Google is one of those secret, mysterious companies.
It's a fact that most don't know the exact formula that search engines use to rank which websites show up where. But, what we confidently know is that the formula is made up of only three factors.
Trying to create a better experience for their users, they will usually switch up their algorithms and put different weight different factors but the factors that play a role, remain the same.
The three ranking factors are Backlinks, Content and Activity.
The most important factor by far right now are links.
Links are the glue that holds the web together. Without links, the Internet would look like stars in the clear night sky, independently floating with no connection to one another. Links create the Internet and without links, there wouldn't be any Internet.
Links are the pathways that the spiders take to easily get from one page to another and index the entire Web.
Each link casts a vote to the search engines saying which webpage is the most relevant/popular to a specific keyword or phrase. The more high quality links a webpage has voting for it, the higher that webpage’s Google rank will be for those keywords.
I say high quality links because all links are not counted as equal votes. A backlink coming from a PageRank 9 site is much more effective than one coming from a PageRank 0 site. This is the reason everyone in SEO puts such a high value on links coming from .edu and .gov sites. Unfortunately, you can’t go out and use only one tactic or get links from only one source because that would not look like your website’s popularity was rising naturally. JC Penny got de-indexed by Google from overusing this one technique.
Content is the second ranking factor.
Content means optimization done on your website and basically how well organized your content is.
"Google’s mission is to organize the world‘s information and make it universally accessible and useful." *
How well your content is organized makes it easier or harder for the search engines to find and recommend you as the most relevant to a given keyword phrase.
The amount of unique content your site has also plays a role. The number of indexed webpages a website has, the better.
Activity is the final search engine ranking factor.
Activity falls into two categories, that which you control and that which web surfers control. The frequency at which your site is updated, the amount of traffic your site gets, how many comments are published by visitors are all part of how active your website is and play a role in your Google search ranking.
Coming to a close, the two lesser factors in SEO are Content and Activity. There are many Wordpress plugins that can help us with these two factors. Now and into the future, the factor that carries the most weight is the number of links pointing to a given site.