What are the main Google Ranking Factors in 2017?

One of the biggest discussions in the SEO world (all the time) is what are the main ranking factors?  Google uses many factors, on-page & off-page, social and UX related to rank websites for different keywords and us SEOs are constantly battling with Google and each other. We all have different opinions about what works.

This is a diagram we drew in the office to explain to the non-SEO guys ….


One of the major SEO SaaS companies, SEMRush has conducted a massive survey of over 600,000 keywords in multiple countries and their results are surprisingly close to the way in which we work, focusing on UX (a combination of Visits, Time on Site and Bounce Rate).

The SEMRush Findings …

What does this mean?


As you get higher rankings, you get more traffic. More traffic gives higher rankings!  So how do you get more traffic before rankings Target Long Tail Keywords and use Social.

User eXperience

UX (our definition of this is “Visits + Bounce Rate + Time on Site + Pages Per Session”) is of major importance.  Get people to your site and keep them on it by giving them other (interesting content) content to read. Be interesting.


Backlinks are way down the list at #5.  Still very important though, but make sure you get them not only from different domains, but from different C-class servers.


Write content with a decent length. 250-300 words minimum.  Get some good content on your site which is 1000 – 2000 words – this will attract traffic for multiple short-head and long-tail keywords.  More traffic = higher rankings … higher rankings = more traffic. #win

Website Security (SSL)

Over 65% of sites that ranking highly for high competition keywords are https.  Get an SSL, they’re cheap enough.  Better still, pay nothing, and get Cloudflare on your site – you’ll benefit from both SSL, a speed increase and DoS (Denial of Service) attack protection.


Do it, get it right, make your metatags appealing when they’re listed in SERPs.


In summary, we now have a pretty good idea what works for Google – Traffic, UX and then authority backlinks. Probably best to lay sound foundations with thorough keyword research and proper on-site optimisation, not to mention mobile friendliness, loading speed and SSL security.