Why Do Sites Rank High on Google When They Aren’t Optimized?

why rankings

Have you ever wondered why some sites rank high on Google when they aren’t optimized for search engines? Or even worse, when they barely have any backlinks?

I’ve been asked this question a lot over the last few months, so I thought I would write a blog post explaining why that happens.

Here’s why some sites rank high when they aren’t optimized: 

Reason #1: Click-through rate

Part of Google’s algorithm looks at a click-through rate. It calculates it as a percentage, reflecting the number of clicks you receive from the total number of people searching for that particular phrase you rank for.

The higher the percentage, the more appealing your listing is compared to the competition. And if your click-through rate is higher than everyone else’s, Google will slowly start moving you up the search engine results page as this algorithm factor tells it that searchers prefer your listing.

Looking at the click-through rate isn’t enough, however, as people could create deceptive title tags and meta descriptions to increase their results. So Google also looks at your bounce rate.

It assesses the number of people who leave your page by hitting the back button to return to the search listing page. If Google sends 1,000 people to one of your web pages and each of those 1,000 people hit the back button within a few seconds, it tells Google your web page isn’t relevant.

A lot of the websites that are ranking well on Google that don’t seem to be optimized have a high click-through rate and a low bounce rate. And that helps maintain their rankings.

For example, if you look at this guide, you’ll see it ranks really high for the term “online marketing,” and the ranking very rarely fluctuates as my click-through rate according to Webmaster Tools is 31%.

Here’s another example. This post ranks well for “best times to post on social media.” It would be hard to outrank this listing as my click-through rate is currently 52%.

ctr ranking

If you want to see your click-through rates, log into Webmaster Tools, and click on your site profile. If you don’t have a site profile, that means you need to add your site to Webmaster Tools and wait a few days.

Once you are viewing your site in Webmaster Tools, click on the navigational option “search traffic,” and then click on “search queries.”

If you need help increasing your click-through rates, read this post as I walk you through the steps you need to take.

Reason #2: Age

One of the big factors that cause some sites to rank well is their age. Most of the sites that rank high are at least a few years old.

Sure, most of these older sites have more backlinks and content as they have been around for longer, but not all of them.

What I’ve noticed is that if you take a brand new website, build tons of relevant links, and add high quality content, you still won’t get as much search traffic as older sites will.

There is not much you can do here other than just give it time. The older your site gets, the more search traffic you will generally receive, assuming you are continually trying to improve upon it.

Reason #3: Backlinks

Google doesn’t just look at the sheer number of backlinks a site has—it also looks at relevancy and authority.

Many of these non-optimized sites that are ranking well have a few high quality backlinks pointing to the right internal pages. For example, if you have only few links—but they come from .edu and .gov extensions—your site will rank extremely well.

In addition to having the right backlinks, those sites also have a spot-on anchor text for these links. Most SEOs think you need rich anchor text links to rank well, but the reality is you don’t.

Google is able to look at the web page that is linking to you and analyze the text around the link as well as the text on the page. It helps Google determine if the link is relevant to your site and what you should potentially rank for.

Reason #4: Cross-linking

Even if you don’t have the best on-page SEO and a ton of backlinks, you can rank well from an overall site perspective if you cross-link your pages.

And it’s important not just from a navigational or breadcrumb perspective, but from an in-content perspective. If you can add in-content links throughout your site and cross-link your pages, you’ll find that they all will increase in rankings.

On the flip side, if you aren’t cross-linking your pages within your content, you’ll find that some of your web pages will rank extremely well, while others won’t. It’s because you are not distributing link juice and authority throughout your whole site.

Reason #5: Content quality

Since its Panda update, Google has been able to determine content quality of websites. For example, it can determine whether a site is too thin or has duplicate content, allowing for a much better analysis of content quality than before.

A lot of these well-ranking older sites have extremely high quality content. You may not think so, but Google does.


Because Google doesn’t just look at the content on a site… It looks at the content on one website and compares it to others within that space. So if you have higher quality content than all of your competitors, you are much more likely to outrank them in the long run.

Reason #6: Competition

The beautiful part about ranking for certain keywords is that they are low in competition. And some of these low competitive terms don’t get searched often.

From what I’ve seen, the results pages for these low competition key phrases aren’t updated by Google as often as some of the more competitive terms are. Why? Because more people are viewing the competitive terms.

If you were Google, wouldn’t you focus your resources on ensuring that popular terms and results pages are updated more frequently than phrases that aren’t searched for very often?

Reason #7: Growth rate

What should you do if you want to rank really high for a keyword? Build a ton of relevant backlinks and write a lot of high quality content, right?

Although that’s true, what happens is a lot of webmasters grow their link count a bit too fast…so fast that it seems unnatural. And chances are it is.

Google is smart enough to know this as it has data on a lot of sites within your space. For this reason, you see a lot of older sites ranking well as they are growing at a “natural” pace versus one that seems manufactured.


There are a lot of reasons why sites that don’t seem well-optimized rank well. The seven I listed above are the main reasons I’ve seen over the years.

So the next time you are trying to figure out why a certain site ranks well when it shouldn’t, chances are it’s because of one or more reasons on the list.

As a website owner, you shouldn’t focus too much on your competition; instead, you should focus on improving your website. In the long run, the company with the best product or service tends to win.

Why else do you think non-optimized sites rank well on Google?


  1. Tyler, Easy Agent Pro :

    Cool post, Neil!

    I actually outline my articles with appropriate cross-links under each sub-title.

    I’ve noticed that this is a great way to rank for some low competition keywords.

    What’s your opinion on email outreach?

    I’ve read some of your old stuff on email outreach for link building. Is you opinion still the same on it?

    • Logesh Kumar :

      Cross Linking is a Killer strategy to boost rankings.

    • Tyler, email outreach is a great way to get people to hit your site. I have used it really well over the years & I definitely recommend it. It’s an off-page strategy that can really get you traffic.

      Logesh, it definitely is a great strategy. Thanks for sharing.

      • Yes, I have put a link sidebar for every post. It usually links to a few very relevant posts and some of the most viewed posts in the same categories. What are some other cross link strategies?

    • The biggest factors seem to me to be clean, simple code, preferably a staic html site with very fast loading speed and that will rank easily.

    • Hi Neil,

      Very interesting article. So would I be right in saying that new websites (with well optimized site pages) will find it difficult to rank high in a SERP initially? How can they get the click through rate when they are so far down the rankings?

  2. Neil now this is surprising. I never knew all these factors can help to rank a website which is not optimized.

    • Adam, glad I could help. Let me know if you need help with anything else.

      • Hi Neil, I have a question my competition as 4-5 websites in our niche all with spun content and purchased back links I have followed all guidelines but he still ranks higher, it’s very frustrating, can you give me any advice? Would be great to have a talk via email if possible at all

  3. Good tips. Going for the low traffic AND low competition keywords can be a good strategy for ranking as Google needs to have something relevant to show and most people ignore the smallfry. While individually each page may only get a trickle of traffic, it all adds up over time and eventually makes it easier to rank the tougher keywords with higher traffic.

    Finding enough of these kind of “low hanging fruit” keywords to add up to anything significant can be tricky though, depending how narrow the niche, and it may not be a suitable strategy for everyone, depending on your requirements and resources available. Many people still seem to do quite well with it though, often with multiple sites to make up the numbers.

    • Rob, thanks for the great insights and feedback.

      Essentially it’s vital to see what avenue works best for traffic generation. Often times you may find yourself in a competitive niche where it’s tough to come across easy low hanging fruit.

  4. Steve Estimable :

    Neil, great question to reflect on.

    Wow, click-through rate at 52% = R.I.P to the competition lol

    My take on this post would be reason # 7 on growth rate.

    Neil Q: Why else do you think non-optimized sites rank well on Google?

    Steve Q: Hum…i never asked myself this question. I will take a guess non-data driven answer, I noticed some celebrities and athletes have poor non-optimized websites and still rank well due to their overall popularity and authority.

    Have an high optimized day!

    • Steve Estimable :


      • Steve, thanks for your great insights as always.

        You brought up a good point with celebrities. They have naturally high click through rates because they have non-web based triggers like TV & other types of media. People are inclined to search for them when they hear certain key phrases off the web.

  5. A good write through but most of the reasons mentioned above are optimization techniques which does not seem to have a match at the title of this post.

    Most of the non-optimized sites today are blogspot sites because they never expire and they live forever unlike paid domains.

    • Naman, great point.

