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Google uses over 200 factors when determining where a web page should rank for a certain keyword. SEOs broadly know the main signals after years of experience, testing and snippets of information from Google employees. These main signals are often talked about and you've probably heard of things such as:
In this module we will learn about a number of other ranking factors that are a bit more subtle and may not have been discussed as much. While it is important to be aware of as many factors as possible, it is also important to remember not to obsess over each and every one. Instead you should focus on ones that you can control and focus on building a website that is valuable to your users.
Also note that throughout this module, you will notice that I focus primarily on Google. This is not just because of their huge market share but also because of their sophistication. They have made huge strides ahead of their competitors in terms of what factors they can feed into their search results. If a ranking factor in this module applies to Bing, I will specifically mention it.
Each ranking factor is classified by one of the following:
On-site ranking factors are any factors that are generally controlled by the website owner or publisher. You can control them to a certain extent and can actively work on improving them.
Off-site factors are those drawn from places on the web other than your own website. They can be influenced by your actions but are typically not directly controlled by you. For example someone can link to you without asking and since you don't control their website, you can't control the link directly.
User based ranking factors are outside your direct control. They are collected by gathering data directly from users and so you need to focus on activities that nudge users towards your desired behavior. As you will see in the next few lessons, there are a few techniques you can use to try and get users to take actions that benefit you.
Each factor is prefaced with the type of factor it is.