Top Website Ranking Factors that Matt Cutts Forgot to Mention

(Links mentioned in the Podcast: The Dirty Secret About Social Media And SEO)

A friend of mine recently mentioned that he felt Matt Cutts provides just enough ambiguity in his YouTube videos to misdirect SEO’s into a lot of long discussions about everything not imperative to rankings.

While massive amounts of SEO’s are contemplating the “finer points of SEO” (what is black hat and what is white hat) there is a group of people who are just trying to make money online who are literally “crushing it” with what many would consider  “black hat SEO.”

In fact, speculations on ranking factors have gotten so bad that SEO’s are now dividing into factions with different names and focuses. Even MOZ dropped SEO from their domain name!

Some claim they are content marketers, some claim to be inbound marketers, others may even describe themselves with edgy progressive titles like “growth hackers” (just sounds so cool), and then you have the old remnant of “grandpa SEO’s” that are still attaining rankings through “those old school methods.”

Reality check!

David Ogilvy remains a powerful influence in the world of advertising.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what an internet marketer calls themselves. They are all trying to do one thing – rank more often and higher in search results.

Ironically, the base element that everyone wants is the single most important factor that has always affected rankings – high PageRank back-links from relevant websites.

Wait… isn’t that what SEO’s were doing back in the old days too?


Ok, here’s the big difference between all the different types of internet marketers mentioned above:

  • Growth hackers (such a cool name) – create large amounts of content and share it to gain high PR backlinks from people who like that content.
  • Content marketers – create large amounts of content to get back-links from people with high PR relevant niche sites that will boost rankings.
  • Inbound marketers – create large amounts of content to get back-links from websites that have high PR and are extremely relevant to the money site… this will surely increase rankings.
  • “Grandpa SEO’s” – Create high quality back-links from really high quality relevant websites through content that provides value to a niche group of people.

See the difference? Yea, I can’t either.

“My kung fu is better than yours”


Rankings are just not as affected by some of the new commonly heard factors that some internet marketing experts might say are vital to the health of your search rankings.

Here’s a great read that debunks the social factors myth (who started that social media rumor anyway?).

Frankly, we are all guilty. SEO’s will sit down and look at all these small minute factors and laboriously, even painfully, go through every small detail in an attempt to figure out why our websites aren’t ranking.

This is especially difficult when really, these things have very little to do with the rankings of our websites in comparison to the biggest ranking factor that affects everyone’s websites.

The Main Ranking Factor

This ranking factor is once again the basis of why Google is the best search engine ever created (and BTW… that Algorithm factor is soooo 1998). Google PageRank is the basis for rankings.

PageRank is what makes websites more authoritative, not tweets. I know you may have been hoping for some crazy new “fad” (I like those too. They make great link bait.) for how rankings work, but… that’s really it.

Part of the skepticism behind the PageRank factor is probably due to the fact that Google is not updating site’s numbers as often as they used to. However, there are some great tools that attempt to compute the page ranking power of a website.

Tools To Estimate Ranking Potential

Some of these tools include my favorite “Majestic SEO” which I believe provides the most accurate factor for ranking “trust.”

Another tool is MOZ trust, which also comes pretty close, I believe, to an accurate measurement of authority.

So, when you’re looking at a website that you want to rank to the top of the SERPs, it has nothing to do with your tweets or likes. It has more to do with the above trust measurements that attempt to compute your website’s authority.

What Webmasters Need to do to Get High Rankings

Instead of reading about content marketing and how you need to be engaged in social media or laboring over how many likes you need, daily tweet count, and Facebook posts, since the bottom line is that Google bots don’t care how many Facebook posts or tweets you do every day, you need to mainly focus on getting high PR backlinks to your website. This is how Google will see you as growing authoritative.

Okay, so how do you get high PR links.

Well, you write amazing content…. Yea… blah, blah, blah.

So, how do you (with an understanding of the most important ranking factor) get high PR backlinks?

Putting Your SEO Tires To The Search Engine Pavement

  1. Get high PR links from places that you don’t control. Develop high quality articles, podcasts, videos, and infographics that you syndicate out to niche communities specifically (this is important) that drive traffic and gain recognition for your brand.
    1. Articles – Guest post
    2. Podcasts – iTunes
    3. Videos – YouTube
    4. Infographics – Visually
  2. Create high quality microsites about sub topics of your website. There are thousands of domains that expire every day which have high quality backlinks and good PageRank. You can buy a high PageRank website that’s relevant to your field and place your own content on it. Once you’ve built out your microsite with quality content, you can then repeat the first step of engaging in niche communities and seek out guest post, podcast, video, infographics opportunities etc…

PRO TIP: Don’t ask for a guest post right away. High PageRank websites get hundreds of requests for guest posting opportunities. The only way you’re going to make an impression with a webmaster is by helping them solve a problem and proving you’re not in it just for yourself.


At the end of the day, you’re going to find that this can be tough stuff to manage. That’s why I run an internet marketing company with a full service team.

Getting high PR links is not like kissing babies. It’s more like fighting in the dead cold of winter in your underwear to punch through some ice and drop a fishing line in a small hole…  and hopefully catch a fish… yea… don’t let your website starve, we’ll help you get high PR links. Meanwhile, if you know tech and have an aptitude and love for ice fishing, call us.

I’m the CEO of Fannit. I’m fascinated by SEO and focus heavily on the basics of good old fashioned marketing. Thanks for reading and be sure to connect with me on twitter and linkedIn.

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