I decided to write this for a couple of reasons. One is that I’ve seen a lot of potentially misleading Tweets on the subject recently (naming no names!), and the other is that it’s related to another pet peeve of mine, about ranking factor studies.
What is a ranking factor?
A ranking factor is a variable that a search engine uses to decide the best ordering of relevant, indexed results returned for a search query.
Note that I’ve said the decision is between relevant, indexed pages - a good illustration of this distinction is the often absurdly high number shown beneath your query when you perform a Google search, such as the 643 million “potatoes”-related pages shown here: