Our guide to Google’s secret SEO ranking factors

Inside scoop to Google’s secretly guarded algorithm

One of the questions I get asked the most when meeting a new client is “how will you get my website to the top position on Google?”  In itself it is an entirely reasonable and straight-forward question and one that you would think would have a straight-forward answer. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.

If you think about that question, what we’re really asking for is the inside scoop to Google’s secretly guarded algorithm. Of course Google isn’t going to share this information.

“Think of a check-list of a hundred-odd items. Although some of the items are more important than others, it is crucial that all of them are ticked off to ensure your SEO campaign is a success.”

How do we know this, and how do we know which items are the most important? Well the truth is no-one outside of Google can say with absolute certainty. But with experience and research you can define and prioritise that list.

The best place to start is with the Google algorithm itself. There are a number of sites that track search engine updates. MOZ is a reliable source of information, but there are also others. By keeping abreast of these updates you can ensure you’re optimising your website for the things that will make a difference (e.g. the mobile-friendly updates).

Next, you need to follow the experts – like us ;). A quick Google search of “SEO ranking factors” will give you a vast array of results from people offering all sorts of opinions. There is a lot of advice and it is important to filter it to the most credible authors – associations or industry portals are good. Take in this information and identify common threads to establish your checklist.

The three key items on our checklist are:

Quality Links

There is a lot of conjecture around link building and the best strategy for going about it. If you grow your links too quickly Google will notice and penalise you. Be careful how you go about it, avoid buying links or adding them via dodgy directories or low-quality sites. It is best to work with an expert with experience to ensure you do this vital step correctly.

Awesome Content

Google loves content, but not just any old blog or list of services. Your copy should be engaging and authoritative. We advise and help our clients to create text that is interesting, trustworthy and above all original and regular. Write for your audience, don’t write for Google, and don’t stuff with keywords.

Equally important is the length. We recommend around 500 words, this is a little shorter than some recommendations, but with your audience in mind, any longer and you will struggle to keep them engaged.

Onsite Optimisation

There are a number of ways to optimise a website. Assuming that your site is already mobile responsive you should look at items like page speed, the quality of your code (check it here:, and your meta tag optimisation. If you’re running a WordPress website, the Yoast plugin is a great tool that will help you check your onsite optimisation.

Nothing beats experience and it can be hard to know where to start, but do your research and stay up-to-date and you will be well on your way to a great SEO campaign. Remember, Google updates its algorithm regularly, and what works today may not work tomorrow.

Good luck.