      I just wanted to highlight some other methods that sites can rank when they aren’t optimized.

  6. Hi Neil,

    Wondering: if bouncerate is relevant for your Google ranking does the same apply to average time on page?

    I have a page with high bouncerate (76%) but long av. pagetime ( 3:44), it ranks very well in Google.

    Let me know what you think!

    Greetings from Holland!

    • Jasper, while time on page does play a role ultimately a bigger indicator is bounce rates as I mentioned in the post.

  7. William Zimmerman :


    Awesome stuff!

    2,000 words minimum considering content length right?

    Thanks very much. You’re the man!

    Bill Z

  8. I’ve also seen that Google Reviews have done a pretty good job at boost our rankings. Not sure if that is something that matters or not tho.

  9. Reason #2 is SO on-target.

    I’m convinced that the age of a site (not necessarily the age of the domain registration) is a huge ranking factor. I’ve seen some of the spammiest, most obviously hijacked websites in the world ranking for high dollar, longtail phrases.

    Is that a good aspect to Google’s algorithm?

    I’m sure their engineers are convinced that they have data to indicate that on average it improves their results.

    But it sure can be frustrating when you put 20 hours of effort into a new piece of content and it ranks behind a bunch of expired domains from political candidates.

    I think you’re right about clickthrough rate, too. Google put a tremendous amount of weight on CTR when determining what order to show their PPC ads in, so there’s no reason to think they wouldn’t consider that in their organic algorithm, too.

    • Hey Randy,

      I wish that were true! My domain is over 15 years old but I struggle to rank higher than page 2 on most useful terms.

      Content is still king I reckon.

      Adam Parrish

      • Randy/Adam:

        I think it can be true in many cases but definitely isn’t the rule.

        A lot of people have a tough time ranking despite having been around for years. There are a number of variables that go into the formula as I mentioned in the post.

        • Neil:

          I will be starting a blog soon that will likely cover online marketing topics. One of the posts was to be about the age of a website. Many SEOs know that age represents a big factor in Google rankings. However, you still did not elaborate on what to do. In your last paragraph, you mentioned that we just have to wait. But, let’s take a competitive vertical like online dating. Even if you have killer content and relevant links but a new domain, you likely will not rank no matter how long you wait. Why? Because in 5 years when your domain is 5 years old, TopTenReviews, LifeHacker, AskMen, Forbes, MensHealth, etc. will all be 5 years older as well. Statistically speaking, it will be very very difficult to outrank these brands no matter how long you wait. And this doesn’t just apply to the age of your domain. It applies to everything – content, backlinks, cross linking, etc. Even CTR – since you won’t get to the top page, your CTR will naturally be very low. Google’s not even giving you the chance at ranking on the first page. So, your CTR is low throughout the 5 years. Essentially what I’m saying is that it’s a brutal brutal world for small and mid sized affiliate type of sites. They cannot compete with the big names, as they are ranking everywhere. You cannot beat their backlink profiles because of their reach (and their resources to throw money at whatever vertical they are going after). You cannot beat their authority. You cannot beat their domain age. You cannot beat their CTRs. You cannot beat their traffic. The ONLY thing you *may* be able to beat is their content…and even that will be difficult since they hire some of the best writers on the planet.

          Even your site. Say I start a blog that competes with you. No CHANCE someone small outranks you. And, in the miracle shot they do, it will be short lived. You throw more resources at it (since you have more at your disposal) and you will be right back on top. So will the rest of the big brands competing with you. You are also an authority figure so that helps a ton.

          So, realistically, do you have any suggestions of what people like myself can do to honestly compete in the world of SEO? I don’t mind trying (I currently run a site that’s 1.5 years old), we’ve invested a significant amount, and still cannot outrank major authority sites because of what I listed above.

          Thanks in advance.

          • Hello Eric,

            The key is to stay positive and staying perseverant and to keep doing the right thing.

            That is too small a reply for your long post.

            But, that is the key!


          • Eric, there are a number of things you can do. First and foremost you have to offer people in the market something new and exciting that they can’t find elsewhere. When I first started my blog there were very few free resources so I set out to provide a blueprint for anyone wanting to replicate my process.

            I think finding the right product market fir then providing value is essential.

            • I really like what Eric says, which is actually fact. If you search for “alfa laval heat exchangers” on google.com you will see upto 5-6 results from alfalaval.com itself. Whatever the SEO strategy we use we can not beat those links.

              In most of niches, now it is going very difficult to identify why some websites rank without having any SEO value.

              Another thing I noticed that Google uses different ranking system for different niche.

  10. The thing about click through rate is so true. I realized that when I get traffic social media, my organic search traffic increases.

  11. It’s almost impossible to not click through your blogs email updates.

  12. Nirpendra Patel :

    Very nice post , Click Through Rate has been an important measure which others rarely talk about

    Thanks very much for this post

    • Nirpendra, glad you liked it. Let me know if you need help with anything else.

      • Nirpendra Patel :

        thanx for proposing a HELP from your side. That seems to be one of the best offer for me. Incase, i needed any help i will surely let you know. But for now , i have few dumb problems 😉 , which i should solve myself.

        Thanks for those kind words

  13. Randy Kauffman :

    I like this post a lot. I have been wondering why some of these sites have been ranking higher than my clients. Good work!

  14. Tim Strifler :

    This is a great post, and I’ve always wondered this too. Thanks for answering this questions. The theme I’ve been learning from you Neil is “Quality.” Quality Content, quality backlinks, and quality traffic (to produce better click through rate and lower bounce rate).

    • Tim, quality definitely is an important factor when you are looking at traffic gen. Thanks for the feedback!

  15. Sharifa Sanderson :

    Those are pretty solid reasons. I think each of those makes sense. If people have a history of staying on a site after entering a particular search term, why bother to move that site from its position in the rankings.

  16. What about content length?

    • Marvin, that’s an optimization technique that helps — here I am talking about the natural order google places when people don’t optimize as much.

  17. Another reason is paid advertising in Google or other network. Good reputation has also impacted here.

  18. For the longest time, I’d get frustrated that my site was ranking less well than some competitors for the keywords that we were targetting. Now I ignore them and strive to give any visitors to my site the best results for their visit.

    • Haroun, that’s the spirit — you’ll find that you can become competitive by utilizing right optimization techniques and creating quality content.

  19. Trevor Weitzel :

    This is a great post Neil! This is actually something I was planning on training our staff on in the very near future. It is unbelievable how often we get this question from our clients and now you’ve provided the perfect answer. Thanks for doing the work for me!

  20. Kristine @ResepKoki :

    I don’t see any social media factor here…
    I don’t know the exact answer but, I feel that the social signals also make the website ranks well.

    What do you think Neil?

    • Kristine, glad you brought it up. I think they definitely matter — but not as much as the factors mentioned above.

  21. Damien Williams :

    Yes i have also found that uncommon niches work well and i have had websites on the 1st page of google for those keywords. Very good for mini adsense sites 🙂 Thanks for the great post

  22. I’m just new to the SEO and this really make sense. Even though I’ve learned a lot this past month. I still wonder how those happened!

    I am now more convinced that building a quality website is better in the long run than just building tons of low quality content and low quality links.(gaming “Google”)

    Thanks again Niel!

  23. Thank you so much Neil. I have never investigated this myself, but I had a suspicion about the reasons for this. Thank you for the tips. This definitely helps.

  24. Hi Neil,

    Reading you from earthquake threatened situations here in Nepal.

    I have a new blog, two months old with little or very few backlinks, I could still rank for certain long tail keywords to my post.

    So this supports my opinion that quality content in low competitive keywords could easily rank a website.

    • Dipendra, Hope you are well and my thoughts go out to you and you & your family/neighbors/friends.

      Glad to see you are up and back to work though 🙂

      Quality content is always the way to go as evidenced by the past posts I have linked to in the content. Thanks for the feedback!

  25. Thanks clearing this point i have many debate over this topic with my team. Finally i have something as a proof to show them.

    Thanks Neil

  26. Cross linking and breadcrumbs great reminder for juice. On my calendar. Also interesting low competition keywords and Google perspective on that was a good insight for me, I can see how that should be applied in certain situations. Thanks, as always look forward to reading your posts.

  27. Matt Insardi :


    I feel if you keep offering consistent value the traffic will come, especially with these tips.

    THanks Neil!

