Google Ranking Factors – A Summary Of Google’s Local + National Ranking Factors (Reported By Moz Every 2 Years)

Every year, Moz does a study of Google’s ranking factors for local and national SEO.

The core ranking factors generally do NOT change (links, content, on-page SEO, Google My Business, citations, etc). But you do want to keep track of recent changes like Mobilegeddon, the impact of load times on mobile devices, AMP pages and Google’s algorithm change history.

Most people do not spend enough time getting the core ranking factors down – you need to get the basics first – web design, mobile design, keyword research, content quality, and local ranking factors (Google My Business/citations/reviews) before worrying about smaller stuff.

I spend a ton of time writing tutorials which is where 90% of my links + social shares come from. I hope you’re taking your blog seriously. Good luck – let me know if you have questions.


Local SEO


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Local SEO Summary

  1. Get a physical address in your area(s), no PO boxes
  2. Use a local phone number (no 800 and other numbers)
  3. Use consistent NAP (name, address, phone) in citations + GEO-targeted pages
  4. Each location should have it’s own page on Google My Business, Yelp, Facebook, etc
  5. Create a Google My Business Page that is 100% complete with great photos, unique 400+ word description, list ALL relevant categories with your primary category listed first, @yourdomain email, verification, custom URL, virtual tourlocal business orders
  6. Use Moz Local to fix duplicate/incomplete/inconsistent citations and get a 100% score
  7. Use Whitespark to sign up for more citations (hire them or use their top citation lists)
  8. Get reviews on Google My Business, Yelp, Facebook, other citations customers are on
  9. Use Google Autocomplete to learn locally searched keywords
  10. Create a geo-targeted page for each city (primary city is usually targeted on homepage), and you may have multiple pages for a city depending on how many keywords you’re targeting in each city (they show up in Google Autocomplete)
  11. For small towns, target broad phrases (Lake Bluff Apple Repair)
  12. For large cities, target more specific phrases (Chicago Macbook Pro Repair)
  13. Target primary keyword on homepage (Lake Bluff Apple Repair) using Yoast
  14. Get links to your website (ask customers to link to you, get listed on BBB, etc)
  15. Create helpful videos targeting local keywords (see my YouTube SEO tutorial)
  16. Go mobile: use a responsive theme, click-to-call button, mobile speed, AMP Pages
  17. For multiple locations do NOT use ‘search and replace’ pages (identical pages but the city names are swapped). You can use the same elements on each page (Google Map, location details, photo, reviews) but the content should be unique to it’s location


National SEO


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Moz’s post on Weighting The Clusters Of Google’s Algorithm was written in 2013, but to this day I think it’s the best chart of Google’s ranking factors (the core factors have not changed).

Organic ranking factors


National SEO Summary

  1. Content is king, length is strength, and videos are powerful
  2. Links are the primary ranking factor (you get links with great content)
  3. Find long-tail keywords using Google Autocomplete + Moz Keyword Explorer
  4. Research each keyword’s competition using MozBar (and analyze search results)
  5. Create keyword-targeted content with Yoast’s SEO Plugin and great on-page SEO
  6. Configure Yoast’s settings with Google Search Console + Bing/Yandex Webmaster
  7. Increase click-through rates by writing better Yoast SEO titles + meta descriptions, adding rich snippets, AMP Pages, keeping your blog post’s publish dates recent, etc.
  8. Optimize content for better social image formatting using Yoast’s social media options
  9. Optimize your website to load faster using my 40+ WordPress speed optimization tips
  10. Add an HTML table of contents to long posts so readers can quickly find information
  11. Share your content on email lists + social media to gain views, links, and social shares
  12. Add HTTPS/SSL to your site (no, I haven’t done this yet and know I really need to)


About Tom Dupuis

Tom Dupuis writes WordPress speed and SEO tutorials out of his apartment in Denver, Colorado. In his spare time, he plays Rocket League and watches murder documentaries. Read his bio to learn 50 random and disturbing things about him.

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