Recently Rand Fishkin of Seomoz.org brought together 37 of the world’s Top SEO experts to tackle Google’s Algorithm, the complex formula and methods Google uses to rank web pages. This ranking formula is extremely important to webmasters because finding which factors Google uses to rank their index is often considered the Holy Grail of site optimization.
Google’s ranking factors affect how and where you are listed in their search engine results or SERPs. Since obtaining top positions for your targeted keywords often spells success for your site, knowing Google’s ranking factors can be very beneficial.
Every experienced webmaster will know Google is the main supplier of search engine traffic on the web, getting listed on the first page or anywhere in the top 10 positions for popular keywords will result in plenty of free quality targeted traffic.
Briefly listed below are some of the main ranking factors you should be optimizing your web pages for in your marketing. The majority of these ranking factors will be very familiar to most webmasters who take full advantage of any and every SEO tactic which will give their site an edge over their competition.
Here are some of the main ranking factors to consider:
1. Keywords In Your Title And On Your Page
Place your keyword or keyword phrase in the title of your page and also in your copy. Many webmasters use variations of their keywords on this page and also include it in the H1 headline.
2. Keywords In Your URL
Keep your page on topic and place your keyword in the URL. Use your keyword in the H2, H3… headlines. Place it in the description and meta tags, place it in bold/strong tags, but keep your content readable and useful. Be aware of the text surrounding your keywords, search engines will become more semantic in the coming years so context is important.
3. Create High Quality Relevant Content
Have high quality relevant content on your pages. Your content should be related to the topic of your site and updated regularly depending on the nature of your site.
4. Internal Onsite Linking
Internal linking is important to your overall ranking. Make sure your linking structure is easy for the spiders to crawl. Most suggest a simple hierarchy with links no more than three clicks away from your home/index page.
Creating traffic modes or clusters of related links within a section on your site has proven very effective for many webmasters, including this one. For example, creating a simple online guide on a subject related to your site’s topic can prove very beneficial. Keep all the links connected and closely related in subject matter and don’t forget to have occasional external ‘anchor keyworded’ links coming to these internal links on your site instead of to your homepage. Deep build your links.
5. Only Linking To High Quality Related Sites
Don’t forget to link to high quality PR related sites. Linking to high quality sites shows the search engines your site is very useful to your visitors. Build relationships within communities on the topic of your site. Be extremely careful not to link to bad neighborhoods, link farms and spam sites… when in doubt, don’t link out!
Unless your site has been around for years and is well established and trusted by Google, this factor will have an adverse effect on your site’s overall ranking. Linking only to high quality content sites will give your site an edge over your competition.
6. Global Linking Popularity
One of the major ranking factors is the Global Linking Popularity of your site. You should try to build plenty of inbound links from quality sites. One simple and effective way to do this is through writing articles and submitting them to the online article directories. Only related sites will pick up and display your articles with your anchor text links back to your site. These are often ONE-WAY-LINKS.
But don’t just write articles to get links, write quality content that will help the reader first and the links will come naturally. Also remember an article is an extremely good way of pre-selling your products and gaining trust with your potential customers.
7. Anchor Text Is Very Important
Anchor text is an important factor your must not forget to use. Perhaps more importantly these inbound links should be related or relevant to your site’s topic, which will play an important role in your rankings. Don’t ignore the text surrounding your links and use different anchor text links to avoid keyword spamming.
Keep in mind, as search engines become more semantic, the whole text of your article will probably be considered your anchor text, thus making articles even more important to your rankings.
8. Number And Quality Of Your Inbound Links
Your inbound links should also come from related high Global Link Popular sites. The more links your have from these popular related sites the higher rankings you will get. Many SEO experts suggest you should have a steady stream of new sites (inbound links) added each month to keep your rankings growing. These links will age and increase your rankings after 4 or 5 months. Both quality and quantity is important.
9. Reliable Server And Service
Like any business, Google is only serving up a product (SERPs) to its customers, this service must be continuous and available at all times. Made sure you have a good reliable server because any extended downtime when your site is inaccessible to the Bots may be detrimental to your rankings. If it is down for over 48 hours, you could be dropped from the index. Ouch!
10. Duplicate Content Is A NO NO!
Make certain you don’t place duplicate content on your site. This may affect your rankings and get your pages thrown into the supplemental index. Be careful not to use duplicate title or mega tags on your pages as this will lower and disburse your internal page rankings, resulting in poor optimization.
Your overall SEO strategy should be to provide valuable relevant content and links for your visitors and the search engines. Furthermore, as mentioned earlier, be extremely careful who you link out to from your site. Avoid spam sites, link farms or selling links. Although it is a bit outdated, using the Google Toolbar will still give you a general overview of a site’s PR or Page Rank.
These are some of the most common and important ranking factors Google uses to rank and display their search engine results. Optimizing your site or keywords for these factors can prove very beneficial and rewarding.
There are many more factors so you should use the link in the resource box below to get all the gory details. For any novice or experienced webmaster it makes for a fascinating read and is extremely helpful in tackling Google’s complex ranking system or algorithm. Conquer it and an endless supply of free organic traffic is yours for the taking.
By John Benson