Google Ranking Explained

Imagine a website’s Page Rank as a number that defines how many votes you’ve received from other websites. A high PR means more websites have linked back to you.

In theory, a website that has received more votes should be ranked higher.

But with votes, same as in the every-day world, these can be influenced. You can pay to have your link placed on a website or add it yourself instead of waiting for someone to genuinely recommend your site.

To ensure such manipulative strategies won’t work, when it comes to ranking, Google’s algorithms take into consideration over 200 factors! These are not all known and they keep changing as user needs evolve.

Just having a high PR (thus a lot of backlinks) doesn’t necessarily mean your website is also relevant for a search query. Because backlinks can be created artificially, these are not always the best indicator that a website is worthy of a good rank in Google’s result pages.

To ensure the delivery of relevant results, Google also looks at other factors such as:

  • The age of your domain
  • Where your website is hosted
  • Your hosting neighbors
  • URL structure
  • Content
  • Internal links structure
  • Trust
  • Keywords
  • Bounce rate
  • Outbound links

And even if your PR is good, Google also analyzes the quality of the websites linking back to you. A few of these quality indicators include:

  • Total incoming links
  • Backlinks from high-ranking pages
  • PR of the referring page
  • Anchor text of the inbound link
  • Age of link
  • Number of outgoing links on the referrer page
  • Keyword density of the referrer page
  • Type of link (image, JavaScript)

Please note these are just a few of the factors that weigh in Google’s decision to rank your website better than your competitors’.

There are no exact steps you can follow in order to convince Google that your website deserves to rank first. There are some guidelines though that can help you understand what search engines like and what they don’t like. Google even published a search engine optimization starter guide to help webmasters. Beside all the technical aspects, you’ll notice that the most important decisional factor for Google is the user experience. If you build your website having your visitors in mind, you’ll be covering most of the requirements from the guidelines.

So stop thinking about ways to rank higher and start thinking of ways to make your visitors enjoy their stay on your website.

Best way to do this is by creating interesting and unique content. This will not only make your visitors keep coming back for more but it can also help increase and diversify your backlink profile.

By offering the information they need, your visitors will do all the sharing in your place, be it on social media platforms or on their own websites.

Also pay attention to other issues that might offer a bad user experience such as slow loading pages, complicated menus and duplicate content.

Next time you see a website with a lower PR ranking better than you, just have a look and see what they’re doing for their users and you’re not. Your competitors can be your best friends when it comes to tips and tricks for pleasing visitors (and implicitly search engines).

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