Google Ranking Tips Part 1

In this comprehensive three-part article by David Callan of AKAMargeting.com, the workings of the most popular search engine are laid bare.

Introduction to Google

Google is by far the most popular search engine available today for both ordinary surfers and webmasters alike.

Surfers like it because of the highly relevant results it gives and the speed at which it delivers them. This is due to its complex text matching algorithm and of course the Pagerank™ system that this engine uses. More on the Pagerank™ system later. Google is popular with webmasters and Internet marketing companies due to the highly workable ranking system it uses.

Unlike other engines where information about how the results are obtained are sketchy at best, Google actually publishes information on its site about the results it produces. Hence webmasters have things they can do to produce higher rankings.

What also makes Google popular with webmasters is the speed at which they will spider and list your site. If you're not listed in Google and submit your URL you're usually indexed within two weeks. If however your site is already listed in the index Google should reindex once every month, but more frequently if you've a high Pagerank™.

This indexing and reindexing time is much quicker than most other search engines. This allows webmasters to edit their pages properties such as title, first few lines of text, headings, keyword distribution and of course the number of incoming links to their site. They can then discover quickly if the changes they made were successful or not.

It's because of this popularity that you need to know the workings of the Google search engine. Without knowledge of it you'll be ranked lower than all other sites that are only slightly familiar with the Google algorithm and hence could lose lots of potential customers.

Google ranking algorithm

Let's now continue onto the main part of this Google ranking report by indulging ourselves in the Google ranking algorithm. Well there are two main parts to the algorithm Google uses, the first is its text matching system whereby Google tries to find pages relevant to what the searcher has entered in the search box. The second and equally important part of the algorithm is of course the Google patented Pagerank™ system.

I'll first go through how to make your pages relevant by discussing the text matching part of the algorithm.

Google gives a lot of "weight" to the title tag when searching for keywords. It is therefore vital to make sure your most important keywords or keyphrases appear within this tag. It seems to work best if you've other words in your title tag too after your keywords, but try to remain under 35-40 characters.

I imagine many of you know this already but Google does not use meta tags such as the keywords meta tag or the description meta tag. This is because the text within these tags can't be seen by visitors to a website. Therefore Google feels these tags will be abused by webmasters placing lots of unrelated words in them in order to get more visitors.

This lack of support for meta tags means that Google creates your description from the first few lines of text on your page. This in turn means that you've to have your keywords and phrases right at the top of your webpage, if Google finds them your page becomes more relevant, if however it doesn't find them the rest of your page has to work harder to become relevant. To see an example of what I mean scroll back to the top of this page and you'll notice keyword rich wording similar to:

Google submitting tips, ranking high at google.com, Google ranking tips, pagerank algorithm, Google algorithm guide.*

The above text includes keywords and keyphrases related to the theme of this page. Now when people search for any of those keywords or keyphrases this page is much more likely to be near the top of the results than a page that doesn't imply this technique.

Google considers keyword density in the body of a page for determining relevancy too, so make sure your keywords and phrases appear a couple of times throughout the whole page. Don't go overboard though, a density of 6-10% seems to work best.

Google has recently been noticed to give a substantial amount of "weight" to words appearing between the various header tags. These are tags designed to help you split up sections of your page, so this approach by Google seems to make sense. The header tags go from <h6> the smallest to <h1> the biggest, the bigger the heading tag the more relevent your page will become for the words within it. It is for this reason that you should always try to have your most important words within these tags as often as possible throughout your page.

Other advice about making your page relevant would be to make as many keywords appear within bold <b> tags as you can. In the past Google has been known to index text in alt image tags, whether they still do or not I don't know but it couldn't hurt to include keywords in these tags anyway.

  • Note: this refers to the original publication of this article on AKAMarketing.com. Ed.

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3

David Callan

I have been writing about web technology and software development since 2001. I am the developer of the Alpha Framework for PHP, and the five.today personal productivity app. I love open source, technology, and economics.

Google Ranking Tips Part 2

Google Ranking Tips Part 3

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