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New Google Ranking Factors for 2014 - Star Ratings, Plus Ones, Authorship, Citation Flow, Social Signals etc.

Google has moved to a more human based ranking approach rather than being a machine based system. This human based approach of ranking web pages although depends upon machines but uses sophisticated algorithms that are geared towards measuring the popularity and relevance of a web page based on factors that are more or less related to a way as to how humans would judge them. Among the top priority Google ranking factors for 2014, the major ones are star ratings, user reviews, plus ones, citation flow (that involves highly cited referrals from already cited sources), social signals, overall domain authority, authorship, bounce rate, click-through rate, referral traffic data, high brand related references and searches, the recency of the document, the speed of the document, naturality of backlinks, frequency of generated backlinks (those having a natural flow), evaluation of user profile who shares the citations (done in order to devalue dummy profiles or spammy social profiles) and strong local signals (based on searchers location).

Now, lets discuss each and every ranking factor for 2014 in detail:-

Google Ranking Factors for 2014

Star Ratings

Ratings and user reviews helps Google to judge the importance of a web page in an easier way. Adding star ratings on a web page allows users to rate it and Google can count the ratings in order to use it a straight human signal in considering how important or likeable a particular web page. (Read more on how to add star ratings and user reviews on Google search results)

Plus Ones

Another human approach to ranking is that Google considers how many people rate the content as valuable and gives it a plus one. The more plus ones a web page has, the better is the chances of ranking. This factor has already started to affect the search results with pages having greater number of plus ones ranking higher.

Citation Flow

For those who do not know what a citation flow is - It is a metric that measures the overall flow of citation (references) that any web page receives. This metric is valued highly by Google in order to evaluate the overall importance of a web page. Referrals from highly cited and popular sources in good quantity can prove to be a valuable ranking signal.

Social Signals

The world is revolving around social media and considering it as a metric in the overall ranking algorithm has proved to be successful. Social signals like Facebook likes or shares, total number of tweets, total number of repins, total number of linkedin shares, other sources of social data where the site is being referred to, are all effective sources of judging the user likeness of a website.

Overall Domain Authority 

The authority of a domain is still a highly valuable metric in judging the importance of a website. The higher the authority of a domain, the better are the chances of ranking. (Please note- there are other ranking factors like content relevancy that comes into play, so don't take it as a lone factor)


Implementing Google Authorship and increasing your author rank has become really crucial to stay ahead in the search results. Associating a content with a human being can reduce the chances of spamming and improve the visibility of pages related to experts in respective fields. This improves the overall search experience of the user.

Bounce Rate

If an user visits a website and leaves it without visiting any other inner pages then bounce rate of the website becomes higher. A higher bounce rate gives Google a hint that a person is not willing to spend more time on the site and visit any other inner pages present on it. This metric is being used to judge the quality of information and user willingness to stay on a website. (Read more on how to decrease the bounce rate of your website).

Click-through Rate

The number of times your website gets clicked divided by the number of times the website gets displayed on the search results is referred to as click-through rate. This is also a good metric to evaluate webpages that are most likely to be visited by the users. Hence those web pages having an ideal click-through rate of 1% are promoted positively on the search results.

Referral Traffic Data

What about getting traffic from other websites where people click on user generated content having reference to your site? The more referral traffic you get, the better signal Google receives regarding the popularity of your website.

High Brand Related References 

A brand that receives high searches and receives lots of backlinks, citations, high author rank shares is taken of great value by Google. Hence, think practically, generate value for your brand and increase the interactivity of users. (Read more- Why Brand Matters in Seo?)

Recency of the Document

Web pages that are updated often receives a freshness boost in rankings. Hence, if you are updating your site on a regular basis then one of the ranking factors is working in favour of you.

Speed of the Document

The speed with which a web page loads is counted as a better user experience metric by Google. A site that loads faster receives better visibility and increases its chances of ranking high on Google. (Read more on page speed important for rankings).

Natural Backlink Quality and Quantity 

The Penguin update did enough to stop the spammy backlink building practices and promoted websites that received natural backlinks. Hence, generating natural backlinks for your site having high quality and in more numbers can make your site rise up astonishingly. (Find ways on how to get natural backlinks to your site).

Frequency of Generated Backlinks

The frequency with which backlinks are generated plays an important role in evaluating the link profile of a website. Building too many backlinks within a short span of time can bring your site under the Google radar and a manual review can be expected. Hence, it is better to maintain the natural flow of building backlinks and keep your site safe.

Evaluation of User Profile Who Shared References 

From now onwards, the quality of the user profile who shares references of your site would also be judged. All the dummy profiles would be devalued and votes coming from genuine people would be counted. Hence, forget about buying likes and tweets as most of the companies use dummy profiles for that purpose. Instead, work towards fulfilling the needs of the user and increase your natural popularity.

Strong Local Signals 

The search results returned by Google depends on the search location of the user and sites which have promoted themselves well in their local business area have the maximum chances of ranking higher.

Hence, these were the new Google ranking factors that have already started working in 2014.

Also See:- 

Google Ranking Factors
Local Search Ranking Factors
Local Seo and Citations
Free Business Local Listings
Meta Tags 
Tf Idf Score to Increase Google Rankings
5 Most Important Link Building Factors in 2013
How to Plan Your Link Building Strategy?
Link Building 2013
How to Create Backlinks that Google Loves
Seo Secrets
Seo Tips to Make Your Site Search Engine Friendly


Davira Rayne said…
Wow! This is a lot of useful information. I love these new criterion used to rank websites. I will keep these in mind when I employ marketing techniques for my blog.