  28. Patrick Matos :

    Great post, Neil. Question: can you be more specific on #7? When you say “growing at a “natural” pace versus one that seems manufactured”, what does this mean? Is going from 0 blog posts to 2-4 per week good or is it a red flag? How “fast” is reasonable in this context (start with 1/week for a couple months, then 2/week, etc.)? Same question for back-links instead of new posts.


    • Patrick, it means providing value for the sake of providing value rather than just blogging to check off all the boxes. I always look at blogging as if I were teaching people something — make sure your classroom finds value.

  29. Great post Neil,

    I have never really understood this idea of “quality content” in the eyes of Google.

    99% of searches for anything related to weight loss will bring up the same boring and outdated information that really isn’t working for most people. But since Google gets to decide what “quality” is and what it isn’t…these terrible articles dominate.

    Everyone has a different idea on quality, and Google shouldn’t get to decide IMO.

    Anyway…great post as always,

    • Wally, you bring up a point that many people have mentioned before. Why do they get to decide?

      That’s something that I’ll never know. There must be some reasoning behind it. For now I just optimize my site and make sure I do everything else correctly.

  30. Hello Neil Sir,

    This post has just described what I am facing these days for my 4 months old Sports website.

    All above mentioned points are defining the situation of my site but a fact is in the starting 2-3 months I was getting hundreds of visitors daily though I wasn’t so much concerned about the backlinks as it’s hard to gain relevant backlinks for Sports Niche site.

    In this April month, I am failing to get traffic on the site though I have working on it as I was doing in initial months. I mostly focus on On-Page SEO.

    Please sir help me to gain my site. My website is sportsmirchi.com.

    Waiting for your reply..

    • Aman, how is your mobile site operating? Also, has your social media engagement dropped off at anytime during the last month? Your site looks pretty good — I don’t see any major design issues. It may also be that the Cricket World Cup has ended?

      • Aman Bansal :

        Thanks sir for appreciating.. 🙂
        Well sir Social media profiles of site are not too much updated as it should be as I am working alone on the site as i don’t have any team or co-worker..

        Yes, World Cup is over and to be frank I didn’t rank to much too in that tournament. Only India-Pakistan match was there which ranked it helped me to make 300$ on a single day..

        Sometime I was ranking for tennis events as well but now I am not getting ranking for any event.

        From past 2-3 days I am trying to build links through Web 2.0 sites. Will it be helpful or I have to do anything else for Sports Niche site?

        Waiting for your valuable suggestions..

        • Aman Bansal :

          As per the Google analytics report, the ratio of desktop and mobile visitors is 50-50. It doesn’t vary much than this ratio..

        • Neil Patel :

          Aman, I think you are doing most things correct. You just have to wait for another sports trend or wait for the season to come back into full force for cricket.

          • Aman Bansal :

            Sir Cricket and other sports are always in trend. New events are happening on daily basis. The event bloggers(Spammers) are ranking well for such events.

            What should I do for it. How can I rank my site for fresh events..

  31. Your post came out just in time Neil.
    I was with my first website for 5 years and as time went on my traffic increased beautifully. I was on the first pages of searches and close to the top, which of course my sales increased.
    Last fall I built a word-press site and at first my traffic was great. Then a huge decline.
    My first site was and still is redirected to my new one. My new site has a lot of new products which in the beginning, as I was uploading them I slacked on the search titles, alt tags and definitely held back on cross-linking as I was working against the clock (Christmas) and just wanted my products up. I have now started to increase my seo’s on my pages. I am adding content and blogs often.
    Now my site is being changed to a new server and is migrating very slowly~which means it is showing a “server not found” at different parts of the Country though-out the migration.
    I am ready to pull my hair out but as you say it will take time. Would you say what I am experiencing is normal and the traffic will increase eventually?
    I look forward to all your blogs. Cheers Cindy

    • Cindy, I think it’s pretty normal to go what you are going through. Have you talked to the administrators that manage your server. That may be your biggest issue right now at first glance.

  32. Thanks for another awesome information Neil!

  33. James Miller :

    I totally agree with your growth rate point, there are very few sites that can naturally grow at a very fast and exponential rate in terms of content and links.

  34. Great answers, Neil. I’ve been wondering about this question myself.

  35. Neil, I totally agree with you. I never know the #1 CTR and #7 Growth rate matters in sites rankings in Google. I got some great insights from this one. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful article.

  36. Hi Neil

    This is a very great article. Learned some new things from this.
    Again wonderful post with helpful tips.

    Thanks for sharing this article.


  37. jodymilleryoung :

    Neil, love this article; thanks for the great info! always learning from you, and passing that along. 🙂

  38. Very informative ideas, and yes I have also tried the internal linking, and it is really effective, but what I have noticed is that the posts that are shared on social media also get ranked easily.
    And then we could internally link them to other posts.

  39. Hi Neil,

    Learned many new things through your article today.Thanks for mailing me about this post.

  40. Another informative post!

    “A day without learning is a day wasted”

  41. Andres Gananci :

    Any idea on how to split test Titles/Meta-description if you are not on Page1 for a certain term or if you have a high ranking fluctuations?

    • Andres, try different keywords and tags and see if that makes a difference. Depending on where you rank you don’t have as much to lose.

  42. Dr. Muddassir Ahmed :

    Another great, thought provoking post!

  43. Hey Neil Bro….

    Appreciate in depth analysis of search ranking factors. I would like to ask one more thing – Is your server also play important role ? Like.. Shared hoisting, vps, or dedicated servers.

    • Jay, I am not entirely sure on that. Servers can play a role in site speed — bust most of them are pretty quick.

  44. Deevan Hatake :

    Totally exceptional Neil!
    Just a few minutes ago, I had an argument with my fiancee and we were both pssed off.
    Then i landed here and read the whole story. It inspired me so much that i felt enlightened and contacted her again. And now we’ve figured things out.
    Sounds weird but true.
    Thanks for the post!

  45. Thank you for these insights, Neal. I have already shared them and saved for our blogger mastermind’s reference. I would love to know your feeling about cross-linking content on other sites. It is often worthwhile from a reader perspective to link both directions between related content on two or more different sites. Some feel this is “bad” or “risky”, but I have seen it cause all three sites involved to rank for that keyword phrase.

    • Gail, as long as you are following a blueprint and the architectural framework is precise you shouldn’t run into any problems. Let me know if you need any help along the way. Looking forward to hearing much more from you.

  46. Very interesting post.

    This support the phrase: SEO is not something you can do, it is something that happen when you do the things well.

    Looking forward to the next post!

  47. If I have a 15yr old domain with lame content and spammed links, do you think it is worth saving? Clean up the link profile and get constant quality content it will rank again?

    • Brad, there are a number of other variables that come into play. I would try cleaning up the content to see if that helps.

  48. Neil.

    You just a badass, bruh.


  49. Rohan Bhardwaj :

    Hi Neil,

    I too asked myself this question sometimes. Glad you answered.

    So I need to keep working on quality content and click through rate, rest will follow.

    I just checked webmasters and they changed the look of search analytics. My highest CTR is 22.22%. Quite happy. Would focus on that keyword now


    Take care buddy.

    • Rohan, Glad to hear. Sounds like a pretty good CTR to me. Let me know if you need help with anything at all.

  50. Hi Neil,

    reading your blog is like going to school:)

    Thx from Germany

  51. Hi Neil, Great post, as always I stay glued to your content no matter how long cos there’s always lots to take away from it. Thanks for sharing.

  52. Janet Nevins :

    Great post Neil, I need to go fix my site now. I don’t think I have it interlinked correctly. Thanks.

  53. Michael Leedy :

    Yet again.. Great post Neil!

    I’ve honestly JUST started to understand the whole SEO thing. It’s been an anomaly up until this new crew of folks I’ve been hanging around with (since switching toward affiliate marketing and away from MLM).

    You’re points fit quite nicely with what I’m currently studying and implementing!

    Thank you SIR!

  54. Great article as always. You mention bounce rate, but I would like to know technically how Google might measure this. I don’t think they can check whether the back button has been pressed, but they could measure whether the person has clicked on other search results after clicking your site. But then what happens when people do what I often do, and that is open a bunch of search results in new tabs all at the same time?

    If anyone can shed any light on this it would be very interesting.

    • Daniel, RankReveal :

      Hi John,

      Google can access this information with chrome or sites installed with google analytics. It can also measure your upstream and downstream pattern from the search itself. Our browsing pattern leaves traces.

