Everyone who runs a website wants to know how Google determines which pages rise to the top of their search engine. In this blog article and podcast, we're going to discuss how Google's ranking factors work, how we determine what their ranking factors are, and share with you some of the ranking factors that we've discovered over our years as an SEO company.
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- Google's top ranking factors include: Content, Backlinks and Rankbrains.
- Some of the best ways to determine Google's ranking factors are to pay close attention to Google press releases and patent submissions for information and to conduct your own research to make determinations about their ranking factors.
- One of the most important page usage metrics to determine highly quality content is a pages click-through-rate
- Local search results are different than normal search engine results and their are different factors that effect your ranking. These include: Having complete data enetered, verifying yout location, managing and responding to your reviews, and adding in photos regularly.
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Let's start with one of the questions that we hear most often as an SEO company: How does Google determine which websites rise to the top of their search engine results? The simple answer would be to say that there are numerous factors, which we call "ranking factors", that Google uses to determine which sites will rise to the top. The next question that you'd ask would probably be "What are these factors?". This is where things become trickier and more difficult to answer because Google never releases all of their ranking factors, however, we can determine some of them through testing and research.
People who participate in SEO believe that researching these ranking factors is integral if you're looking to remain at the top of Google's search results. We also understand that these ranking factors are always changing. What may be one of the most important ranking factors at one point in time now may barely be considered by Google, and others which were never considered may now be highly favored.
Google's Top 3 Ranking Factors
Now, it can be difficult to determine what Google's top ranking factors are but after a lot of research and testing but thanks to this recent Search Engine Land article we can be pretty certain that these are Google's top 3 search ranking factors. And they are:
Content of a page depends on the quality of writing on the page combined with quality of images and videos. These things are generally calculated by Google based on metrics such as click-through-rate, word count, how many keywords are in the body of the page and others. Check out the graph on the right for more content ranking factors.
Backlinks are sometimes considered part of the content aspect of a page but backlinks are so important they should be considered a factor of their own. Different aspects of backlinks that can effect the page ranking include their quality, the number of backlinks to a page, whether or not these links are from news sites, and if the keyword is in the anchor text.
Rankbrain is an AI that Google uses to help sort through all of its search results. According to SearchEngineLand Rankbrain is part of Google's Hummingbird search algorithm and plays an important part of their search ranking results.
What are some of the more specific ranking factors?
Here are some of what we believe to be the most influential ranking factors currently implemented by Google, found in Backlinko's article "Google's 200 Ranking Factors: The Complete List". Keep in mind that we can never know for certain that these are Google's ranking factors, we can simply speculate based on data and which pages rank higher.
- Domain Level Link Features
- Page Level Link Features
- Having the keyword as the first word in your domain
- Having the keyword in the title tags (Having the title tag start with the keyword is also influential)
- Content length (more words cover a wider breadth and are more likely to be at the top of Google's ranking than shorter articles)
- Page loading speed (The faster the better)
- Having duplicate content (identical or slightly modified content on a site can negatively impact rankings)
- Recency of content updates
- Outbound link quality
- Page age (an older page that is recently updated may outrank a newer page)
- Mobile Optimization
- Whether or not your site gets repeat traffic
- Dwell time
To view a full list of their Google Ranking Factors click here.
How do you determine some of these ranking factors?
Determining what Google's ranking factors are can be a very tricky and painstaking process but it is also very rewarding once you figure some of them out. As mentioned above, Google never releases a full list of their ranking factors, and they're always changing so you constantly need to be researching. Here are some of the most common ways that you can determine their ranking factors:
- Sometimes Google or members of Google will release some of their ranking factors (although it's usually quite limited)
- Looking at their search patents
- Looking at industry reports from others who have done research
- Perform our own research and learn from experience what works and what doesn't
Overall, determining what Google's ranking factors are is usually a trial and error effort. If you find a certain page is doing well, take a look at it. What's different? This type of research can go a long way in the SEO world.
Now that you have a good idea of what Google may be looking for in a perfect page, you can begin to create your own solid content. Keep in mind that the purpose of Google is to constantly provide their users with the best results and their ranking factors will always be based around providing users with the best experience. If you're looking for a top tier digital marketing company to help you with your website content and SEO then you've come to the right place! Here at Profitworks we are experts in SEO Marketing and Email Marketing, and we offer other marketing methods as well. Click here to get in contact with us today to discuss how we can help increase your revenue today!
Page Usage Metrics
Since content is becoming increasingly more important to Google's search engine ranking results it's important to know and understand how certain page usage metrics will affect your pages content ranking. Page usage metrics include things such as bounce rate, session length, and others.
The most important page usage metric by far is click-through-rate. In fact, your sites click-through-rate is often one of the most important Google ranking factors of all, and rightfully so. If your page has a high click-through-rate then it's understood that you were able to provide visitors to your site exactly what they were looking for.
What about local search results?
You may have noticed that often when you're looking for a service or product Google will display for you a local search results map like the one you see on your right. These local search results are a great way to quickly view which businesses in your area provide certain services or products that you might be looking for. It's important to remember that these local search results are different than the normal search results you get in Google's search engine and therefore in order to show up in the top listings there are different factors that you need to consider. After having a recent conversation with some workers at Google we can determine that these are some of the most important factors for ranking in Google's local search results:
- Enter complete data: You'll want to make sure to keep all of the data in your Google My Business profile up to date. If the information is incorrect you can expect to be dinged.
- Verify Your Location: You need to add and claim your business listing in order to rank in Google's local search results. Click here to learn more.
- Manage and Respond To Review: Hopefully, you'll have numerous people adding reviews to your Google My Business page in order to increase your ranking. It's important to respond and manage these reviews in order to both update your profile and provide feedback.
- Add Photos: Adding in photos related to your business is viewed as a positive by Google and can help to increase your rankings in their local search results.
You can learn more about Google's local search results by watching the video below.
What are some common questions?
What is search engine ranking?
Search engine ranking refers to the position that a particular site or page appears in the results for a specific keyword. For example, if you search for the keyword Profitworks our website's home page would be ranked #1.
How many ranking factors does Google use?
It's difficult to pinpoint the exact amount but we can conclude that there are at least 200.
What is the number one ranking factor that Google considers?
The number one factor that Google considers in its ranking engine is the content of the page. This includes a number of different sub-factors such as keyword relevance, word-count and others.
What ranking factors are becoming more important?
Rankbrain is the newest development in determining the most important factors to Google's search engine ranking.
What ranking factors are becoming less important?
According to Backlinko the main ranking factor that's becoming increasingly less important is placing an exact keyword in your pages title tag.
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