The World Wide Web has become an essential modern tool for people’s daily routine. The fact that it is a convenient means for communication and information search has made it extremely popular. This fact led companies to start using online advertising by creating corporate websites. With the rapid increase in the number of websites, search engines had to come up with a solution of algorithms and programs to qualify the results of a search and provide the users with relevant content to their search. On the other side, developers, in pursuit of the highest rankings in the search engine result pages (SERPs), began to study and observe how search engines work and which factors contribute to higher rankings. The knowledge that has been extracted constituted the base for the creation of the profession of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This paper consists of two parts. The first part aims to perform a literature review of the factors that affect the ranking of websites in the SERPs and to highlight the top factors that contribute to better ranking. To achieve this goal, a collection and analysis of academic papers was conducted. According to our research, 24 website characteristics came up as factors affecting any website’s ranking, with the most references mentioning quality and quantity of backlinks, social media support, keyword in title tag, website structure, website size, loading time, domain age, and keyword density. The second part consists of our research which was conducted manually using the phrases “hotel Athens”, “email marketing”, and “casual shoes”. For each one of these keywords, the first 15 Google results were examined considering the factors found in the literature review. For the measurement of the significance of each factor, the Spearman correlation was calculated and every factor was compared with the ranking of the results individually. The findings of the research showed us that the top factors that contribute to higher rankings are the existence of website SSL certificate as well as keyword in URL, the quantity of backlinks pointing to a website, the text length, and the domain age, which is not perfectly aligned with what the literature review showed us.
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