      Of course measuring just a few people won’t make sense. Google has the same data that is representative of population. Not only that, Google can compare a browsing pattern with other patterns to arrive at insights on how users are thinking about a site.


      • Daniel, great points. Google is pretty intuitive in that sense. It can really figure out contextual triggers for almost any action.

    • John, I believe this question was asked earlier. I would also love to know if anyone has some actual data and insight on this. My assumption is that bounce rate is signified by someone leaving after clicking off a site.

      • Ray Cassidy :

        You are probably familiar with this old article from Justin Cutroni? I haven’t spotted a more relevant or clear explanation of Google’s time and engagement metrics. Is this what you were looking for Neil? Understanding Google Analytics Time Calculations – Analytics Talk http://ow.ly/MvFUwAA

  55. Great post. Sometime, we don’t need to do much for SEO. An example for this post is: http://colorlib.com/, most of their collections about WordPress themes are getting highest ranking on Google.

    They’re creating free WordPress themes and put their backlink to the footer of themes. Age, backlinks, quality content => oh shit 🙂

    • Toan, glad you found it helpful. The link you provided does a great job of compartmentalizing things and making them easier to digest.

  56. Hi Neil,

    Great article. You highlight some important points.

    I would add that google intentionally enables sites to rank well in organic results even if they have little of the above. I have seen this repeatedly whilst analysing page 1 serps. And I believe they do this to ensure that results appear natural, and to keep marketers guessing, preventing them from forming strategies that impact results directly and consistently. Thats what tadwordsthe ppc model essentially provides.

    There’s more to say on this I believe, but that will be for another occasion.


    • Raph, good point. That definitely could be one of the reasons behind some sites ranking and some not. I like to also look at the other factors that I highlighted in this post.

  57. Ryan Biddulph :

    Each point shows Neil that intelligence, along with some persistence to keep that age thing going, makes the difference. Even without optimizing you can fall upon a Page 1 ranking, Position 1, if you do things with an eye toward helping folks, toward connecting with leaders and leading sites, and with a simple, persistent, effective approach to building links.

    Some bloggers get obsessed with details. I worry little about SEO. I create, connect and intend to make an impact where I show up and let the rest take care of itself.

    My wife has ranked on Page 1 for some nice long tail keywords relavent to the law of attraction. She knows little or nothing about SEO but her content rocks, she only comments on relevant, authority blogs and her blog comments are excellent, being super thorough.

    Stick to the basics guys!


    • Ryan, great points. Quality content will always rank better and receive much more traffic. On the flip side it’s important to focus on things that matter like engaging with your community on comment threads.

      As long as you are following the right steps — everything else will follow.

  58. You continue to amaze me with your knowledge base. I am trying to rank some sites, but it sure takes time. Thanks again for the awesome content!

  59. Hey Neil,

    Great post, as always. I do have a question about backlinks.

    The niche I’m in doesn’t have an authority; just primarily forums, the occasional site that tried to become an authority, some job search engines, etc…

    My question is since there isn’t an authority I can get backlinks from, should I continue to submit my articles to web directories and promote on social media?


  60. Hi Neil,

    First of all great post!

    How can I rank for the keywords where I don’t have a physical location. Sometimes Google ranks the websites which has a physical location than the ones without even though they serve the whole region and been in the business for a longtime. Do you have a post addressing this issue?


    • Karthik, you don’t necessarily need a physical location. Is your product or service based on geographic regions?

  61. Thanks for sharing! if i didn’t read this blog, i have miss one important thing that is cross building.

  62. Neil great insights, I wonder how can google identify the ctr of a website which has not a ga code inserted?

    CTR get measures when the code is already inserted in the site. Correct me if I am wrong.

    • Daniel, RankReveal :

      When someone search for a keyword and results page is displayed, Google is about to measure which listing gets more click. GA is not required.

    • Usman, if I understand clearly you want to know how Google can identify CTR when there is no code?

  63. Good one Neil, Thanks for sharing. 🙂


  64. Thanks Neil.

    Awesome post. I always had this question but without any answer till now. Thanks a lot for this post.

  65. Shibu Daniel :

    Thanks Neil,

    Amazing facts about SERP results. Really worth for an optimizer .

  66. Great post Neil… I’ve come to understand that SEO is a long term thing, you have to keep learning and endeavor to make your site better, overtime the result will show. It’s just so funny that when you think you know enough SEO techniques, new strategies just pops up that make you almost look like a newbie.

    Thanks for the inspiring article

    • Dan, glad you found it helpful. I am constantly sharpening my skills so that I can become a better marketer.

  67. And I think you are missing the social sharing activities performed by the site users when it comes to rank for a specific keyword where there is weak competition.

    • Robinsh, I deliberately left out social sharing because I wanted to highlight other methods. But good point!

  68. Neil Sir .. Thanks.. You are Awesome 🙂

  69. Thanks for great and informative content once again.

  70. Actually a newbie @ dis but understood every bit of it…Thanks

  71. Content – unique, interesting and useful content is the biggest thing… like even you Neil… you have the best content for anyone looking for good topics on digital marketing.

    Then, people will automatically like you, share your articles and do comments… populate you…

    So, the best thing on this web is CONTENT.

    • Amit, great point. If people like you and more inclined to share your content then your site will benefit immensely.

  72. Hi Neil,

    Speaking of Bounce Rate, I always have this question that I wanted an answer and you would be the best to answer this I believe.

    Okay, so the way I browsed Google listings is a little bit different, I opened them in separate tabs, and close those irrelevant or once I’m done reading it instead of hitting the ‘back’ button.

    So, if I open a listing on new tab, and close it right afterwards for being irrelevant, does that still count as high ‘bounce rate’?

    • Charles, that’s a great question. Bounce is considering any person entering the site and exiting it. So I would assume that would constitute someone leaving the site.

  73. Hi Neil Sir,
    Great post indeed 🙂
    I also saw this thing that some website even that have no any backlinks and never optimized for search engine and they rank on the top of the Google. I was amazed by seeing this. I have tried to find out the solutions but never get any good solution for this. But after reading your post, it clear all my doubts.
    Thank your for your kind share.
    Have a great day 🙂

  74. Awesome article!
    I think should follow these steps in order to rank my blog higher in google. Specially the cross linking.

  75. Hello Neil,

    As always it’s a great post from you. I have one question is it a good idea to buy an old domain name that has been dropped recently.


    • Imran, check out this article: https://www.quicksprout.com/university/how-to-find-affordable-expired-domains/

      • Mukesh Negi :

        Are you serious, you are talking about cross linking (Link Exchange) is best way to increase ranking.

        Google : “Excessive link exchanges (“Link to me and I’ll link to you”) or partner pages exclusively for the sake of cross-linking”

        it is a part of Link schemes.

        Than how can you recommend us ?

        • Neil Patel :

          Mukesh, leveraging your existing links and doing it in a way that isn’t a link exchange is what I am speaking about in the post.

  76. Everything seems okay to me except the Growth rate.

    I mean, how the newly created niche sites are ranking high? Obviously for huge backlinks…and you know these are created within a certain time and a faster way. 🙂

    Would love to get a reply from Neil.

    • Shamim, as I said in my comment, when my website was new I didn’t have a single backlink (let alone “huge” ones) and I still was able to rank on the top 3 results on google.

      All Neil says is totally legit!

      • Shamim, Clelia is right — some sites don’t need as many backlinks to do well. Quality content goes a long way.

  77. Milind Kushwaha :

    You continue to amaze me Neil sir with your talent. I was trying to rank some sites and your this post boost me again to do hard work.
    thanks for inspiration every time.

  78. Niel,

    I saw many new site who rank well in search engine with some backlinks. i think they have good content and high authority backlinks

  79. Jitendra Singh :

    Cool Post & really helpful.

  80. Rinjani Information Centre :

    Thank you for your share, this is very helpful !!

  81. Vijay Khetan Group :

    thanks for sharing the article with everyone ..

  82. Delwar Jahan :

    That’s a whole lot of SEO described in this post. Except for social media marketing these are the exact things a person need to take care off for their site’s success.

  83. Humayun kabir :

    Well written ,thanks for share among us.

  84. Daniel Obaike :

    Hi Neil,

    Very insightful article. As a Newbie I am at that stage were ranking is priority. thanks for the tips especially on cross linking.

  85. Very interesting post Neil. I’m actually the living proof of all you say on this article. When my website was only 4 month old, and had barely any content, I published a massive guide. Not thinking about ranking high, I only focused on creating something of value for my readers. They immediately loved it and In a month I was ranking amongst the top 3 search results for a medium competitive keyword.

