Google Search Domain Brand and WebSpam SEO Ranking Factors

Domain, Brand and Spam Ranking factors

This document is a summary of the complete list of ranking factors related to domains, brands and Spam, which can be found here:

Note that Google does not publish a list of ranking factors, so industry authorities have reverse-engineered these factors based on experiments and observations.

Domain Factors

Domain factors refer to the setup and contents of your domain. The domain is the root web address of your website, e.g.

  • Domain Age. Many SEOs believe that Google inherently “trusts” older domains.
  • Keyword in Top Level Domain. Having a keyword in the domain can help a site rank for that keyword.
  • Domain registration length. Domains registered for more extended periods indicate that the site is not a spam site.
  • Public vs. Private WhoIs. Private WhoIs information may be a sign of having something to hide.
  • Country TLD extension. Having a Country Code Top Level Domain (.uk, .pt, .ca) can sometimes help the site rank for that country. However, it can limit the site’s ability to rank globally.

Brand Authority

Google can assign greater authority to sites representing brands, especially for brand-related searches. Ranking factors include:

  • Legitimacy of Social Media Accounts. A social media account with 10,000 followers and 2 posts is probably interpreted differently than another 10,000-follower-strong account with lots of interaction.
  • Site Has Facebook Page and Likes. Brands tend to have Facebook pages with lots of likes.
  • Site has Twitter Profile with Followers. Twitter profiles with many followers signal a popular brand.
  • Official Linkedin Company Page. Most real businesses have company LinkedIn pages.
  • Brick and Mortar Location. Real businesses have offices, so Google interprets a physical location as an indication of a quality site.

Spam Factors

Google prefers high-quality sites which provide users with a good browsing experience. It may downgrade sites which exhibit the following indicators of low-quality sites:

  • Links to Bad Neighborhoods. Links to bad neighbourhoods, e.g. spammy payday loan sites – may reduce your search visibility.
  • Popups or distracting ads. Google views popups and distracting ads as signs of low-quality sites.
  • Ads Above the Fold. Google penalises sites with many ads (and not much content) above the fold.
  • Hacked Site. A site can be dropped from the search results if it gets hacked.
  • Affiliate Sites. Google tends not to tend to rank affiliate sites highly.



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