What are the google ranking factor webpages or websites?

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It’s a simple phrase that answers so many questions about SEO ( google ranking ), yet stirs up a lot of discussion and debate: Google ranks webpages, not websites.

I’m about to tell you an SEO fact that will answer so many questions about how Google operates that I can’t even cover them all in this article.

It’s also a great way to stir up debate in your finer SEO discussion forums.

Google ranks webpages, not websites.

Don’t believe me? Ask John Mueller of Google (I did):

John Mueller confirms Google ranks web pages, not websites.

Don’t believe John Mueller or Google?

Well, that’s a whole different discussion, but luckily, there have been many, many, many others who have stated the same thing.

Google ranks webpages, not websites.

Once you consider the power of this seemingly unassuming statement, you’ll see how keeping it in mind while you’re developing your organic search strategy can simplify many of your decisions.

Plus, it puts an end to many of the more popular SEO debates we’ve all suffered over the years.

What Does It Really Mean?

Look, we don’t need to overcomplicate this here, but let’s dive into how this phrase shakes things up and sometimes really upsets some of my fellow SEO pros.

Basically, “Google ranks webpages, not websites,” means that Google treats every webpage that its robots crawl and index like its own little self-contained world of content, code, and links.

While other webpages influence that world, where this world resides in the greater galaxy doesn’t matter to Google.

Therefore, as far as ranking and indexing go, that webpage could live on any domain it likes, and Google would treat it the same way.

I would try and make a Superman/Bottle City of Kandor reference here, but it would probably take over the whole discussion.

Moving on.

Why do some SEO pros hate this seemingly innocent phrase?

Because its existence breaks many concepts they hold dear – and because their business depends on people believing that these concepts of theirs exist.

Let’s not focus too much on that side of things.

Instead, we’ll look at how this idea explains so much about how we know ranking on Google works.

I’ve never had much use for the phrases “on-page” or “off-page” SEO, or “technical SEO” for that matter, so let’s break this down into three areas I use for my SEO audits (and much more): ContentWebpage Design, and Authority (Links).


While I was writing this article, I received an Ask to Answer from Quora that lines up with the “Google ranks webpages, not web sites,” concept when it comes to the Content area of SEO: “Can blogging about different topics in the same blog harm my ranking?”

It’s a good question. I’ve even seen one of the best SEO professionals in the world ask something similar to his Facebook friends.

When I brought up “webpages, not websites” in my answer, it pretty much ended the discussion.

Every day, you probably read some of the best examples of why blogging (or any other writing for publication on the web) about different topics doesn’t damage your Google ranking: news websites.

Dozens of topics, living in harmony on the same domain, without doing a bit of damage to each other.


Google ranks webpages, not websites.

If you think about it, we wouldn’t want to live in a world where Google ranked webpages based on a single topic of the entire website.

As Joshua Hardwick of Ahrefs once explained,

“Just because your business makes stained glass windows doesn’t mean that every page on your site should rank for the query, ‘stained glass windows.’”

Webpage Design

If you’ve been in the search engine optimization game for any length of time, you’ve probably heard the whole “subdomain versus subfolder” debate at least once. I swear it bubbles to the top of the pot of SEO discussion ideas about once every couple of years.

Every year, Google clarifies. It doesn’t matter.

John Mueller confirms Google doesn't care about subdomains or subfolders.

Why doesn’t it matter?

Because Google ranks webpages