    Back then I obviously didn’t have any backlinks at all, not even internal ones. Two years later, with a click trough rate of more than 35% for the most popular keywords, I’m now ranking very high for many other keywords, some of them HIGHLY competitive.

    Now I have good backlinks (created naturally and overtime) and I even rank for keywords that don’t appear on my article at all, but only on my comment section.

    One of my strategies is to reply to each and every comment in depth (an average of no less than 300 words per comment), and so far I’m quickly reaching 300 comments (including my replies).

    This helped tremendously as Google consider my comment section as fresh relevant content.

    Another thing I do to keep my position and improve it, is to add/update the content on the article regularly. I even put the sentence “latest updated march 2015” at the beginning of the post. It works wonder and overall all of my articles are now ranking much better and much faster than before.

    So my only addition to this great post is: don’t underestimate the comment section!


    • Clelia, I have learned first-hand that the comment section can do wonders for your bottom line. I receive a ton of comments daily and make sure I reply to each any every one. It’s a form of customer service and you want to make sure you are addressing everyone’s concerns.

  86. Jasper Espejo :

    My web design portfolio is ranked high for certain keywords in my country and have a PR4 homepage although I have not really blogged for over two years and only update when I advertise completed projects every few months. I don’t really do SEO actively but I come out ok when searching for freelance wordpress designers in the Philippines. I attribute it to age and low competition (so far) in this area. Checking Google Webmaster tools, it turns out I am getting high CTR.

    • Jasper, thanks for sharing your personal experience. That really validates a lot of the findings I shared in my post.

  87. Hi Neil
    I’m biggest fan of your work experiences and way to explain.
    here, i have a problem that i have an ecommerce website which has no back links so could you please tell me the way for creating backlink… like what are those strategies

    please share

  88. I think Neil just finished his quota of answering comments. 🙂

    • Imran — there are no quotas 😉

      • Please guide me. I asked it in my previous comment.

        Hello Neil,

        As always it’s a great post from you. I have one question is it a good idea to buy an old domain name that has been dropped recently.


        • Neil Patel :

          Imran, I believe I provided a link that would guide you with your answer. Either way here is the guide again: https://www.quicksprout.com/2007/05/29/how-to-choose-a-brandable-domain-name/

  89. Thanks Neil for this wonderful post I really wonder how you do such deep analysis for your blog posts I really love your blog posts! Keep up the good work

  90. Heloo Neil,,

    Thanks for the post I really Appreciate your efforts .

    I have been working in SEO for a long time ..

    I didn’t hear about using Crossing-links

    Please explain more about how to use them to boost rank!

    Thanks ..

    • Hamzeh, check out this article for tips:


  91. Jason Lancaster :

    Here’s another possible reason – If a person thinks that a page that ranks for a competitive term isn’t optimized, perhaps they don’t know what “optimized” means?

    Google is all about the user experience. If your page offers a great experience, odds are good it will rank well…even if you don’t use keywords in title tags and all that other business.

    Far too much is made of technical SEO…it’s 10% of the equation (at most).

    • Jason, that’s true. There are a ton of things that go into optimization — a lot of them aren’t mentioned as often as others.

  92. Great post Neil. I think a good PageSpeed ranking and now mobile-friendliness can help a site with thin content to rank well.
    It’s also important to realise that your site can be successful without having all your posts ranking highly or being the best. As you mentioned, having one high ranking post with interlinks can improve the visibility of your other posts. I have a few high ranking posts that are slowly helping my blog to grow.

    • Glad you found it helpful. As long as you are consistently providing quality content and doing the small thing you will see great results.

  93. I didn’t get all the terms you mention, but I did get the insight. The only thing I can not do with is domain age of my website. I’ll make sure to follow all the ways you described above. Thanks for the info.

  94. sir
    i want to ask why backlinks are that much important means i write a high quality i keep my own page seo good.still my domain aauthority is 1 and that the main reason that my articles donot ranks on top on google.but i want to ask the most easiest and simplest way of making back links that donot waste much time
    sir i m asking about something magical that u havent mention uptil now

  95. I do have an example none of your mentioned points are matching this domain. May you are interested in to an analyse to that none-predictable behavior of google?

  96. Definitely not bounce rate because not everyone has analytics installed.

  97. Suresh Patel :

    You keep on astounding me with your insight base. I am attempting to rank a few destinations, however it beyond any doubt requires some investment. Much appreciated again for the wonderful substance!

  98. Really relevant set of list. So it again proves that Content is what you should focus on as that is what will make the CTR high.

  99. Some of the factors like age isn’t even in the person’s control

  100. Hi Neil,

    A very comprehensively written post. One of the new point to me is the click-through rate.

    Yes, age of domain also matters. I have personal experience with aged domain with a site is also made.

  101. I have two websites one is xyz and 2nd is m.xyz. Clients need xyz traffic from desktop and from m.xyz they want only mobile traffic. Please suggest me what to do for m.xyz ?

  102. I wonder if instead of cross linking it would help to have a related post plugin like YAARP or Jet? Does Google recognize that as cross linking?

    • Neil Patel :

      Mary, I would avoid using plugins to crosslink — doing it the old fashion ways is always best.

  103. Rafael Querido :

    Thanks Neil for sharing this content, it’s really helpful.

    If I want to use some strategy to optimize my blog, I want to use SILO and External Backlinks for my mini sites.

    What do you think about this strategy? Can you give me a help?

    Rafael Querido

  104. Carti de vizita :

    Wow Neil! This is a super post! I always had questions about some sites, and now you`ve responded to all. Thank you so much!

  105. Hi Neil,
    Well if Google calculates the CTR, it only comes into play if you’re on page 1 and on top 5(no one ever goes to page 2), so how do websites reach there without optimization and backlinks.

    • Anjum, if you look at the post again there are multiple variables that are plan. Domain age is one of them.

  106. Amazing article, Neil.

    I strongly agree that cross-linking is a major factor for ranking among with aged domain or website.

    Keep up the great work!

  107. This is great information! Clear, concise and yet packed with content. I’ve been working at building a site and SEO for a few months now. I’m going to keep this on hand to help sort out all the do’s and don’t’s of networking. Thanks a bunch!

  108. liela kevin :

    Cross Linking is a Killer strategy to boost rankings.

  109. Harekrishna :

    Previously I was confused about Click thorough rate and bounce rate. Now I understood its importance.
    I think Age factor requires time for higher page ranking. While looking for a number of backlinks which comes from.gov and .edu extension is tough. What do you say Neil?

    • Neil Patel :

      Harekrishna, it definitely is tough but achievable. Let me know if you need any help along the way.

  110. hi, neil i am really pleased to know about all those facts you have mentioned above. I hope this this will help me in future.

  111. droidvoice :

    I agree with all the points you mention. Writing strong headlines and meta descriptions which fit the limit that google allow is key to a high CTR.

    A high CTR can also be produced by having strong branding, if customers/users know your brand, they are more likely to click your link.

    It’s all about building trust.

  112. I agree with all the points you mention. Writing strong headlines and meta descriptions which fit the limit that google allow is key to a high CTR.

    A high CTR can also be produced by having strong branding, if customers/users know your brand, they are more likely to click your link.

    It’s all about building trust.

  113. I agree with all the points you mention. Writing strong headlines and meta descriptions which fit the limit that google allow is key to a high CTR.

    A high CTR can also be produced by having strong branding, if customers/users know your brand, they are more likely to click your link.


  114. Anika Davis :

    Well I honestly say that I haven’t a clue that Google incorporated
    such a factor as pressing the “back button” in just a few seconds
    would affect a site’s ranking.

    I merely thought it was only based on the quality data within a
    site and it’s links, but this just goes to show that Google
    has thought way ahead of the endless possibilities.

    Thanks again Neil for another useful and informative article.
    Hope to read more of your work soon.

  115. Shahid Khan :

    Yes I am Totally Agree With The Factors You Listed Here Which Makes Un-Optimized Site Ranks Well In Google…

    Cross-Linking And CTR Is What I Experienced Already !

    Thanks !

  116. what is the best way to get .edu or .gov backlinks ? are they even achievable now ?

  117. Graham Apolony :

    Great analysis of the factors other than content that affect our rankings.

    I have heard differing opinions on bounce rate. Is it how long before returning to Google for another selection or whether or not you continue onto additional pages within the site?

