Google moved away from the number of 200 ranking signals

In a Google SEO Office Hours Hangout, Google’s John Mueller revealed that Google has “moved away from the number of 200 ranking signals.” He said having such a number is misleading.

Mueller said the ranking signals cannot be sorted and ranked as a list on a spreadsheet.

Google Ranking Signals

In the distant past, various HTML elements were used by Google algorithms to identify the subject of a web page. HTML elements such as the page title, headers, and font sizes were given additional importance, along with the placement of keywords on a web page (the top of the page is more important) and the links and the anchor text associated with those links.


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These were collectively known as ranking factors.

A web page literally needed all of these ranking factors to be populated with keywords in order to rank properly.

Many of these ranking factors were described in Google’s first Stanford University research article. from 1998, The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine.

It’s been over twenty years and although many still cling to the idea of ​​ranking factors, Google itself has moved beyond ranking factors and incorporates things like natural language processing, BERT, Neural Matching and AI fight spam, and many other algorithms.

Not only that, but in 2005, Google was already incorporating statistical analysis to identify normal sites and sites that are aberrant and tend to be spam.


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Statistical analysis is not a ranking factor in the traditional sense, but it did play a role in ranking.

Arguably, the paradigm of over 200 ranking factors was collapsing as early as 2005.

While in the past the idea of ​​scoring points against a list of ranking factors made sense, in 2021 the idea of ​​a list of ranking factors to focus on for a better ranking does have something to do with it. little lost its relevance because of the way search rankings are calculated in today’s modern search engines. .

Which ranking factors are the most important?

A member of the research community asked John Mueller which of the ranking factors was the most important.

Usually, Googlers have mentioned in the past that content is the most important ranking factor. But not today.

The person asked which ranking factors are most important:

“Of the 200 ranking signals, which are the most important?

Mueller replied:

“I don’t like to rank ranking signals. So I can’t answer you there.

And … the other little thing is that we kind of got away from the number of over 200 ranking signals because it feels like even having such a number is a bit misleading in the sense that, Oh Google has a spreadsheet with all the ranking signals and they can just sort them by importance and tell me which they are.

And it certainly is not.

Since… a lot of these things take into account so many different things, you can’t just isolate them.


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More ranking factors?

Mueller said ranking signals cannot be listed and sorted by importance, and factors cannot be isolated.

Mueller didn’t develop more than that. But it’s easy to see how complicated Google’s search engine is today.

For example, the MUM algorithm can take images as input (no keywords!) And provide a sorted response from web pages around the world, regardless of the language.

How would an overall ranking factor like links or keywords in the title work in a scenario like this?

John Mueller gave the research community an in-depth look at ranking factors by stating that signals cannot be listed and sorted by importance because the research community believes ranking factors can be sorted and ranked.


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Google moves away from the number of 200 ranking signals

Watch John Mueller answer the question at minute 49:47:

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