Google’s algorithm for determining where websites rank in the search engine results page is a company secret. They won’t disclose all of the details about their algorithm but there are some factors online marketing professionals have determined through testing and some which Google has revealed. Certain criteria which determine your website’s rankings involve your domain name, back links to the website, keywords, and page content. Some factors are only slightly pertinent and others are of critical importance, but together they all contribute to the overall ranking of your page.
Your domain age might contribute to where your website ranks in a search. If Google had to choose between your page and another one and they were equally strong, having an aged domain might give you a competitive edge. However, the history of the domain can make a difference in your ranking ability. The site may have been penalized or there may have been red flags against the owner. This is especially important to take into consideration when buying a new domain. Be sure to check the history since there may have been a prior owner.
Inserting keywords into your domain and/or sub-domain name helps. It is potentially easier to rank a keyword-infused domain name. That depends on other factors as well, though. Keep in mind that if you use an exact match domain name, a domain that is the exact keyword phrase that you are trying to rank, it is very easy to over-optimize your site. This will make it difficult to obtain rankings.
Backlinks are links from other websites that point to your website. These links from other places on the internet can hurt or help a page’s rankings. Legitimate and relevant links associated with a page give the site authority and act like job references, giving Google signals that the website page is not spam. Links from bad neighborhood websites or non-relevant links gives Google cause for concern.
At least one keyword should be in your title and tags, but more is better. Then again, this won’t guarantee a top place with Google’s algorithm. Neither does density of keywords in content. Appropriate words and phrases should crop up naturally multiple times, but if they appear too often Google identifies your site as “spam” and penalizes you. Today, it is easy to over-optimize your website by using too many keywords on your site. Start to think about using related words and phrases to provide variation in your keywords.
Google’s system isn’t a person, yet its algorithm is very sophisticated and it can identify good content versus bad content. One way is by giving credit to content length. Typically a web page with more words will rank better than a page with less words.
Adding a country’s suffix to the website (.za for South Africa, .ca in Canada, for instance) is only helpful during a search in that country or for products from that nation. Otherwise, .com is still the best.
L4 Group specializes in helping business owners and marketing executives throughout the United States. L4 Group will optimize online marketing strategies that will increase traffic, sales, and profitability. Call today for a free consultation and web analysis.
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