    With age of the site, is it the of the domain registration or the age of the page in its current format or subject matter that really makes the biggest difference?

    Thanks for the gold mine of information.

    • Neil Patel :

      Graham — check out this article https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/2525491?hl=en

      This article should help with domains: https://www.quicksprout.com/2007/05/29/how-to-choose-a-brandable-domain-name/

  118. This is a great post, and I’ve always wondered this too. Thanks for answering this questions. The theme I’ve been learning from you Neil is “Quality.” Quality Content, quality backlinks, and quality traffic

  119. Neil, it’s weird how my content is insanely better (2k words vs 500 words for instance), my website is older and I got only natural backlinks for my content and still got outranked by unrelated pages! They probably have a low CTR since they have nothing to do with the content (no title, h1 with the keyword etc.)
    Any idea what could be bringing me down? You can email me if you want the link for a quick analysis

  120. Jeewan garg :

    Neil, It is great to read eye opening post. One question comes to mind. It means any one manipulate the result also. Example : Suppose somebody is searching for “servo stabilizer” My site is coming at page 4 ( 39 position ) i get it clicked by many IPs, my CTR will be high in that case.

    Will my site rank higher then ?

    • Neil Patel :

      Jeewan — it’s all about context and quality — so a number of factors will weigh into results.

  121. I have put a link sidebar for every post. It usually links to a few very relevant posts and some of the most viewed posts in the same categories. What are some other cross link strategies?

    • Neil Patel :

      Sneha, sounds like you are doing all the right things. Some other strategies include utilizing testimonials and your bio.

  122. A lot of people overlook organic CTR when it comes to rankings. Organic CTR has always played a significant role in how Google ranks websites.

  123. Firstly thanks for sharing this content. What I want to know is how do you manage to attract people with the content. I mean in just under 10 days the content you have shared is flooding the social media and Google even though you haven’t optimised a specific word.
    Please let me know more about this…

  124. Really good article! Thanks Neil.
    I have to rethink about my SEO methods

  125. Alex Stern :

    The site-age factor is so true. I have got the chance to buy a domain name that someone else let expired sometime ago without knowing. And the speed which whom pages were getting indexed and ranked blew my mind. I later discover that the domain name was way older than I thought it was

    Thanks for sharing.

  126. since im in the field of SEO. thisarticle is very helpfull for me.

  127. Peeyush Rajput :

    Great tips.Once again you have done a mind blowing job and a great thanks for this article

  128. Emma Onwuka :

    This post has actually attracted a lot of comments and I won’t leave without dropping my own comment.

    Every body wants to rank his/her site high on Google, so the competition is there.

    Do the right thing! what is the right thing? Help people find what they are searching for. This is what internet is meant for.

    New and fresh quality content is sure to put your page on Google’s number 1 list.

    Ask for comments from your readers-Google value comments. Comments can put your page on Google number 1list. It help Google rate your site.

    I won’t forget cross-linking, may be I will like to call it deep linking. It helps a lot.

    In less than 4 months, I was able to shoot up my blog ( www.naijaonlinebiz.com) visitors from hundred to thousands per day.

    I have much to say but let me drop the cotton here for now.

    Neil, I appreciate your post. Thanks.

    • Emma, I appreciate the time you took to comment and provide your insights. Fresh content is definitely going to provide the best results and a multi-channel approach is best. Looking forward to hearing much more from you!

  129. Wow that’s alot of comments! I would be surprised if a huge number of comments wouldn’t also help SERP ranking 😉 Is it a signal of a highly engaged user base?

    • Kameel, while there isn’t definitive evidence that, that’s the case there is a lot of suggestive evidence. Quality content provides the best results.

  130. Lakiesha Sigmund :

    I totally agree… i think it is all about vision and sticking with your goals on a focus way. Work hard and focused and success comes next.

  131. Exactly what we’ve been wondering about. Thank you for some insight. Maybe this will clear our heads a little. Sometimes, these unusually ranking sites can drive our team nuts.

  132. Thank you for sharing this information.

  133. Rupesh Patel :

    I am trying your suggestions on a new site i have started. How many posts a day do you think one should write?

  134. Hi Neil,

    This is a question that has haunted me for quite sometime now. As every client I worked with gave me an example of one of his competitors who ranked on first two pages of Google SERP without any SEO strategy, quality backlinks. It became difficult for me to justify it. I am keep this post in mind everytime I come across such questions again.

    Cheers mate!

  135. Vimlesh Maurya :

    Dear Neil, thanks a lot for sharing.

    I have one specific question about Cross-linking – I created a main page and 3 location specific pages and linked them with the main one. it was suppose to improve the ranking for other 3 pages but ranking improved for the main page.

    Can you please help me why this happened?


  136. Superb info. I always had this question.

  137. Jeewan Garg :

    Sir Thank you very much for your reply. Continuation to my question suppose I click on my website thru google result once or twice a day from the same IP. Will it add to CTR or Google will detect it that this click is coming from the same IP, so it will discard the clicks from the CTR, while calculating the ranking factor.

  138. Great article. I have a new site and I’m trying to do things as “naturally” and as much by the rules as possible. Great tips and info. Thank you!

  139. Navraj Singh :

    Thanks for such useful info Neil. Your articles are always full of great information.

  140. Hi Neil. If you haven’t already done so in another blog, would you please expand on what specifically constitutes “quality content” as Google defines it?

    Thank you for the guidance and sharing of your expertise!


  141. Really good post Neil. I am not sure with the CTR as pages that do not rank well cannot have any clicks. But the part about the website’s age is definitely valid.

  142. One of the The best ways to raise google rankings is by honest, paid traffic from real visitors.It shows people are interested, and this is a fact. A good source is http://www.traffic-stampede.com

  143. That’s really a very good post, i was not aware about “Competition” section that you mentioned. Thanx once again for sharing this post.

  144. this information is very helpful ,i am interesting in this page . thank you for sharing .

  145. Thanks for all the important highlights in this post, it helped me understand a little more about SEO and i had not thought about cross-linking, it is something i have to work on.

  146. Neil,

    This information was very helpful. It can definitely be a bit confusing at times to understand Google’s rankings for newer bloggers. Internal link-building is something that can naturally and easily be done, so it really is a given for websites without much authority.

    I think that oftentimes bloggers don’t realize the extent of the competition in their selected niche. I’ve learned that evaluating the competition for each high-traffic keyword is very helpful, I like using tools like MOZ to quickly help with this. For example, if a number of websites are ranking on page 1 for any given keyword, but have few backlinks and other metrics, it’s probably not going to be difficult outrank them.

    But like you said at the end, I really do think quality content is the key. Whatever shift Google will make in the future, it’s pretty probable that they’re going to keep refining their ability to find the absolute best quality search results for each search inquiry on their search engine.

    Thanks Neil, I’ve learned a lot from quicksprout and still have a lot more to learn!


    • Bryan, glad you found it helpful.

      It’s tough to get an idea of how competitive things are until you deep dive. Quality is always the biggest differentiator which is why I place so much emphasize on writing in-depth posts!

  147. Thanks for Awsome article, helpful for me Thanks again

  148. Malaysia Tour :

    How long does it take Google rank your site climb??
    who can help me?

  149. I don’t know what works and what not because initially when I never use to comment or do any sort of social sharing, my site use to rank at top but now when I actually work on it the results are not same. Thanks for these tips, might try these now.

    • It’s a bummer you don’t have the same rankings as you did before Prerna. Let me know if things changes what you implement these tips

  150. While I hope this to be true “good content wins”, part of me worries that Google is a monopoly and the one who pays the most gets on top. How can I figure out which key words to focus on when you only get like 7 views a day?

    Not really motivating when you think you could build a high quality content website that never gets viewed. I mean, how can your site really move up if no one can find it?

    Another thing is putting so much hard work into something that may not succeed. It is hard to stay motivated.

    SEO stuff that I read says get other people to share your stuff on social networks get people to link to your site, but I don’t really have any friends so that kind of sucks for me. Who really wants to beg people to come to your website on Facebook anyway? I’d imagine most people find that sort of thing annoying. Also, I’d rather remain anonymous about being the creator of my webpage(s).

    I know it sounds like I’m complaining…Eh…maybe I am a little bit in order to get the frustration I feel, out of my system.

    Is spamming YouTube an okay strategy or is Google smart enough to screw me for it? I know it is kind of shady, but hey… if it works.

