Google Reveals its Top 3 Ranking Signals

Are you surprised to hear that Google’s top 3 ranking signals are Links, Content and RankBrain?

google's top 3 ranking signals

It’s no secret that Google uses hundreds of different “signals” to determine where and how a website ranks in its index. This may include the number of backlinks pointing to a website, the quality of those backlinks, domain age, content relevancy, average time spent on site, etc. So, which ranking signals hold the most influence over a site’s Google ranking? This question was recently answered during a Q&A with Andrey Lipattsev, Google Search Quality Senior Strategist.


According to Lipattsev, the three most influential ranking signals used in Google’s algorithm are links, content and RankBrain. Unfortunately, Lipattsev didn’t elaborate on the exact mechanics or value of these signals, rather he simply noted that they are the most influential. It’s safe to assume, however, that backlink quality and relevancy plays a major role in a website’s search ranking, more so than the total number of backlinks pointing to a website.


It should come as little-to-no surprise that content is a major ranking signal used by Google. In its guide titled “Steps to creating a Google-friendly site,” the Mountain View company revealed that publishing high-quality content is the single most important thing that webmasters can do. Search engines work by crawling websites to determine what they are about. If there’s no content for search engines to crawl, however, they won’t be able to rank it accordingly in their respective index. This is why it’s essential that webmasters focus on publishing unique, high-quality content to their websites on a regular basis.


You’re probably familiar with backlinks and content as being ranking signals, but the third signal mentioned by Lipattsev is widely unknown among webmasters. So, what in the world is RankBrain and how is it being used by Google? Basically, RankBrain is an artificial intelligence-driven component of Google’s search ranking algorithm. It works by sifting through billions of webpages to find the most relevant matches for various keywords and phrases.


RankBrain is a relatively new component of Google’s search ranking algorithm that was just recently implemented. But don’t let this fool you into thinking it’s sub-part. As noted by Google’s Lipattsev, it’s among the most influential ranking signals used by the Big G. So if you’re trying to increase your site’s search ranking, you should consider its backlinks, content, and RankBrain. Creating greater relevancy between your content and the keywords for which are trying to rank will benefit your RankBrain value, and subsequently, your Google search ranking.