An itemization of Google's ranking factors

Dec 6th, 2011 by Filed under Arachnophobia

How Google ranks your website

Have you wondered why some sites are ranked so high on Google and why other sites are no where to be found? Over the last five or six years Google has been modifying their algorithm to research on page ( code ) and off page ( links ) factors which affect how web sites rank on their favored search engine. Here’s a list of the factors that Google investigates and a perspective that Google can take when researching a site :

Title Tags

  1. Keywords – the keywords in the title tag should represent the content on the page.
  2. Length – the title tag should be short and to the point.

Suggestions

  • When making a title tag ensure it is both unique and concise.
  • Try and keep the quantity of characters between sixty and eighty.
  • If you’ve a blog try and make the title tag the name of the blog entry rather than the name of your blog.
  • Don’t attempt to stuff too many keywords in your title tag.
  • Ensure that the title tag is readable and makes perfect sense to your internet site’s visitors.

URL

  1. URL structure – the URLs of a domain should be static with no extraneous characters.
  2. Keywords – URLs should contain keywords so long as they have relevancy to the content.

Suggestions

  • Remove any extraneous characters from your URL strings ( %$?.. )
  • Try and add keywords in the URL strings but ensure that they represent the webpage.
  • Make your URLs end with a .html or .htm extension or seem to be a subdirectory ( about.html or / about ).

Meta Outline Tag

  1. Keywords – the keywords in the meta outline tag should represent the content of the page.
  2. Length – the meta outline should be short and to the point.
  3. Unique – each page should have a singular meta outline.

Suggestions

  • Make the outline a total sentence so it is simple to read and understand.
  • Try to not make the meta outline tag longer then 120 characters.
  • Don’t use the same meta outline tag through your internet site, each page should have a different tag. Many times it’s best to just place the 1st 1 or 2 sentences from the content into the meta outline tag.
  • If at all possible, use only a pair of keywords in your meta outline and try and place them towards the start.

Headings

  1. Text type – sites should use H1, H2, and H3 tags
  2. Keywords – the keywords in the heading tags should represent the content of the page.

Suggestions

  • Use H1-H3 tags over H4 or lower tags.
  • If you place a keyword in your heading tag, ensure that keyword is also in the content or at least related to the content of the page.
  • Make headings short and to the point.

Content

  1. Keywords – there should already be keywords in the content if content is written for your visitors. There should also be variations in the keywords ( apple, apples ) as well as further related keywords ( apple, fruit ) inside the content.
  2. Prominence – the earlier the keywords appear in the content the more probable the content is related to these keywords.
  3. Font – Words in the content that are bigger, bolder or italicized are sometimes considered more vital.
  4. User – The content should be written for visitors.
  5. Links – links inside the content should be related to the content.
  6. Freshness – content that is updated more often could be more helpful to searchers.
  7. Uniqueness – content that’s unique and original will often rank higher then unoriginal content.
  8. Quantity – sites having a just a couple of pages of quality content.
  9. Themes – The content on an internet site should be based primarily on similar subjects or “themes”.
  10. Keyword density – the keyword density of an internet site should be similar on context to other related sites.

Recommendations

  • Always write content for the user first and then the search engines.
  • Attempt to place keywords across the content, also ensure that keywords are related to one another and the content on the page.
  • Place links in your content to related web sites as well as related conteont on your own internet site.
  • Try and add content on an once a day basis.
  • Don’t fret about word density, if the content is on “apples” then you may naturally mention “apples” multiple times in the content.
  • Writing on related subjects will show that your site is related to that subject and other keywords related to that subject.
  • Content should be unique, try not use content that is also on other websites.
  • Use bold and italicized styled text when it sounds right for the readers, don’t just do it for the search engines.

Alt Tags

1. Photographs – all pictures should have alt tags.

2 . Keywords – words in the alt tags should be applicable to the image.

3 . Length – alt tags should be short and to the point.

Ideas

  • Place alt tags on all photographs so you can improve the accessibility of your web site.
  • You can place keywords in your alt tags as long as they describe the image.
  • Confirm your pictures are links when it is smart,eg for a company trademark.
  • Don’t stuff alt tags with keywords.
  • Length of alt tags can change, but usually the shorter the better.

Internal Links

  1. Keywords – links that contain keywords should be related to the webpage they point to.
  2. Titles – links should have titles that represent the anchor text of the link ( tool tip ).
  3. Illustration – link text should represent the linked page.

Ideas

  1. You can place keywords in the anchor text of internal links but it is best to make sure they have relevancy to visitors.
  2. Don’t stuff your anchor text with tons of keywords.
  3. Keep the anchor text representative of the page you are linking to.
  4. Make the titles ( tool tip ) on each link the same as the anchor text.

