Yes, it is true; Google is one of the most amazing innovations since . . . well, chocolate. But what makes Google the number-one search engine in the world? Google relies directly on millions of websites linking to other websites in order to create what is known as Google PageRank. So in essence, consumers, individual websites, and links make Google number one.
What Exactly Is Google PageRank?
Google PageRank is an algorithm developed at Stanford by Larry Page and Sergey Brin in the mid-1990s. PageRank determines the position in which your website appears on in Google search results. The factors that determine Google PageRank are constantly changing and evolving. No one—aside from, presumably, the individuals who work at Google—knows exactly how the search engine determines PageRank, but we have a pretty good idea of what actions can get your site closer to the top of the SERPs.
So what should your company do to have a higher PageRank authority? Follow these top ten PageRank factors:
1. Link Back to High-Quality Sites
This is the most obvious factor: linking back to excellent sites is not just going to make your company look better and spread awareness of your service or product, but it will also help improve your overall SEO. Google PageRank is calculated primarily upon the quality of the sites you link back to. Remember, the larger the amount of high-ranking sites you link back to, the higher overall Google PageRank your website is going to achieve.
If faced with the opportunity to link to numerous amounts of low-rank sites, opt for a few high-ranking sites instead. Google will actually penalize people who have a large amount of low-quality or zero-quality links.
2. Backlink Diversity
Diversity in all things is good—especially when you backlink. Consistently linking back to the same or even similar sites will make your webpage look spam ridden and will result in lower PageRank authority. Using different types of backlinks, such as guest blog posts, article submissions, and contextual links, will help you establish your online reputation.
3. On-Page Link Building
Although it won’t increase or decrease your PageRank significantly if you include a link in the footer, sidebar, or byline of an article, links within the actual body of the article are better for your website and for your Google PageRank authority.
However, you do not want to have a ton of links on one page. According to what is known as the “first link priority” rule, if you have two or more anchor text links that point to the same page, a search engine spider will ignore anything other than that first link. You can add links to different pages (with related content, of course) on your site.
4. Unique and Substantive Content
When you think about it, Google wants to point to the most relevant and interesting sites for a search term in order to maintain its reputation as a highly effective search engine. Thus, the secret to achieving higher rankings is by being relevant and interesting. Google has been emphasizing more and more that great content plays a huge part of SEO.
Creating good quality content is not only a great way to attract followers to your website but to maintain their piqued interest.
Be informative. If someone does a Google search for “Ford Mustang repairs” and that person finds an article with images of bears driving Ford Mustangs, they may be amused but probably won’t leave the website feeling informed. Instead, if you are focusing on the keyword “Ford Mustang repairs,” you should fulfill on what that keyword promises and deliver information on repairing a Ford Mustang.
5. Cloaking/IP Delivery
Cloaking in SEO is where you trick search engine spiders into thinking that you are linking somewhere when in actuality you are linking to a completely different website.
Much like with other facets of life, honesty is the best policy when it comes to SEO. Although many businesses utilize cloaking or IP Delivery, Google is getting smarter and smarter and will actually de-index sites that use cloaking as a form of SEO.
When people typically think of the term “keyword,” they think of using one specific word to represent the entirety of their company. However, a keyword is typically a short phrase. When picking a keyword, choose something that is vague yet not overused. For example, if your company sells waffles locally, then you will want to pick keywords such as “Belgium waffles in Utah,” “homemade waffles from Montreal,” or “Belgium waffle makers.” These keywords are vague enough so people will actually think to search for them, but they are still unique to your company, which will help boost your PageRank.
7. Keyword in Title Tags
Title tags are the small amount of text that describes your article. Although it’s hard to determine how much title tags can change PageRank, a title tag is the single most important on-page optimization factor besides content itself.
When creating a title tag, remain relevant to your topic and place the keywords near the beginning of the title itself. This will help Google read your keyword more efficiently and hopefully give it a higher rank.
8. Keyword Focus
At one point, sites had to monitor their keyword density, meaning you needed to use your keywords a certain amount of times (usually around 3% of your content) so Google and other search engines could better establish what the site is about.
This isn’t quite the case anymore; search engine crawlers will understand the theme of the content without your content being that blatant. However, it is still vital to use the keywords you have selected and to keep your content focused around those keywords. Make sure that the keywords fall naturally into your content as well.
9. Social Media
Facebook and Twitter both help boost your search results and increase your PageRank authority. Hundreds of tweets about your company by real individuals can increase your authority tremendously.
It is important to have fans and followers, but it is more valuable to have people tag you and talk about you. The best ways to attract more followers and create a name for your business in the social media world is to post consistently, have intriguing content, and incorporate captivating images in your tweets and Facebook posts. Aside from SEO, you need to think about your fans and customers. If people are talking about your company/content or asking questions, be sure to engage back. This creates a continuous cycle of communication between the client and clientele.
10. Page Age
Google likes to put the dates on your articles and posts. Page age refers to the date the article was posted, not the date the websites domain was created. The newer the date on the page, the more likely people are going to click on it. This is a big reason why you should consider adding a blog to your website if you haven’t already.
We have reiterated on this blog again and again that higher rankings through search engines will mean more attention for your business and, ultimately, more customers and clients. Though there may not be a magic formula to achieving a high PageRank, these factors will definitely get your site closer. Be smart, be active, and write great content, so you and Google are both happy.