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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.

Google Pagerank

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.


Comments about this page from our past visitors
1| karthik said, 19th May 2006 @ 13:54
Fantastic algorithm implemented.Hats off to the developers and the architect team of Google.
2| Bob Millsaps said, 20th May 2006 @ 17:45
Thank you for the article it has been very helpful in clearing my head. I am going to print it out and dig deeper into your research.
3| Wiebe Lemstra said, 21st May 2006 @ 10:33
Thanks for writing this. I've bookmarked the page and will be re-reading this often. I've already submited my site to the Dutch version of ODP.
4| Geoffrey Ellis said, 25th May 2006 @ 07:42
Hallelujah! At last we have a writer who has been able to convert Russian Algebra into a little fireside chat. Wow, its good!!!
5| ieki said, 25th May 2006 @ 17:58
very fantastic info,

6| lala mosa said, 27th May 2006 @ 17:39
there is a lot of valuable info on this page
really gr8
7| Navin said, 29th May 2006 @ 09:33
very nice article, clears lot of doubts about google ranking.
8| MeBloggers said, 29th May 2006 @ 09:54
Today I came across this site and I find it very usefull, I was wondering how to get page rank mainly in google for my site http://www.mebloggers.com

Very good resource for emarketing.
9| Google said, 29th May 2006 @ 11:33
Nice Stuff.
Really liked it.
Good Work !

10| BiznetWorld said, 31st May 2006 @ 09:20
Good info indeed!
Unfortunately last check today Zeal.com has been shut down by looksmart

But they do add another site Furl.net

BizNetWorld Directory
11| kalai said, 10th June 2006 @ 22:07
Many times, I simply cannot find the information I am looking for about google rankings . but this is good one

Great !!
12| James said, 13th June 2006 @ 16:26
Excellent article! Clearly explained how Google page ranking works.
13| smita says said, 15th June 2006 @ 10:18
awsome article,language dat has been used is really easy and understandable,i hav kept it as a bookmark,and visit it regularly.
14| namesonchains said, 20th June 2006 @ 21:15
Excelent, exactly what i needed to make sense of it all.

15| Ajvinder Singh said, 22nd June 2006 @ 21:23
very easy to understand, even for someone new to this sort of thing, very interesting aswell
16| Ramesh Jha said, 27th June 2006 @ 12:24
Excellent, Article on Google ranking algo. It help me lot to implement the ranking system in Autonomy.
Much thanks.

17| Robert Nauert said, 27th June 2006 @ 18:54
Thanks a lot for the information. I'm working on a new site and I feel that this will be very useful.
18| raz said, 28th June 2006 @ 12:28
thnx to google for giving alot of knldge for google ranking , I wsh to google for giving me some extra trips for tags.
19| Nabil bengholam said, 1st July 2006 @ 19:09
I have always wondered how google works..
Thanks a lot for the article ;)
20| Maddy said, 3rd July 2006 @ 18:55
Gud algo by Goooooogle... infact very gud algo.. and a very very gud brief explanation out here...Thank You.

PS:have some arguments regarding this algo... where can i post my opinions??
21| David Callan said, 3rd July 2006 @ 19:12
Thanks very much for all the opinions folks, they are much appreciated and I'm glad you all enjoyed the article.

Maddy our Google forum is located at http://www.akamarketing.com/webmaster-forums/forumdisplay.php?f=24
22| Ruel said, 4th July 2006 @ 15:10
Very informative indeed. I should have read this first before i made my site http://blog.ruelbermudez.com

It's not the quantity of links you should have but the quality of it. Great!
23| sgehost said, 4th July 2006 @ 20:12
I think this is the best explaination of how to build a higher rank in google . I love this site alot alot alot . :>

I rate this site as 10***/10 . and this is the first time i written comment for any website

If akamarketing able to show me on how i can improve for my website to go higher rank , it will be greatly appreciate :> as im a newbie . normally newbie are blur . need more example .hehhe
24| Rajasree Roy said, 13th July 2006 @ 02:29
Marvellous work, clears all junks from one's mind and help improve the pagerank. Worth of reading multiple times and that will benefit immensely.
25| Jim said, 24th July 2006 @ 14:04
Exce...........llent, Article for Algorithm of Google, I think you cover most of the part of algo and also a vell writen in understanding language. Good Work done by you.

26| chirag shah. said, 26th July 2006 @ 19:39
This page has really much thing not only for newcomers in this field but also for those who are already in this field.

Thanks a lot.
27| svenn dhert said, 31st July 2006 @ 19:15
Nice artikel ,
msn does love my site but google doesn't :( .
I knowed a lot of those things but the detailes I got in this artikel

greets svenn
28| Helmut said, 1st August 2006 @ 01:22
Great article. 5 months ago I new nothing about websites or how to publish them. I now have 5 up and running. The only problem is I'm paying a lot out of my own pocket for advertisement, while one of my competitors always comes out at the very top of every search result and pays nothing. I was trying to figure out how he does that. This article explains everything. Thanks. http://www.themeetingpoint.ch
29| careerbharat said, 1st August 2006 @ 18:40
I am very to happy to find something like this, specially the PR algorithm

30| Clara Stang said, 2nd August 2006 @ 00:01
Ive had a site over 2 years now. Its more of a Hobby but. All Im looking for is a PR rank of 1. Iv been trying everything but optimisation, etc is a fairly new concept to me. Ill give it a go. Fingers crossed. Either way it was an interesting read. Im picking up things all the time but many of it contradicts itself. I change my site all the time but am going to build a new one on the things iv learned and start from scratch. Thats the site below. Sure its a bit shabby but the next one will be better

31| www.eukhost.com said, 8th August 2006 @ 20:06
Indeed a fantastic algorithm..Well whats the secret google...?

32| www.massageroyal.com said, 20th August 2006 @ 18:15
Nice piece of work. Veryu helpful and easy to read. You should write more stuff on seo.

33| Robin said, 31st August 2006 @ 05:11
"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."

Oh yes they do. I had a number of sites where I repeated the title in the description meta tag and google simply copied the descriptions. I then changed all the descriptions to be keyword heavy and not only did the descriptions change on Google, my rankings went up :)
34| Ace said, 21st September 2007 @ 07:08
It is really such useful info and nice algo, definitely everyone would benefit it and apply those techniques.... Thanks!

35| Rob said, 21st September 2007 @ 07:43
Google only ignores meta keywords and keyword density but not meta descriptions.
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