“Where do I rank on Google?” is a question as old as time. Or more accurately, a question as old as 1998, when Google was founded. People have been asking this question for almost 20 years now and we still don’t have a concrete answer. How can an organization improve their Google ranking location on a SERP (search engine results page)? This blog will hopefully shed as much light as possible and provide tips on the still elusive topic of the Google ranking factors.
What is Pagerank?
Google uses its pagerank to dictate the importance of a web page. It was first created by Google’s founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Larry Page actually named it after himself when he dubbed it Google pagerank. When first released, your website Google ranking was mainly determined by how many quality keywords were on your page. This led to a serious problem where people would try to game the system and the phrase “keyword stuffing” emerged. Content often did not make sense or provide much value, but there were so many keywords on a page that they ranked high. Luckily, for us, Google is nimble and customer-focused, meaning they adjusted their algorithm. It is now a much more complex beast to rank high on Google’s SERP. You are probably writing right now, on your to-do list for yourself “check Google ranking”. Well, below is an outline of factors that Google considers, today, according to Eric Enge, Stephan Spencer and Jessie C. Stricchiola in their book The Art of SEO, 3rd edition.
For more information on the definition and history of Google’s pagerank, check out Lifewire’s article.
Google ranking factors
Although the Google ranking factors change constantly, the infographic below shows the nine most prominent factors, currently.
Negative Ranking Factors
Use caution when manipulating your site to improve your ranking, as there are some negative factors that can punish your Google ranking.
Malware being hosted on your site
- You will be punished if you have viruses of Trojans on your site
- Do not show different information to Google than you do average viewers
Pages on your site with links for sale
- Google has a policy against paid links
Content that advertisers paid links on the site
- Promoting the sale of paid links is an easy way to get on Google’s bad side
- Your page should load quickly for both happy visitors and a happy Google crawler
How to get a top ranking on Google
Before we get begin on how to improve your Google ranking, you must first complete a pagerank check. This does not simply mean to search for your company’s name on Google. You must remember that your cookies have been tracked, you frequent your site, and you are probably searching from your office’s IP address. Of course, you will appear as the #1 result on a SERP. You can start this search by using a SERP checker. If you simply search in Google for “SERP tracker”, there are many options that can help shed more light on where you would organically appear on Google for any Joe-Schmo. Once you know how much work you should do, you can follow the Google ranking factors outlined above to begin improvements.
Remember, these changes will not take place overnight. Even though Google’s crawlers never take a night off or pause for a lunch break, there are millions, if not trillions of web pages Google must get through before returning to yours. It is likely you will not see a change in your position for three to six months. Continual focus on web improvements will always pay off in the long run. Just remember that you may not receive instant gratification for your work. Make sure to periodically check back on your rank checker to see where you end up. But do not stop there, continue to make improvements constantly.
Myths of Google rankings
Since Google has never published their algorithm, we are still guessing part of it. Even with thousands of SEO experts out there, we are still taking stabs in the dark at what impacts Google’s pagerank. Below is an outline of some of the myths of Google Rankings…at least for the time-being.
Google’s original pagerank was determined mainly by keywords alone. However, once that system was gamed, Google changed how they did things. There is no magic number for keyword density. While you should ensure all your content is keyword-rich, make sure not to keyword stuff, making the content less beneficial to visitors.
Use of Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools
Although it is easy to see why Google would favor websites that use their own products, there is no evidence this takes place. It is always a wise idea to have both of these tools and keep a close eye on them. However, when considering the question how to get top ranking on Google, this does not contribute to a solution.
Linking is a crucial technique to improve your Google ranking and social media is a big part of that. Even if you are not very active on one or more social media sites because of your industry, you should still have a profile set up. Make sure you link in the “about” sections back to your website or your effort is moot. Interactions that occur on social media platforms, like Facebook, however are not counted towards your Google pagerank. Google cannot see Facebook likes and shares, so, therefore, it cannot be a ranking factor.
Although these are myths now, we don’t know what the future holds. Google updates their algorithm so frequently, it gives everyone in the SEO world job security. For more information about the myths of Google rankings, check out this Moz article.
This article was just a brief introduction into the world of Google’s mysterious and elusive pagerank and the Google ranking factors. Remember that continual improvement is key and instantly gratification of your efforts will not occur. Do not be demoralized, all the work is worth it in today’s search-reliant world.