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 Pagerankô system that this engine
uses. More on the Pagerankô 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 Pagerankô.
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
Google ranking algorithmm
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 Pagerankô 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:
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
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
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
The Pagerankô 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 Pagerankô 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
Pagerankô 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 Pagerankô 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 Pagerankô?
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
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 Pagerankô. 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, Pagerankô 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
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.
Article by David Callan. David is an Internet marketing
professional and webmaster of
AKA Marketing.com webmaster forums. Visit his webmaster
forums for the latest discussions on search engines, website
authoring and Internet marketing related issues and topics.
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