Google Ranking Tips| by David Callan
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 rankings 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.
One final tip on page relevancy is the point on having your keywords and phrases in links which point to your site. It's a good idea to have the linking text contain your keywords as Google even says itself in its description of its Pagerank technology that it analyzes pages that links come from.
How much keyword laden links matter is anyone's guess. I have however noticed a lot of sites which give the HTML code to visitors who want to exchange links do include keywords in the actual linking area. You should do this too on your links page, say something like "if you want to link to this site, please use the following code". The code would of course have your most important words in the actual link text and your less important words in the accompanying description of your site.
In the above section of the article you've learned what areas Google uses and looks at when looking for a relevant site, but what method does Google use to determine which site is better, the answer is the Pagerank system.
Pagerank is as the name suggests a ranking system of pages. It works on the basis that if a website ABC.COM has been linked from a website XYZ.COM, abc.com must have some good content and therefore Google will count the link from XYZ.COM as a vote for ABC.COM. You can check your Pagerank on Google by downloading the Google toolbar from http://toolbar.google.com
The Pagerank™ scale goes from 1 to 10 on the Google toolbar and from 1 to 7 beside listings in the Google directory. A less important site is of course a site with a PR of 1 and a very very important site is a site with a PR of 7 or 10, in the directory or toolbar respectively.
The more links or votes a site has the more important it must be and therefore the higher it will rank for search words which it is relevant to, right?, WRONG!.
Google does not simply count the number of incoming links a page has, if that was the case every webmaster from Iceland to Vietnam would try and exchange links to every Tom, Dick and Harry website that would let them. In Googles own words:
"Google looks at more than the sheer volume of votes, or links a page receives; it also analyzes the page that casts the vote. Votes cast by pages that are themselves "important" weigh more heavily and help to make other pages "important."
Hopefully your beginning to get the idea. The idea is to have your page linked to by as many high quality and high pageranked sites as possible. Right? RIGHT and WRONG.
WRONG BECAUSE, you see the Google Pagerank system also takes into account the number of links the page that has linked to you has. The reasoning for this is that a page X has a certain amount of voting PR, if your site Y is the only link from that page X, then Google feels confident that page X thinks your page Y is the best link it has and will give you more PR. If however page X has 50 links, page X could think your only the 50th best link. Hence the more links a page has the less of a PR boost your site will get.
RIGHT BECAUSE, linking to a site with a 6+ PR will provide a significant boost to your PR in most cases, but in cases where the site also links with 100 other sites the boost will be almost zero. Likewise if a site has a PR of just 2 but you and only one other site are linked from it, then the PR boost would be more than the site with 100 links and a PR of 6.
Google Pagerank formula
It's beginning to come complex isn't it, just wait till you see this formula. It looks scary for non math's people.
First let me explain what the damping factor is. The damping factor is the amount of your PR which you can actually pass on when you vote / link to another site. The damping factor is widely known to be .85, this is a little less then the linking pages own PR.
PR(A) = (1-d) + d(PR(t1)/C(t1) + ... + PR(tn)/C(tn))
In layman's terms PR(A) is the Pagerank boost your page A will get after being linked from someone else's site (t1). PR(t1) is the pagerank of the page which links to you and C(t1) is the amount of total links that (t1) has. It is important to know that a pages voting power is only .85 of that pages actual PR and this voting power gets spread out evenly between all sites it links to.
Imagine http://www.akamarketing.com was linked by XYZ.COM's link page which had a PR of 4 and 9 other links, here's how the formula should look like:
PR(AKA) = (1-.85) + .85*(4/10)
PR(AKA) = .15 + .85*(.4)
PR(AKA) = .15 + .34
PR(AKA) = .49
To sum up my site would get an injection of .49 PR after being linked from a page with a PR of four and 9 other links.
