How Does Google Search Rank Your Small Business Website?
We get this question all the time about how Google Search ranks websites. Above is a great introduction video given by (Google’s Head of Web Spam) Matt Cutts. If you ever wondered how does Google crawl the web and then determine which web pages get ranked first, then this information you will want to digest.
How Does Google Determine Search Result Rankings?
The truth is, no really knows 100% for sure. Even though Matt Cutts explains how Google ranks web pages, he also states there are over 200 factors that can contribute to rankings that they do not disclose to the public. If you want to know ALL of the ranking factors you’ll need to work for Google on their algorithm team.
However the basics are clear to how Google decides to rank web pages and is it’s basically broken down into two main components. (and note I am saying web pages not websites – Google does not rank and index websites, they rank and index web pages).
Main Google Ranking Factors:
- On-page Content
- Off-page Signals
On-page Content Factors: Google looks at the words on your page. From our experience, you want to optimize your page’s content so that Google’s algorithm fully understands what the page is about. Now before you seed your content with ‘keywords’ you want to rank for, it’s best to always write for humans first and search engines second. Once you understand that important concept, then you will want to try to work in your keyword into the following places on your page’s content:
- Title Tag
- Meta description
- H1 Tag
- H2 Tag
- H3 Tag
- Have it in the 1st sentence (or paragraph)
- Have it in the last sentence (or paragraph)
- Have an image and give it an alt tag with your keyword too
- Have an internal link on your keyword
- Have an external link on your keyword to a creditable source
- Have your content be longer than 600 words
If you have these suggested on-page optimization factors covered you have very good chances that Google will understand what your web page is about and you’ve greatly increased your changes at ranking well in their search results. Often on long tailed keyword phrases you’ll rank with little or no off-page ranking signals.
Off-Page Ranking Signals: This is basically referencing backlinks. Backlinks is where a another website cites or gives an anchor text back link to your website’s page. Google’s theory behind this is that if another website is willing to provide a reference to another page then that page must be trust worthy or contain useful information. Essentially, these backlinks act as votes. This is the major off-page signal that determines a web pages rankings.
The more quality backlinks you have the better rankings you’ll likely get for the keyword that you optimized your page for. Note, I said “quality backlinks” because not all backlinks are created equal. Getting a backlink from a creditable page on CNN will carry more weight then getting a backlink from your sister’s knitting blog. Also note not all backlinks are good, you can damage your rankings by getting the wrong backlinks that Google considers spam like the recent de-indexing of blog networks.
Summary Of How Google Ranks Websites
Not to simplify something super complex, but Google’s ranking system is essentially based off two main components. On-page optimization and off-page signals. If you would like to have your small business website rank better for keywords that related to your services or products then it’s important you create useful content that is optimized for that keyword then build quality backlinks to that page.
I like to keep it simple like that.
Let us know your questions about how Google works or questions about how you would get your small business website’s pages to rank better in the comment section below.