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HomeSEOHow Does Google Rank Websites?

How Does Google Rank Websites?


With Google handling more than 3 billion searches a day, ‘Google it’ has become an everyday term for many of us but what if you’re looking at it from a business perspective and you want your website to rank higher in Google? Well, there are over 200 factors that Google considers when ranking a website.

  1. 1. Keyword as a First Word in Domain: A domain that starts with their target keyword has an edge over sites that don’t have their keyword in their domain or have the keyword in the middle or at the end of their domain.
  2. 2. Domain registration length: Valuable domains are often paid for several years in advance, while illegitimate domains rarely are used for more than a year. Therefore, the date when a domain expires can be used as a factor in site ranking.
  3. 3. Keyword in Subdomain Name: A panel of SEO experts in 2011 agreed that a keyword appearing in the subdomain can boost rankings. E.g. keyword.ABC.com
  4. 4. Keyword appears in H1 Tag: H1 tags are a “second title tag” that sends another relevancy signal to Google.
  5. 5. Keyword is Most Frequently used phrase in Document: Having a keyword appear more than any other likely acts as a relevancy signal.
  6. 6. Keyword Density: Although not as important as it once was, keyword density is still something Google uses to determine the topic of a webpage. But going overboard can hurt you.
  7. LSI Keywords in Title and Description Tags: As with webpage content, LSI keywords (keywords semantically linked to your primary keyword) in page meta tags help Google discern between synonyms and act as a relevancy signal.
  8. 8. Magnitude of Content Updates: The significance of edits and changes acts as a relevance and freshness factor. Adding or removing entire sections is a more significant update than switching around the order of a few words.
  9. 9. Historical Updates Page Updates: How often has your page been updated over time? Daily, weekly, every 5 years? The frequency of page updates also plays a role in freshness.
  10. Keyword Prominence: Having a keyword appear in the first 100 words of a page’s content appears to be a significant relevancy signal.
  11. How recent are your Content Updates: Google favours recently updated content, especially for time-sensitive searches.
  12. Keyword Prominence: Having a keyword appear in the first 100- words of a page’s content appears to be a significant relevancy signal.
  13. Image Optimisation: Images on-page send search engines important relevancy signals through their file name, alt text, tile, description and caption.
  14. Page Loading Speed via HTML: Google and other search engines alike, use loading speed as a ranking factor. Search engine spiders can estimate your site speed fairly based on a page’s code and file size.
  15. Duplicate Content: Identical content on the same site (even slightly modified) can negatively influence a site’s search engine visibility.
  16. Title Tag Starts with Keyword: Title tags that start with a keyword tend to perform better than title tags with the keyword towards the end of the tag.
  17. Keyword in Title Tag: The title tag is a webpage’s second most important piece of content (besides the content of the page) and therefore sends a strong on-page SEO signal.
  18. Keyword Word Order: An exact match of a searcher’s keywords in a page’s content will generally rank better than the same keyword phrase in a different order.
  19. Outbound Link Quality: Many SEOs believe that linking out to authority sites helps send trust signals to Google.
  20. Grammar and Spelling: Proper grammar and spelling is a quality signal.
  21. Syndicated Content: Is the content on the page original? If it’s copied from another indexed page it will never rank as well as the original.
  22. Multimedia: Images videos and other multimedia elements may act as a content quality signal.
  23. Number of Internal Links Point to Page: The number of internal links to a page indicates its importance relative to other pages on the site.
  24. Broken Links: Having too many broken links on a page may be a sign of a neglected or abandoned site, causing it to drop in quality and therefore rank lower.
  25. Reading Level: There’s no doubt that Google estimates the reading level of webpages. Many believe a basic reading level will help you rank better as it will appeal to the masses.
  26. URL Length: Excessively long URLs can harm search visibility.
  27. Page Category: The category the page appears on is a relevancy signal. Pages part of a closely related category will receive a relevancy boost.
  28. Keyword in URL: Another important relevancy signal.
  29. References and Sources: Citing references and sources, like research papers do, is a sign of quality.
  30. Bullets and Numbered Lists: These help to break up content for your readers, making the site more user friendly.
  31. Page Age: Although Google prefers fresh content, an older page that’s regularly updated may outperform a newer page.
  32. User friendly layout: The page layout on highest quality pages makes the main content immediately visible.
  33. Useful Content: Google can distinguish between “quality” and “useful” content.
  34. Contact Us Page: Google prefers sites with an appropriate amount of contact information.
  35. Domain Trust: Site trust – measured by how many links away your site is from highly-trusted seed sites – is a massively important ranking factor.
  36. Number of Pages: The number of pages a site has is a weak sign of authority but it does help distinguish it from thin affiliate sites.
  37. Presence of Sitemap: A sitemap helps search engines index your pages easier and more thoroughly, improving visibility.
  38. Terms of Service and Privacy Pages: These two pages help tell Google that a site is a trustworthy member of the internet.
  39. Duplicate Meta Information On-Site: Duplicate meta information across your site may bring down all of your page’s visibility.
  40. Breadcrumb Navigation: This is a style of user-friendly site-architecture that helps users (and search engines) know where they are on a site.
  41. Site Usability: A site that’s difficult to use or to navigate can hurt ranking by reducing time on site, pages viewed and bounce rate.
  42. Alt Tag (for image links): Alt text is an image’s version of anchor text.
  43. Social shares of referring page: The amount of page-level social shares may influence the link’s value.
  44. Contextual Links: Links embedded inside a page’s content are considered more powerful than links on an empty page or found elsewhere on the page.
  45. Word Count of Linking Content: A link from a 1000-word post is more valuable than a link inside of a 25 word snippet.
  46. Direct Traffic: It’s confirmed that Google uses data from Google Chrome to determine whether or not people visit a site and how often. Sites with lots of direct traffic are likely to rank higher than sites with very little traffic.
  47. Repeat Traffic: They may also look at whether or not users go back to a page or site after visiting. Sites with repeat visitors may get a Google ranking boost.
  48. Local Searches: Google often places Google+ Local results above the organic SERPS.
  49. Number of Tweets: Like links, the tweets a page has may influence its rank in Google.
  50. Official LinkedIn Company Page: Most real businesses have company LinkedIn Pages.


By Megan Paynter

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