How Google Ranks Websites

Today I'd like to explain how Google works, how they decide which sites should rank on the first page, and more importantly who gets to rank at the coveted #1 position.

 

Relevance

When you type something into the Google search bar, there's pages and pages of results. The first page usually has 10 results, and to determine which sites are on the first page, Google is looking for two things... number one, they're looking for relevance.

If I type in "shoes", then all of the pages and results, should all be about shoes. How does Google know that your particular website page is about shoes? Because you have to have that keyword "shoes" somewhere in it.

If were to type in "wide women's shoes",  you need to have "wide women's shoes" somewhere on your page, so that Google knows your page is about that, and there is relevance there. So that's the first thing. It's about relevance.

Popularity

Number two is this thing known as popularity. Why? Because when someone types in shoes and there's millions of website pages that are all about shoes, how does it know which should be in the first position, second position, third position?

It's about popularity.

Popularity (also known as trust, authority, credibility) is all about which website pages on the Internet should Google trust? Which ones are popular?

How does Google know that your website is popular?

Links

Let's say this is your website here (NB: Please watch the video to view the diagram). More specifically, let's be a bit technical, Google doesn't rank websites, it ranks pages.

Imagine this is your website, and then you've got this one page here about "shoes".  Links from other pages are links of a vote of popularity. I'll just repeat that. Links from other pages on the Internet are votes of popularity.

Let's say there's a page here. This is a page called "How to Dress for Success", and it links from that page to your website, about "shoes".

That's a link to your website. So now Google knows you've one link to your website, and you must not be very popular because it's only one link. So if you've got more links, the better. The person with the most links wins, but also the person with the highest quality link wins.

I could create 50 different websites tonight, 50 little pages and link them all up here. That's not as good as getting a link from one page that is very, very trustworthy.

Trustworthiness

If I have a site such the Sydney Morning Herald (a big website that's very trustworthy ) linking to my webpage, then that is worth more than hundreds of smaller less-trustworthy ones.

Now, it doesn't have to be a newspaper like SMH. It could be any website that's trustworthy or been around for a long time etc.

So it's all about the quality and quantity of links going to your page, and it's about the keywords on your page that show the relevance.

There are hundreds and hundreds of other signals that Google takes into account, and it's been like that for a very, very long time, too, but for now all you need to focus on is relevance and popularity.

Other Considerations

If you're curious as to some of the other signals Google looks at, then they look at things like site speed. They look at how long it takes for your website to load. They also look at whether your site is mobile-friendly or not? They look at how your site structure is set up, and if you've got a site map that the Google spider can crawl.

There's lots of little technical stuff, but the main thing is this. Is it popular? Is it relevant? Have you got relevant content on there?

The good thing about this day and age is that Google is getting better at figuring out what a good web page looks like.

In the olden days, you could kind of game the system. You could do sneaky things like keyword stuffing. You could just put on the page "women's shoes", "women's shoes", "women's shoes" a lot, and you would rank for "women's shoe".

Or you could put it in the URL. You could buy a domain name called womensshoes.com.au and rank higher for women's shoes. All that stuff doesn't really matter too much anymore. The main thing is that the content is really good. The longer people spend on your website page reading, the more actions they take on that page, Google can see that, because they have Google Chrome browser.

A lot of websites have things like Google Analytics, so Google can see the statistics. So, the longer people spend on your page, the more they interact and engage, the better the content must be, and therefore, you get pushed higher up the rankings.

And that's good news for small business owners, because in the past, you had to spend a lot of money, or do a lot of tricks. These days, you just have to write good content.

The Key Ingredient For Ranking On Google

An SEO search specialist who works for Google, once got asked this question: "What's the main key ingredient for ranking on Google?"

Here is what he said: The main key ingredient for ranking on Google is this thing, and he called it awesomeness. Just be awesome.

That's another good way of saying: content is king. Just help people. Just be an awesome person that, if I'm Googling "how to fix a car", you show me everything on how to fix a car.

You give me diagrams... step-by-step instructions... a meaty blog post that's really long. Because that's how long it takes to fix a car... not just some article that was written by an outsourcer, for 500 words that just got copied from other websites, and you just did a thing called 'article spinning', and now you made a 500-word post and hope to get ranked. Just don't do that.

Just be awesome. Write a really good article that helps people. Create a really good video that helps people, and Google will reward you.

Because don't forget, what is Google trying to do?

They want to make sure that when people type something into Google, they get the result they're looking for. And a great result.

Why? So people keep using Google, and they can keep serving you ads and offering other services. Just remember, the main key ingredient is awesomeness, but most specifically, relevance and popularity. That's how Google determines who's at the top of the search results.

Read more about: Marketing

Cham is the CEO and Head of Marketing at Authentic Education since co-founding it in 2009. He is passionate about productivity, empowering people, marketing and is creator of Digital Marketing Made Easy.

He has worked for Anthony Robbins, Chris Howard and Dr John Demartini from "The Secret" and has featured in BRW magazine, News.com.au and newspapers such as Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.