Official: how Google uses links and content to rank web pages

In a webmaster hangout on YouTube, Google’s John Mueller explained how Google uses web page content and links to rank web pages. Both are important if you want to get high rankings on Google.

Google's ranking algorithm

Web page content is important

John Mueller said that some pages with good links do not rank well simply because the content of these web pages isn’t focused enough:

“We do look at a lot of different signals so it’s not just links that make it so that we can pick up content and show it in search.

It’s not that rare that I run across a question in the health forums or somewhere else where people are saying ‘Oh my site is not ranking anymore for my important keywords’ and I look at it with the team and links are not a problem with that.

It’s not […] anything with regards to links being the limiting factor but rather everything else around the website or on the website being more of a problem.

Sometimes it’s as simple as, well, you don’t explicitly mention what you want to rank for on your pages so sometimes that’s that basic.”

Make sure that your web pages are optimized for the topic for which you want to get high rankings. Modern ranking algorithms are able to detect words that are related to a particular keywords. If your website contains many pages that are optimized for keywords that are related to your topic, it is more likely that your web pages will get high rankings for search terms that are related to that topic.

The Top 10 Optimizer in SEOprofiler helps you to optimize your web pages for high rankings.

Links are important

Google has confirmed several times that links play a very important role in Google’s ranking algorithm. However, there’s not a fixed formula:

“It really depends from case to case. It’s not the case that we have [something like] ‘this factor plays 10% of the role, this practice plays 10% of the role and those 10% are going to be the same across all queries and intents and across all websites. These things vary quite a bit.”

If the content of your web pages has been optimized so that it’s clear what your web pages are all about, it’s the quality of the links that makes the difference. Pages with better links get better rankings than pages with few links.

There are exceptions to this rule. For example, breaking news pages can get high rankings for some time even if they do not have many links yet.

The tools in SEOprofiler help you to analyze the links of any website. The tools also help you to improve the links that point to your web pages.

You can view the video here:

It’s content, links and RankBrain

Andrey Lipattsev, Search Quality Senior Strategist at Google, said that content, links and RankBrain are Google’s most important ranking factors:

  • Content tells Google what a web page is all about.
  • Links help Google to find the most important page out of the pages that have similar content.
  • Google’s AI RankBrain tries to make sense out of the content and link signals.

If you want to get high rankings on Google (and other search engines), you need good web page content and good links from other sites. The tools in SEOprofiler help you to get both:

Try SEOprofiler

Johannes Selbach

Johannes Selbach is the CEO of SEOprofiler. He blogs about search engine optimization and website marketing topics at "".