How Does Google Rank Websites?

Many ask themselves the question, “How does Google Rank Websites?” and come up with no answers. Herein, how Google works in indexing and ranking webpages will be explored.

Factors that Improve Google Rank

There are a number of factors that improve the rank of a page in searches. They are:

Backlinks
Overall Page Popularity
Quality of page design

Backlinks mean how many links from other pages point to the page in question. More is better, too many too quickly can harm the page. Some links are not followed. The name of the link has an affect to, so you want the name to reflect the page contents.

Some pages simply have more weighting than others. For example, Wikipedia is an extremely popular page overall and hence ranks higher in searches for all of its individual pages.

Quality of page design does not necessarily mean how impressive the page looks, but simply that the code is not messy and the links all work. Google is content based, so text is vital. Make sure that the sort of phrases and words people would type to find your page appear in the first paragraph, title and headings.

How Does Google Work?

Google has an interesting manner of functioning which has lead to it being the number one search engine over others such as Yahoo. That said, it is important to understand that while much is understood about how the Google search engine orders results, the precise bit of code or algorithm through which it does it is kept somewhat secret by Google. In essence, the Google model favours the visible content of a page and disfavours any hidden descriptors. Google achieves this is by using programs called bots to scan the HTML pages on the Internet and to find words or phrases on the page that are often repeated or placed in certain HTML tags. For example, heading tags and title tags are given a higher priority as well as phrases or words in the first paragraph.

Google’s Weighting of Text within HTML Tags:

1. Title tag
2. Heading tags, particularly h1 tags
3. First Paragraph
4. Words In Content

Google’s approach of indexing sites based only on data visible to clients has ultimately lead to Google being a very effective search engine as it orders content based on its bulk rather than a few descriptors that can be unfairly manipulated. After the HTML of the site is scanned by the Google bot, it essentially decides what the site is about by calculating what words and phrases are used and in what amount with due weighting given to important text in the site such as the introductory paragraph and title. These words are then ‘indexed’ and associated with that page. For instance, if the phrase ‘Google and Metadata’ appears often on a page, searches that use those terms are more likely to come by the page. Of course, there is a limit to how many times a phrase or set of keywords may be used per overall word count before they no longer improve the page’s rank in the searches. The driving principle behind this is that information objects should describe themselves, rather than be described by their publishers. This is a design principle of Google that has basically resulted in the dramatic growth of their search engine as it provides information very effectively.

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