    • It’s okay for you to share your frustrations, I understand where you’re coming from. I know it could suck at first, because you do need to both create content and promote it. In the beginning, many people won’t read it, but if you chose a topic you genuinely enjoy, you’ll have a much easier time transitioning into success. It’s important for you to chose a topic you enjoy talking about, something you would talk about, even if you didn’t get paid.

  151. Do the number of affiliate links which you inserted into each post affect the Google ranking algorithm?

  152. Hi Neil,
    What impact, if any, does the spam referrals and ghost referrals (seen in my google analytics report) have on the bounce rate and click through rate as indicated in the factors above?
    Since I have no control over those and it is all spam does it have any impact on my ranking/click through rates?

  153. Satyajett Salokhey :

    Hello Neil,

    Quicksprout is certainly an inspiration and reliable source of information. I would like to put forward 2 questions.

    1) This is the only article I came across which claims that domain age matters. I did bought one following you checklist to earn 100000$.And I am happy I did! Could you please elaborate on this topic?

    2) I have seen many blog that blog about blogging. Why so? and what are other niche that could bring in massive traffic? I take interest in entertainment and fashion most. And found only two blogs which are successful in these area. Please guide.

    Thank you for your time to read this comment,


    • 1. Older domains usually have more backlinks, which is why.

      2. Any niche that has a big market cap. Type in keywords into google.com/trends to see what would be popular.

  154. “Looking at the click-through rate isn’t enough, however, as people could create deceptive title tags and meta descriptions to increase their results. So Google also looks at your bounce rate.”

    This is just flat out false and you should probably adjust your article. Matt Cutts flat out states that bounce rate has zero impact on ranking


    • I am pretty sure they have adjusted their algorithm since 2012. Not sure how else they know things like poor quality content (Panda) without measuring bounce.

  155. Great post Neil. I have a small game site which is dailygamereviews.com. Can you suggest how can I get links or other methods to improve its overall ranking ?

  156. Sahadath Hossain :

    Really an impressive article. I am looking for such an article. I am trying to increase my google ranking. Your post will help me a lot. I have a question to you, I am blogging for more than one year and my visitors are not enough, how can I get enough visitors to my site. I will be always grateful to you sir, if you help me to increase my search visitors. Thanks for sharing this article.

  157. Wow! That’s about something I always had confusion. I have a query to be raised though. Can we say that the overall basic aspects of SEO started fading? Is SEO working as if like SEO= Just Backlink creation now?


    • No, it’s more of a holistic approach that entails content marketing, mobile optmization, back links and a variety of other things under the online marketing umbrella.

  158. Wow man you are amazing, i always enjoy reading your articles.

  159. My favorite blog where i steal vital information to grow my business. I use your content guideline as benchmark to build my site.

    Why? you are really successful in your blogs (Quicksprout, CrazyEggs, HelloBar, Kiss Metrix and Neilpatel)

    All are doing marvelously on search engine… Thanks

  160. I think google just ranks whoever they chose to rank, that’s what i think.

  161. Also some websites that are used by public like government websites , banks, and other official websites rank easily without any back links and of course they do gain links naturally due to publicity. If Google changes links as a means of o rank website then things will change dramatically, lets wait and watch what they are going to bring us.

  162. how to get gov edu? privatinggris.blogspot.com

  163. how is the exact way to make keyword in the high rank ?

  164. les privat bahasa inggris :

    How many back link must be own for the owner to reach high rank keyword

    • At the end of the day, you want to focus on writing really good content. When it comes to links, it’s about the number of backlinks, the quality, and the anchor text used to link back to your site.

  165. les privat bahasa inggris :

    Do domain name influence tha keyword rank

  166. les privat bahasa inggris :

    which one is better making the abservation or take a seo course to make high rank keyword

    • Take an SEO course, or you can even check out quicksprout.com/university to get familiar with everything

  167. les privat bahasa inggris :

    How to get edu back link

  168. Great Post Neil.

    It’s definitely frustrating to see your clients outranked with sites having zero SEO optimization.

    I think that when Google sees a relevant website with no optimization but have tremendous click through as you mentioned, they value the authenticity of the site and will rank much higher. Like as if they see that the company isn’t trying to rank but provide a great service/product and in this case don’t measure the website with all the ranking factors. What do you think?

    Also do you think referral traffic with good click through rate and session duration have a big role? (thinking of this as a real life referral being the best customer acquisition type.)

    I currently have a client who is outranked by a site exactly what I mentioned above and is furious about it. This post is going to help a lot in calming him down.


    • Yah, click through plays a major role. If another site that’s lower than you is drawing in more clicks, they’ll move it higher up.

      Yes, referral sources, length of time on site etc.

  169. Maria Wynham :

    I use to wonder that how can a site rank on top position in SERP of google even if the same is not optimized.. But thanks to Neil.. Great explanation!

  170. Hi,
    I’ve set up a website for an artist, and tried to follow as many Google guidelines as possible when writing page titles, meta descriptions, site structure, and navigation etc.

    The website URL is the artists name, however, if you google search the artists name only a few random pages from the website show up in the SERP.

    I still don’t quite get why the home page isn’t ranked before any other sub page.

    The main content of the site, and the navigation NAV tag is implemented in the home page, along with ample text and images ALT named with the artists name.

    So why doesn’t the home page rank before the sub pages?

    Any suggestions would be greatly received.

  171. Hi great article. My site and domain is only about 4 months old. I have been ranking up and diwn like a yoyo from page 1 and 2. I have noticed hundreds of veiws then my page drops. I have also been sent so many emails asking for prices on my services. Which i suspect are the competition. Can the competition sabotage your rankings by causing your site to have high bounce and ctr. This has always concerned me. Because i notice they change titles to match mine and then i change mine. They change again. They add content i had they did not have. These guys are big companies with TV advertising and more. Can tbey sabotage my rankings through clicking on my website giving it bad bounce rates and ctr?

    • It’s possible, but usually it’s not the case. If they are running ads and such, they may just have higher authority

  172. Should i code my own site. I am not happy with some of the code in this WordPress website. I have had to add and change php. As alt tags were missing and many other things. I rank #1 page 1on bing for so many serps. Google is up and down all the time one day page 1 then another day page 2. I notice this happens after a huge influx of visits. I am really concerned if the competition is sabotaging. Can they do that?

    • No, they are probably not sabotaging you. I wouldn’t recommend coding your site, wordpress works fine.

  173. Debra Turner :

    Sometimes it gets discouraging. I usually post twice a week. My traffic has increased from about 400-500 clicks per day to 1,200-1,500 — I’m not sure why, but great! Yet, my Google rating remains a low “2.” Meanwhile, I see blogs that never get updated at a “5” rating. Also, I do write (ie words) content about topics of substance, but see certain fashion blogs that are little more than posted selfies of bloggers wearing different shoes and slacks, capes and dresses (= content) get a high “5.” So what’s a blogger to do?

  174. Great post Dear

  175. Hello Neil

    Wonderful work!

    I need help with upgrading the SEO of my site. That might include restructuring a bit of the design as I understood AJAX was used to enhance certain features on the sight that could hinder Google bot crawling and index.

    Also, I understood my programmer didn’t do a thorough job on meta tags, meta description and title tag.

    How can I contact u, pls

  176. safarbin.ir :

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  177. Estoz Khattak :

    This is really helpful! Thanks for writing this blog, it saved me from google penalty.

  178. Sunil Pasbola :

    Great post! Neil. Domain authority plays an important role in ranking a site higher in the search engine results when it isn’t optimized. Since domain authority is primarily based on backlinks thus it is always a better idea to focus on building quality backlinks. In order to build backlinks one should create unique content as unique and useful content has the potential to build backlinks on its own.

    • Yep you got it Sunil. The better your content in reality, the easier it will be to get other people to link to you

  179. Duncan Pattinson :

    Is it wise to consider every top level menu page as its own website. Or doesn’t that matter when you want a high ranking site.

    I find that my sub level pages do not rank as well as the top level pages – Any ideas what i
    should do?

    • They are not. Sub domains are more so separate sites.

      Build links to the top level pages to help boost their rankings.

  180. Daniel Brady :

    This doesn’t explain my competitor, BuyHammocksOnline.com.au ranking #2-3 for ‘hammock chair’ in Australia.


    They have only 2 low quality links to their domain. I have 67 linking domains but am ranking #13.

    I thought maybe their content is longer than mine. I lengthed mine to no avail.

    I’m left with 2 ideas:

    – Internal Linking
    – They have more products on their category page.

