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A Guide to Google Ranking Factors

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A Guide to Google Ranking Factors Powered By Docstoc
					eb usiness

fi les       Google
             Ranking
               Factors
              Cracking the Google Code: Today and Tomorrow

Introduction
The legendary Google algorithm is something that has boggled many a mind for the decade that Google has dominated the
search engine marketplace. The algorithm is a magic formula that the Google magicians brewed up over 10 years ago to
„rank‟ the web pages within its records, and it‟s something that anyone with a website want to crack in order to be number
on the Google search.

In reality, it‟s a work in progress being continuously modified - Google are expected to make around 500 modifications to the
system this year alone, in an effort give you the most relevant and trustworthy search results.

Below are two interpretations of what the algorithm might look like - the truth is, only very limited people know this
classified information, and they‟ll do anything to stop it from getting into the wrong hands.




                                                              or




                                               Source: http://en.wikipedia.org
Evidently, the flip side of this is cracking the Google code in order to get your site on the front page. Although no one has
access to the full ranking criteria, we can identify factors which come up again and again as successful factors to push you up
the Google ladder. Of course getting there and staying there, are two very different things – staying there requires
commitment.

This paper has pulled together what we consider to be the top 10 factors to help your website gain a higher ranking on
Google.

Have you got a search engine marketing strategy? If you haven‟t, this is a good place to start.




Top of the... Google Ranking Factor... Pops
The Countdown

10. Bounce Rate
It makes sense that if no one wants to hang around reading content on your website, for whatever reason, that the search
engines will find it hard to trust your website.

If they can see that, over time, users don‟t browse your web pages for more than a few seconds, they may begin to doubt
the relevance which would lead to declining trust.

One way to challenge this problem with a genuine website, would be to regularly change and update your website to keep
your customers engaged. You‟ll need to think about using „sticky content‟ on the pages of your website. Sticky content is
website content which holds your readers attention and makes them stay longer on a certain page or guides them through
your website pages to the various different areas.
Sticky content could be a regular newsletter, articles, hints and tips, videos and games or even an online forum. It‟s all about
engagement, so think about what would spark your customers interest, and apply it to your site.




      Action Point
Keep an eye on your customers‟ activity on your website by using a tool like Google Analytics. When you see it dipping, you
know you need to look into making some updates to your website content.



9. Content
Content is an important piece of the Google ranking puzzle. Search engines are smarter than you think and can sniff out a
spammer from a mile away.

Firstly, make sure you have text on all of the important pages of your website. Secondly, using the keywords identified as
effective for your website (see factor 1 and 5), develop relevant content for the pages. The keywords should be woven into
the copy so that it reads naturally. Think about it - misplaced keywords will not help build trust.

In essence, remember to put your customer first and focus on writing website content for the website user. By weaving in
the identified valuable keywords, the pages will automatically be picked up by search engines.



8. Trust
Have you put all your contact details on your website? You‟re missing a trick if you haven‟t.
Anything that will help build Google‟s trust in your website will help your ranking on this search engine. These days, people
like to be able to find you in a number of ways: phone, email, Twitter, Facebook, blogs, the list is endless, so make it easy
for them and put all your various contact details on your website.

You could think about having your main method of contact on every page of your website, your phone number for example.
Appearing to your audience and Google as open and transparent will help establish trust, which in turn may help boost your
ranking.



7. Age of Domain or URL
If you just bought your domain quite recently (weeks or months), unfortunately you may have a long road ahead of you, if
you are facing many established competitors. The age of your URL relates to trust – there is more chance that you are an
established business if your website has been up and running for a long time.

In addition to this, the site must have been seen to be hosting content that can be indexed by the search engine for a long
period of time, this is also linked to the trust factor. Unfortunately this is not something that your webmaster can control,
the only way around this is to buy an older website.

There are exceptional circumstances, where fairly new URLs can rank very highly for very competitive search queries. But in
such cases, there will usually be a much older URL linking to the newer URL. Indeed, in SEO, the age of the pages which link
to your page is nearly as important a factor as the age of your own page itself.




       Action Point
If you don‟t already know, check out how old your, or indeed your competitors domain is by using an online domain age tool
like the examples below:
http://www.seochat.com/seo-tools/domain-age/
http://www.seologs.com/dns/domain-check.html
6. Domain Hosting
First things first, always use a reputable hosting company, not the cheapest.

In the eyes of the search engine, you may end up losing a bit of your identity by sharing an IP, the exclusive identifier of
computers and/or networks that are linked to the internet, with other websites and blogs. You‟re also trusting in the people
you share your IP with not to spam or carry out any other activities that may be regarded as bogus by the search engine.

You can avoid this by getting a dedicated IP, but there will probably be cost implications. You need to weigh up the pros and
cons for your business.



5. Keyword Use in Body Text
Choosing effective keywords for your website requires a lot of research, so make sure you build time into your plan for this
activity.

