10 Hidden Ranking Facts

26 June 2017
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The article will focus on top ten secreted ranking facts along with data supporting those facts. Out of the 10 facts, nine would be true while the remaining one would be false.

Fact No.1 – Website rankings are affected by click-through rate

Even though Google denies it, but Click through rates impact rankings. It may not be as simple as it may sound but it can have a negative and a positive impact on a website's ranking. For example, if a visitor clicks on the website through SERPs then Google would consider the action as an intent. If the visitor stays or leaves to search for another result would indicate towards the fulfillment of the intent. This determines the impact to be either negative or positive.

Serp Google

Fact No. 2: Targeted keyword usage is less important than user benefit.

Using targeted keywords in the content has been an evergreen fact that impacts SEO rankings for a website. But, recent results have shown that content with less targeted keywords ranked higher as compared to the one with.

Fact No. 3: Do not consider RankBrain as a ranking signal.

The ranking signal is the area of the SEO ranking science that has a weight that can be adjusted to improve search engine results. For an instance, after an update of the content, the weight put to the anchor text of the links to a website can be adjusted. Hence, when a user, searches for a similar term, the new adjustment and subsequent measurement would help in determining the rank of the website.

The RankBrain, on the other hand, is not a new ranking signal. Instead, it helps in understanding the intent of the user, classify the search as per the intent, weight adjusts the ranking signals and offer the most related result.

Fact No.4: Full weight is given to hidden content.

The content hidden behind tabs is devalued on purpose for ranking reasons. But, with the mobile devices moving to mobile-first index, this practice would be nullified because hidden content would have its full share of the weight.

Fact No.5: Rankings are impacted by the time spent on the website.

As determined in ranking fact no.1, time spent on the website influences rankings. Googles give it its due share of importance. If the website is unable to meet the intent of the user and they leave quickly then, rightfully, the ranking would be lowered. If it was able to meet then vice versa.

Fact No.6: Link Building is gaining popularity.

The weight that links on external websites possess are more powerful than ever before. They have the same impact in terms of SEO that citations once had.

Link Building

Fact No.7: Add page speed to the factors.

Page speed to load is important because the visitors are impatient and the alternates are unlimited. Therefore, Google has provided the websites with a tool to calculate and improve the speed of their website. The tool, which has existed for a while now, is becoming more popular because page speed is becoming a bigger factor for rankings.

Fact No.8: Rankings are influenced by Bounce Rate.

The bounce rate is a percentage of visitor that leave a certain website after only viewing one page. Similar to time spent on a website, bounce rate influence rankings too and for the same reasons. Google considers that the lower the bounce rate, the higher the ranking and vice versa. This trend would continue to grow in stature as artificial intelligence takes over.

Fact No.9: Anchor Text is critical.

The addition of targeted words in the internal and external links of a certain website is critical to the ranking of that particular website. There is no rocket science in this fact no.9. Although, Google must lend importance to the purpose of the website and the type of queries it diverts towards itself. This will help in further understanding the kind of links it contains.

Ranking Fact No.10: The algorithms behind searches differ depending on the query.

Algorithms used to remain the same regardless of the what the SEO and its analysis said on the factors to improve them. They never changed. But, that is not the case anymore. The ranking signals differ from query to query and subject to subject. It is now a technique that examines the intent of a user towards a certain query, then adjusts other ranking signals accordingly and at the end, calculates the end result clicks. That is not finished there, it further measures user behavior after clicks to gauge the success rate.


After studying all of the above-ranking facts, it is time to point out that one fact that was false when it comes to impacting rankings. The answer is No.9, bounce rates and the reasons are the following:

  • The fact that not every website uses Google Analytics. Therefore, Google cannot properly calculate bounce rates for the ones that do not and there is no point in ranking a website based on the limited data that it possesses. Even Google is smart enough to understand this fact and hence, does act upon it.
  • Bounce rate is not the right determining factor. Simply because if a user has ended up on a page and found the content they needed then there is no point in staying there. It is certainly better than staying on a website for hours and reading through several pages. Though this would reduce bounce rate but unfortunately for some websites, it would not increase their rankings.
  • On the contrary, time spent on a website is a better technique to understand user behavior or user satisfaction. This is true because if a person lands on a page and does not find the type of content he or she needed then navigating away would be rather swift. Moreover, whether they go on to search or click on other websites is also the right way of knowing the success of the website they first visited.
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