Indexing

  1. Links – by crawling all the links, all the pages of that internet site should be discovered and indexed.
  1. Sitemap – a sitemap should contain links to imperative pages within a sitwebe.

Ideas

  • Link in your content to other pages within your internet site this can help Google index your pages.
  • Make a sitemap that links to all or, as a minimum, the imperative pages on your website.

External Links

  1. Authority – if an authority site links to another web site, then that other web site will be considered valuable to folks.
  2. Keywords – if there are keywords in the anchor text of a link then it is standard for Google to think about the internet site should be ranked for those keywords.
  3. Age – the longer a link stays live on an internet site, the more valuable the link is.
  4. Importance – if a site links to you and another site, both sites, or at least webpages, should be related to the same subject.
  5. Quantity – the more outbound links on a page, the less weight each link will have.
  6. Extension – sites with vital extensions like .edu and .gov are thought to be to link to more valuable sites.
  7. Freshness – if a site has outbound links and updates often, then even the old outbound links are thought to be valuable.
  8. Link count – if a large amount of web sites link to one site, then that one web site is regarded helpful to folk.
  9. Linking web sites – links from related web sites are better then links from non-related sites.
  10. DMOZ – web sites that are in DMOZ and link out to other internet sites are regarded as to link to good sites.
  11. Placement – links inside a site’s content is regarded better then links in the footer of a site.

Suggestions

  • Try to get links from authority web sites.
  • Don’t take part in link exchanges to build up your link recognition.
  • Try to not purchase all page links.
  • Don’t go for links from high PageRank web sites ; instead go for links from related websites.
  • Links from directories like DMOZ and Yahoo Directory can not just help with search engine rankings but can also drive traffic.
  • Use the new social websites like MySpace, digg, del.icio.us, and YouTube to build link popularity.
  • If you are going to buy text links try and keep them live so long as possible. The older the link, the better.
  • Links from .edu or .gov web sites will sometimes carry more weight and larger benefit.
  • Keep away from web sites and blogs that link out to non-related internet sites or that may appear spammy.

Code

  1. Size – the dimensions of the code on a domain should be streamlined, the less KB it takes up, the better.
  2. Clean – sites that are using web standards and have clean code customarily load up quicker for users.

Suggestions

  • Use CSS to make your page size smaller.
  • Use CSS to help improve the cleanliness of your code.

Site

  1. Site Age – older sites are regarded as more topical then newer sites.
  2. Visit Length – often the longer folks stay on an internet site the great the likelihood that the site is helpful to them.
  3. Sandbox - sites in the Google sandbox are typically not as topical compared to older internet sites.
  4. 301 redirect – internet sites should do a 301 redirect from “yourdomain.com” to “www.yourdomain.com” or vice versa, depending on the circumstance.

Suggestions

  • Attempt to register your domain name for more then one year.
  • Employ a 301 permanent redirect so that your internet site would appear as one internet site rather than 2 separate web sites. ( www and the non-www are looked as two sites unless your do a redirect from one to the other )
  • Try to increase at a natural rate ; growing too quickly may put you in the Google sandbox.

The following are some factors that Google may look at in a negative way :

  1. Visibility – web sites with invisible text might be attempting to trick Google.
  2. Two. Over optimization – sites that are excessively optimized might not be important for any keyword phrases.
  3. Keyword stuffing – web sites with too many keywords stuffed into the content could be making an attempt to trick Google.
  4. Reciprocal links – web sites that link between one another too many times could be attempting to cheat.
  5. Cloaking – sites that show Google a different page then what the spectator sees typically get banned.
  6. Anchor text – if all of the sites linking to a site have the same anchor text, those links may not be considered natural.
  7. Entrance pages – if tons of one page sites full of keywords are linking to another web site, the ranking of that website can be influenced adversely.
  8. Frames – it is hard for Google to move and index a site with frames, making it harder to rank that internet site.
  9. Flash – it is tough to read / crawl internet sites made totally in flash that may make it harder to rank Flash web sites.
  10. All page links – if tons of internet sites link to another web site on each one of their pages then the text links might have been bought, which is scowled on by Google.
  11. 301 redirects – sites that have tons of other web sites redirecting into them might be trying to extend their link count to rank high, so Google may penalise these internet sites.

These are a lot of of the factors that Google might look at when determining the ranking of a site. Every factor has a different weight and the weights are consistently changing to provide searchers with extra topical results. As Matt Cutts discussed to Om Malik, Google “used to crawl the web once a month, and now we update everything in 2 to 3 days”. This shows that it’s important to make certain you account for as many of the ranking factors as practicable, particularly if you’d like to get ranked. One thing to notice is if you are taking these elements above and check them to how a blog is setup, blogs are inline with the majority of these factors, particularly when it comes to a few of the most important factors like freshness of content.

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