Eric Enge noted in a post that he participated in a Hangout with Google’s Andrey Lippatsev, Search Quality Senior Strategist, who was asked about the top 3 ranking signals, noting that RankBrain was announced as the third most important. “I can tell you what they are. It’s content and links going into your site,” answered Lippatesev.
“When you aren’t facing page relevance or quality issues, links can, and do, continue to significantly impact rankings.” said Enge.
“Backlinks remain an extremely important Google ranking factor,” said Brian Dean founder of Backlinko in a recent blog post on Google Ranking Factors. “We found the number of domains linking to a page correlated with rankings more than any other factor.” Read more on the Backlinko Ranking Study at the end of this article.
RankBrain – Third Most Important Factor
Danny Sullivan of SearchEngineLand wrote an interesting piece on how RankBrain has now become the third most important ranking factor behind content and links. According to a report onBackChannel RankBrain is being used on almost ALL search queries helping determine the most relevant results and their order:
Google is characteristically fuzzy on exactly how it improves search (something to do with the long tail? Better interpretation of ambiguous requests?) but Jeff Dean says that RankBrain is “involved in every query,” and affects the actual rankings “probably not in every query but in a lot of queries.” What’s more, it’s hugely effective. Of the hundreds of “signals” Google search uses when it calculates its rankings (a signal might be the user’s geographical location, or whether the headline on a page matches the text in the query), RankBrain is now rated as the third most useful.