Search engines use algorithms to analyze and rank your web pages. Like any algorithm there are a number of variables or factors that are taken into account when ranking your page. In this guide we will cover these factors from most important to least important in each chapter. There are four categories of SEO elements that most search engines pay attention to. Those are:

Within each category there are sub-categories.  This article will try to cover these topics in a very general way in order to familiarize you the basic factors that compose good Search Engine Ranking Factors.

Search Engine Ranking Factors elements work in combination. No single search engine optimization technique will guarantee search engine rankings. Having a bunch of incoming links from low quality sites could be viewed as spamming and have a negative impact on your rank. Also having a good HTML title for your page with shallow content won’t help either. A good mixture of quality content, a page title containing your keywords, a easy to navigate / crawl web design and incoming links from high quality web sites is your goal. There is no magic bullet to page rank.

On The Page Factors

On the page search ranking factors are things that you can directly control such as the type of content you publish, the title of the page, meta-data tags, and the structure of your web design. Do these help or hinder the ability of the search engine to rank your page?

Off The Page Factor

Off the page ranking factors are those that that you cannot directly control. These include things such as other pages linking to your web site. Search engines use these to generate signals about your content. For example, useful, well written, researched content should naturally generate more incoming links and thus can be used by the search engine’s algorithm to rank the page higher in the search results.

Search engines also need more signals to determine the importance of a page then just the content on the page. With millions of pages covering the same topic, these off page factors generate signals the search engine can use to return better results.


SEO helps search engines improve their listing. Google even provides best practices to the public to help them optimize their pages.

However, techniques such as  “link spam” or  “returning a different web page then the user would see,”  are practices that could lead to your page being penalized or banned from the search engine altogether.


Blocking is a fairly new factor. This is were the user of the search engine decides to block or hide results from certain web sites in the search result. The search engines have started using the number of users that block a site as a signal in their results.


All these element together comprise good SEO but, some are more important then others.

For example, quality content, page titles, and the ability of the search engine to crawl your site are the most important on page ranking factors. Things like the speed of your site should be considered but,  are less important. As for off page ranking factors, the quality of the sites that link back to your web site is more important then the number of links.  If you use a service to pay for a large number of low quality links you might even be penalized.

Next: Content and Search Engine Ranking Factors

Wi-Phye is a Cleveland SEO Company providing web design and SEO service to area small business.