  181. Hi Neil,

    This has puzzled me for years Neil, I see other businesses without huge contents ranking very high and not only ranking, they are extremely difficult to overtake on the top spot. So this makes absolute sense that google algorithm favors age and so on.

    I totally agree with your insight on this topic.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • I know how confusing things like this can get, so I’m happy you have a better understanding of this now

      • But Neil, I think my business may be suffering from this age issue spoken about in your article. I have a new website about two years old and it’s not just ranking. what would be the best cause of action you would suggest to me?
        I will appreciate your opinion on this.

  182. Hi Neil,

    What you you consider a “natural” pace for website to gain backlinks? The domain has age is that taken into account?


    • It depends on your site Martin… it can be a few links a month if you’re new to hundreds of links if you’re legitamitely going viral

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  184. Essentially, post good content. Be Patient. Best way of ranking well organically on Google. While super frustrating for new startups, it’s very sound advice.

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  187. Hello there! This pkst couldn’t be writen muc better! Going through
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  188. Alok Jasmatiya :

    Mr Patel ! Do you really believe in backlinking strategies like – link pyramiding and all like this.

  189. Nirbhay Prasad :

    Thanks for the awesome post Niel. I always had this question. I knew about Click through rate and age part but got to know some more new things.

  190. Chandra prakash :


    i read your posts and fing that you are very good at SEO, WordPress tips n Starting a blog. i thinkyour hard work and experience is the key of your sucess . its a nice post that gives detailed information to me I’ll your Seo methods in mo site http://www.blogsmart.net Thank you

  191. offers service provider :

    I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my
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    get setup? I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny?

    I’m not very web smart so I’m not 100% certain. Any tips or advice would be greatly appreciated.
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    • Check out this guide and let me know if it helps http://neilpatel.com/the-step-by-step-guide-to-creating-a-money-making-blog-in-1-hour/

  192. What are the tips for event blogs?
    Any special tips for these type of blogs?

  193. Really informative guide, but I thing every website which ranks on Google follows some SEO strategies, these strategies are not followed by website authors instead some platform like wordpress has such features due to which these strategies are performed and website automatically rank

  194. Very useful guide Neil patel ; Backlinks is one of the main challenges right now; there is a guy that started his blog last year December 2015 and has built u tp 150 backlinks to his blog while I am still at 81 (after a year), he ranks higher and from my analysis, if I can built more backlinks than him, I will outrank him; I need a practical guide on how to built backlinks…Other tips are already working for me.

  195. Haripriya Sathiish :


    Very good post. It seems that age of the domain doesn’t matter anymore, like it used to be before 🙁 . My website www.cyberwebservice.com (old domain) was ranking No.1 for the keyphrase ‘seo coimbatore’. But for the past few weeks, my rank dropped to 10th. For some keyphrases it is in omitted list. I am sure my website is well optimized when compared to other websites listed in that page, with good social media presence. What could be the reason for this sudden drop in rank?

    • How often are you adding new content Haripriya?

      • Haripriya Sathiish :


        Thanks for the reply. It is almost six months since we added new content/pages to the website. But the sudden rank drop happened only in September. Since 2014 the website was is in first rank for ‘seo coimbatore’. It dropped to second rank last February 2016. After that, in September 2016 it went to 5th, 7th, 10th and now it is in 15th rank.

        Some of the websites ranked above my website contain poor content, loads slow, and are not updated often. So, what could be the reason for my rank drop?

        Since September, every week I am doing some changes and testing out whether there is any improvement in the rank. So far no joy.

        • They might have built higher quality links so that could have pushed you lower. You’re competing against other SEOs Haripria, it’s a pretty challenging space.

  196. Hi, The truth is it saves my time. Thanks for this post i were going to send auto bot to my site hope to get rank at google but now i realize it wouldn’t help me in any way.

  197. Hey, I have a question. One of my website i ranking well on google with inner pages but when I am trying to search for it’s domain name the site is not coming up. But inner pages are all ranked with the keywords.
    Like the domain name is “example.com” and the website is coming on goolgle with “example.com” but when i am searching example on google it’s not coming up.
    Help will be much appreciated.

    • What is your domain name? Where does it appear in the rankings? It may be a keyword that someone else ranks for

  198. I have also seen few website which rank well on google but when i analysis their onsite aspects, they missed many thing which google pretend as ranking factor.

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  200. Richard V Landman (TOP-Beast.com) :

    Cool stuff thanks for sharing can you please guide me more about cross linking ?

    • Cross linking is when you link to another page within the site. This can be within the content linking to further reading about something.

  201. Oturma odas? hal?s? :

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  203. Charles Kiyimba :

    Thanks Neil for this educative article. I have learnt quite a lot that is going to help me to improve my website.

  204. Great Stuff, Really helpful. Cheers 🙂

  205. Neil,

    First of all thank you for the post. Awesome title, exact sentence I googled and was searching for.

    I had a question and was hoping you can help.

    My site has higher domain and page authority from my competitors. However since it’s only 6-7 months old I can’t compete with older sites with way lower Backlinks and domain authority and factors you mentioned.

    Doesn’t having a higher domain and page authority mean I should be outranking competitors for my main keywords ?

  206. Kaspersky Internet Security 2017 Serial Key :

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  208. I think nowadays google is giving a chance to new sites to rank higher irrespective of any authority. after that, it calculates CTR and compares which site will rank higher.

  209. great article neil.
    thanks for sharing

  210. on page optimisation is very important to rank. Well explained, Neil. Thanks 🙂

  211. Very sensible SEO advice here. Better to go steady and consistent than fake it and have Google drop you in the rankings. I’m working on my home based business website now www.wineracksite.com and steadily gaining genuine traffic and back links that are relevant to climb and it is slowly working. We are a family business and believe in our wine rack products so we are in it for the long haul.

  212. Hello Neil, great article, thank you! Help me though, why does this page (iplex.com.au/iplex.php?page=lib) rate higher than this page http://www.matrixpiping.com.au/hdpe-drainage-systems.html for keyword “HDPE Pipe” when it doesn’t even have mention of “HDPE Pipe” in URL, title, text or meta text?

  213. Muhammad Usman :

    Very interesting ways to boost SEO. These tips really help. Thank for sharing this informative blog, I’m surely going to follow your tips to improve the ranking of my website. Keep updating

  214. thanks, Neil. You helped answer my hardest question. I think i learn something from your posts.
    wish you all the best.
    Jio cinema

  215. This is great guidance… Thanks for sharing…

  216. Another great post from you,you are awesome bro find every time some lovely Seo guan in your blog thanks for sharing these tips and tricks

  217. wow…. great brother 🙂

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  219. mahendrasinh :

    very helpfull thank you

  220. Hi Neil,
    Thank you so much for the post. This is very helpful .


  221. Dinesh Ramakrishnan :

    Hi Neil,

    Really it’s a very useful article.

    I’m already following all the methods you have mentioned. One question I would like to ask you. While building backlinks, for example, blog commenting or guest posting. Do I need to leave my home page URL or particular post URL to rank high on Google? Awaiting your reply.


    Dinesh | http://www.blogtom.com/

  222. hotel frankfurt-Oder :

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  223. Hi
    Thanks for sharing this helpful information
    I think I should follow these steps to improve ranking of my blog in Google.

  224. Neil, I always had this question in my mind of how website rank. I have seen websites with 1 backlink being performed in top competition niche. My own e commerce website is performing like that with very less backlinks. I used to feel I am lucky, but with this your blog I got the logical reason behind it.

  225. Hmmm….this is my current concern, this article helps me deal a little with the disappointment of lower rankings for my site. I guess i have to be patient. Also how does google define “duplicate content” a sentence, para, etc?

  226. Hi Neil
    With regard to the Panda Update, I run a site for hotel bookings on Koh Samui (http://www.koh-samuihotels.com). The hotels that have listed are using the same descriptions and info that they use on the big sites (expedia, agoda, booking.com, trivago, etc). Does that mean I am likely to get penalised for duplicate content? It worries me that I will lose ranking because of it, although it doesn’t seem to affect the others, but I am not a big money spinner for google like them.

  227. Dakshit Mathur :

    Really excellent piece of content. I was actually trying to rank one of the webpage i.e., https://www.qriyo.com/tuition-jobs/jaipur but not getting proper results for the same. Will definitely try!

  228. Pushpesh Kumar Baid :

    This tips are really helpful and this article is so informative, I really loved reading this article, keep on sharing such informative articles.

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