateway” pages
Duplicate content
Poor quality content
Large number of ads
Scraped or stolen content
Invalid Robots.txt file

Negative Ranking Factors, Off Page
Link trafficking
Link farming
Linking to “bad neighborhoods”
Link acquisition in unnatural patterns
High percentage of links from irrelevant sites
High percentage of links from directories
High percentage of reciprocal links
High percentage of links from single IP address
High percentage of links using the same anchor text
High percentage of links using irrelevant anchor text

Know or suspect other factors not in these lists? Feel free to suggest them in a comment.