Let's say I was linked from a site with a PR of 8, double the previous example's amount, which had 15 other links, a total of 16 outbound links, my boost would be:
PR(AKA) = (1-.85) +.85*(8/16)
PR(AKA) = .15 + .85(.5)
PR(AKA) = .15 + .425
PR(AKA) = .575
The above two worked examples show that not only is the PR of the linking page important but what is also important is how many other sites are also linked to from that page.
I think we've had enough maths stuff for now, just remember that the name of the game is to get as many links from pages with high PR and few other links. The more of these links you get the more your PR will grow and the more your rankings will improve for your relevant keywords.
Google Pagerank™ and web directories
The best thing you can do for your PR seems at the moment seems to be getting listed in Dmoz.org. Dmoz.org is home to the Open Directory Project which is a human compiled directory of websites.
Pagerank™ is widely known to be biased towards big name directories such as Dmoz.org, Yahoo and Looksmart.
This is true, especially in the case of Dmoz.org. These ODP links are treated like gold by the Pagerank™ system. It doesn't even matter what the individual PR of the category page is. I have seen sites gain a large PR boost on the toolbar as soon as Google updates its directory with the latest one from Dmoz.org. This is because Google uses its own version of the ODP for the Google web directory.
Don't believe ODP links are very important to Pagerank™?
Don't believe a listing in the ODP will boost your ranking?
Well they are and it will. Perform a search for almost anything on Google and you'll discover that 75-80% of the top 10 results are also indexed in the Google directory and therefore also listed on Dmoz.org. The fact of the matter seems to me to be if your not listed with the ODP, you shouldn't expect much traffic from Google.
Getting a listing is not difficult, it does sometimes take time but it's not difficult. Just make sure your site has good content and follow the guidelines for adding a URL. Try to get your index page listed at least. I say at least because although ODP claims only to list your index page, there are plenty of sites with 5 - 10 pages listed.
Therefore if your site has very distinctive sections you can submit each section, beware though that this must be done slowly, otherwise you may be banned from the directory altogether for spamming. Once Google updates its directory these listings could do wonders for your sites Pagerank™. My article entitled Open Directory Project guide is a complete guide to getting into the ODP, I highly recommend you read it.
Regarding Yahoo and Looksmart, Pagerank™ will usually allocate a more than normal amount of PR boost for any sites listed. Tips on getting listed in Yahoo can be read in Yahoo submitting tips.
If you're a non-commercial site or have a site that's almost completely non-commercial you can get into the Looksmart directory through http://www.zeal.com. I really love this site, just like Google obtains its directory results from ODP, Looksmart obtains its non-commercial listings from the Zeal web directory. Without Zeal I would have to fork out hard earned cash and all my site does is provide free information in the form of articles and tutorials.
To continue, I submitted AKA Marketing.com on a Tuesday and was listed in Zeal by Thursday morning. On Monday I checked my logs and found lots of referrals from Looksmart, I was in Looksmart already. I looked at my logs later only to find MSN had updated its database from the Looksmart database and was sending me loads of visitors because of the good listing I got. My site was listed in Zeal, Looksmart and MSN within six days. Needless to say I highly recommend you get over to Zeal.com and submit your site.
Before you can submit a site however you must pass a member quiz, the quiz is a fairly simple straightforward one, you might however learn a thing or two while doing it.
If you happen to be a webmaster that has a listing in all three of Dmoz.org, Yahoo and Looksmart then I'm guessing your site has good to very good PR and rankings.
Google ranking tips - Conclusion
In closing I would like to recap on some of the main points you have just read. Be sure to have your main keywords and keyphrases in your title tag and well spread throughout your page, use header tags wherever possible. Get as many links from as many high PR low number of outbound links pages as you can. Get listed with Dmoz.org, Yahoo and Looksmart.
Well that's it. I hope you have enjoyed reading this Google Ranking tips article as much as I have enjoyed researching and writing it. I also hope that you can put this advice into use and help get yourself some real traffic.