How to Check (and Improve) Your Google Ranking
There are very few website owners who are satisfied with their Google ranking. Chances are, unless you are in the top percent of website that yield top Google results, there are some Google ranking improvements to be made. Improving your Google ranking, however, is not so easy if you don’t understand how Google ranks its sites to begin with.
Google doesn’t make it publicly known how exactly they rank their websites, but there are very intelligent professionals in related fields that have figured out what factors into a Google ranking. According to Mark Walters, “They determine which websites are the most useful and relevant by using a complex algorithm (mathematical process) which takes into account 200+ different factors.” With a little research, and possibly outside help, you can learn how to improve upon your website, to ensure a higher Google ranking.
Checking and Understanding Your Ranking
Determining where your website ranks on Google is not so cut and dry. Your website ranking will fluctuate day to day, hour to hour. Instead it is better to understand what affects your ranking. Where someone is located and how often they use certain key words will affect your ranking for that individual. For example, if someone located in London makes a search using the key word ‘shoes’, they will receive different results than someone who made the same search in Leeds.
Google has a unique profile for each of its users, and tailors its search results based on that profile. Many people are not aware that they leave quite a large footprint on the web, and companies like Google know exactly how to track you. Google uses this information to their advantage and to optimize their search engine results. This is important because it tells you that your ranking on a Google search will also vary depending on who is doing the search. This is called personalization.
Your Google profile is composed of your acquaintances and friends as well, and what your friends like, will affect your search results. “What do someone’s friends think about a website? This is one of the newer ranking factors to impact search results. Someone’s social connections can influence what they see on Google and Bing.”, says searchengineland.com. This is important for website owners to know and remember. Your ranking is truly all about relevance, such as:
If you’re okay with your site ranking high locally, then you won’t need to worry about using keywords or making your profile relevant on a larger scale. To check Google ranking and other metrics about your website, simply sign into Google Search Console and click on your website.
Factors that Play into Your Ranking
Let’s go more in depth as to how Google calculates your ranking and what will affect it:
- Your domain name plays a somewhat significant role in your ranking right of the bat. A domain name such as ‘cupcakedesign’ is going to rank higher based on the keyword ‘cupcake’ than a similar cupcake business with the domain name ‘sugarysweets’. It is always important to consider how relevant your domain name is to your business and the keywords that may be used to find it.
- Your content plays the most significant role in your Google ranking. Your content is what your website is made of. This includes keywords, images, etc. The better the content, the higher the ranking. A blog, or website that is full of brisk articles and dribble is not likely to be on the first page of a Google search result. “Although word count doesn’t rule the SEO world – nobody will read your stuff if it’s not helpful to them – longer content does give you the opportunity to provide more value, include more keywords, incorporate more outbound links, and of course, get people to spend more time reading to increase dwell time,” says Daniel Louis.
- Lack of keywords and images that make the article relevant, and little to no audience. Content that is interesting but has no search engine optimization will struggle for a good Google ranking; content that is boring and droll but is stuffed with keywords won’t keep anyone on their page for longer than 30 seconds and will have a poor ranking as well.
- Have a contact page. Google places high value in a website’s legitimacy. A good and thorough contact me or us page will lend to your websites legitimacy and earn you a better ranking than those websites that lack one. It is especially important that a business webpage provide good contact information, most importantly so that they turn up in a Google search result, and secondly so they retain a loyal customer base. To quote Daniel Louis again, “According to this Google document (p.98), websites that have sufficient contact information are considered to be more trust-worthy and therefore may rank higher by search engines. t’s found that a well-designed contact form increases user participation in a company’s online presence… It also helps generate new business opportunities, capture new leads, improve customer service, and more.”
- Update your site frequently. This keeps your website fresh and relevant. It also shows Google and others who may land on your website that it is an active website. Websites that stay up to date get more frequent visits from search engines, tend to be more engaging, and have higher rankings. Your website may also be deemed as an authority on a subject, if it provides frequent high quality content. All of these aspects are important to Google and will affect your ranking.
- The amount of social media attention a website gets can have a potentially huge effect on its ranking. Getting social media likes, shares or tweets means that people are taking notice of your content, talking about it, and means your site is relevant. A website that has social media’s attention, may get Googles attention. Andy Crestodina explains this well, “Social sharing directly increases the visibility of a page. That increased visibility means it may get noticed by a creator of content, such as a blogger, journalist, or author. That creator may mention it in a subsequent piece of content. If they linked to it, that page is then more likely to rank.” To sum it up, a large amount of social media attention may boost your websites traffic, and result in a better Google website ranking.
There are a lot that factors into a website ranking, and there is no one quick solution to improve it. If you seriously want to improve your Google web ranking, then you will have to dedicate some time implementing changes and optimizing your website. Your website is in competition with every other website on Google related to its subject or field. Take a look at your website, and then Google your top competitor’s site and compare the two. This should give you a strong idea of some changes that you may need to make initially.
As you continue to update, and improve upon your website and its relevancy, check your ranking through Google Search Console to ensure that you are on track and making progress. It is very difficult for a website to hold a top Google ranking, so never stop making those improvements or you may find that your ranking has dropped significantly. Another detailed resource on website structure that is worth reading is this post from Authority Hacker.