A year and a half ago, Google’s Andrey Lipattsev who has not been in the public eye since, listed off Google’s top three ranking factors as content, links and RankBrain. It was a fun time for us search reporters, as you can imagine.
Well now, Google’s John Mueller and Gary Illyes are saying there isn’t a top three.
John Mueller said on Twitter “IMO there’s no “top 3″ list.” Gary Illyes said on Twitter the top three depend on the query. This was after someone called him out as listing the top three at a recent SEO conference named Brighton SEO – he said he did not do so.
Gary said:

I didn’t give a top 3. I actually said that it very much depends on the query and the results which signals count more
— Gary “鯨理” Illyes (@methode) September 18, 2017

I also said at Brighton there are tons of top results that don’t have links at all. billions of queries a day, lots of long tail w/o links
— Gary “鯨理” Illyes (@methode) September 18, 2017
John Mueller also said that “we use so many factors for ranking, it really depends on a lot of things.” Meaning, maybe different ranking signals dynamically become more important based on the type of query being entered into the box. Of course this makes sense for news or trending keywords but it might make sense for other areas as well.

We use so many factors for ranking, it really depends on a lot of things. IMO there’s no “top 3” list. We use links, but also lots more.
— John ☆.o(≧▽≦)o.☆ (@JohnMu) September 18, 2017
So there you have it, there are not top three search ranking factors from Google. No links, not content, not RankBrain, it could be alt tags! Just kidding. 🙂
Forum discussion at Twitter.

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