If you‟re thinking about tackling this yourself, it‟s a good idea to try and get a good mix of competitive, high-volume
keywords and less competitive key phrases that will rank quickly and still bring a lot of traffic to the site, but bear in mind,
there are people out there who can help you do it, such as Business Link
.
This keyword search graph illustrates the fact that the most popular searches are driven by a handful of keywords. These
keywords also tend to be the most competitive to achieve high rankings for, as they are targeted by all competitors in the
industry. However, a cumulatively large number of searches get performed in the tail end of the graph. These key phrases
are less competitive and usually add up to significant search volumes.
Source: Accuracast




       Action Point
You can use Google's Keyword Tool (Google Adwords) to will help you find a list of keywords that are relevant to you.



4. Internal and Inbound Links to the Site
The text that you can see and click on within a page (the hyperlink) is called the anchor text. It is used to give you website
visitors an idea about the information held on the page that you are linking to.

Anchor text needs to make sense to your clients and to the search engine, for example, if you use the anchor text „click
here‟, the search engine will think you‟re talking about the subject click here. See the example below:




                                               Source: http://en.wikipedia.org

Relevance has always been the key to a high Google ranking. When it comes to links coming into your site, you also need to
consider the 2 Q‟s: quality and quantity.
It‟s just as important to have plenty of links pointing to your site as is it to make sure that these links are topical to the
target page and keyword, although it‟s worth remembering that Google will almost never rank a website based on this factor
alone.



3. URL Structure
If you haven‟t yet registered your domain name, when you do so, you should try and set it up for at least three or four
years. Search engines know that the domain will be around for longer and therefore won‟t confuse it with a short term
spamming registration.

It‟s always a good idea to check out if the domain name has been registered before, if it has you need to make sure it hasn‟t
been banned by search engines in the past

Make sure your URL structures are very clean. There should not be any random strings of characters at the end of your
URL‟s. This is part of the onsite search engine optimization process as well.

Numbers probably won‟t add any value to your ranking. The example below should help:

Bad: “https://www.example12345678910????!!!!!!!!!!.com″
Better: “www.example.com/content/google_ranking_guide/pageid_4”
Best: “www.example.com/google_ranking_guide.p”




       Action Point
Check out if your domain name has been registered before using a WHOIS tool like in the examples below:
http://www.whois.net/
http://whois.domaintools.com/
2. Internal Link Structure
Put yourself in your customers‟ shoes. You want to be able to click though a website that is easy to navigate; each page
should flow from one to the next, and the site should make it easy for you to hop back and forth between them.
The internal links of your website are often controlled by the Webmaster (the technician who designs or maintains your
website), so make sure they‟re on board to ensure that the website is easy to use and well structured. Google will use this
information to determine which pages are more important.



1. Keyword Use in Title Tags, Description Tags and Meta Tags
What are they?

Title Tags are the words that appear in the clickable link area on the results page of the search engine.
A Description Tag gives a description of the site to be used and displayed in the search results by the search engines.
A Meta Tag provides metadata about an HTML page.

With the example of an article that might feature on a website about how social media can bring benefits to your business,
the following could be used:

Title tag - Social Media and your Business
Description Tag - an overview of social media, its communities and its benefits for business.
Meta Tag - Social Media, Business, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc.

Tags are equivalent to an advert strap line, luring searchers to the website, so altering them could result in more click-
throughs to your website.

You‟ll need to do your homework – find out what phrases your target market are looking for, they might not be what you
thought. You should also include specific key word phrases in your title tags; things like your company name, what your
company does and even where it‟s based is all relevant data.

Around 80% of the top 10 rankings have the text link keywords in the title tag, so always try to include them.
       Action Point
To find the optimal phrases for your website, try Google's Keyword Tool which will give you a list of phrases relevant to you.

You could also try Google Insights and/or Google Trends which can give you some interesting data on your specified trends.



Conclusion
Hopefully this paper has given you some insight into how to bring your website up to speed, with Google‟s algorithm in mind.
However, it‟s fair to say that the job is far from done. The algorithm is forever changing and improving in Google‟s bid to
improve „bad link‟ identification - we found an interesting article that looks at how Google will experiment with response
analysis over the next 5 years.

But in the here and now, getting highly ranked on Google is an art - it‟s not something you do once and forget about. The
ever changing and multiplying ranking factors should be an integral part of your ongoing marketing strategy.

Don‟t just think about getting there, think about staying there.
Webliography

adwords.google.co.uk

http://www.google.com/analytics/

http://searchengineland.com/wired-on-googles-algorithm-36738

http://www.wired.com/magazine/2010/02/ff_google_algorithm/all/1

http://www.highrankings.com/

http://liblicense.ukoln.ac.uk/definiti.shtml

http://seoexample.co.uk/url-age

http://www.accuracast.com/services/search-engine-optimisation/keywords/

http://www.whois.net/

http://whois.domaintools.com/

http://www.seochat.com/seo-tools/domain-age/

http://www.seologs.com/dns/domain-check.html

http://www.saversites.com/seo/free-seo-guide/url-optimization/
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