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Google Ranking Tips

by David Callan c 2003 http://www.akamarketing.com

Google is by far the most popular search engine available today for both ordinary surfers and webmasters.

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. So 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 / list your site.

If you are not listed in Google and submit you're usually indexed within two weeks. If, however, your site is already listed in the index Google should re-index once every month, but more frequently if you have a high Pagerank and update often.

This indexing / re-indexing 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 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 will be ranked lower than all other sites that are only slightly familiar with the Google algorithm.

So let's indulge 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. 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 page relevant, i.e. - the text matching part of the algorithm.

Google gives a lot of "weight" to the title tag when searching for keywords, so make sure your most important keywords or keyphrases appear in the title tag. It seems to work best if you have other words in your title tag, too, after your keywords, but try to remain under 35-40 characters.

As many of you know, Google does not use meta tags such as keywords or description tags. This is because the text in these tags cannot be seen by visitors to a website. Google therefore feels these tags will be abused by webmasters placing lots of unrelated words in them in order the get more visitors to their sites.

This lack of support for meta tags means that Google creates your description from the first few lines of text on your page, this means you've to have your keywords and phrases right at the top, if it finds them your page becomes more relevant. If it doesn't the rest of your page has to work harder to become relevant. For example have a look at http://www.akamarketing.com/google-ranking-tips.html. At the top of this page you will see:

AKA Marketing .com - Free Internet Marketing Articles , Google submitting tips, ranking high at google.com.

The above sentence includes keyphrases related to this page.

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.

Other advice about making your page relevant includes putting keywords into the heading tags . Also try and bold as many keywords as you can. As of late Google seems to be indexing text in alt image tags, so include your keyphrases in there too.

One final tip on page relevancy is the point on having your keywords and phrases in links which point to your site. It is a good idea to have the linking text containing your keywords as Google even says itself that it analyzes pages that links come from too, in it's description of it's Pagerank technology.

How much keyword laden links matter is anyone's guess. I have noticed however a lot of sites which give the HTML code to visitors who want to exchange links do include keywords in theactual linking area. You should do something like this too on your links page, say something like "if you want to link to this site, please use the following code".

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 link popularity 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. If not - 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 page. So the more links it has the less of a PR boost your site gets.

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.

It's beginning to come complex isn't it, just wait till you see this formula. Its 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 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 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 4 and 9 other links.

Lets 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 / voted for from that page.

OK, I think we've had enough mathy 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.

The best thing you can do for your PR at the moment seems to be getting your site listed in Dmoz.org - The Open Directory Project.

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 Pagerank. 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 it's directory with the latest one from dmoz.org. This is because Google uses it's own version of 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. The fact of the matter seems to me to be if your not listed in ODP, you shouldn't expect much traffic from Google.

It's 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. So if your site has very distinctive sections, then submit each section - slowly. Once Google updates it's directory, these listings could do wonders for your sites maximum PR.

As for Yahoo and Looksmart, Pagerank will usually allocate a more than normal amount of PR boost for any sites listed. For tips on getting listed in Yahoo, read Yahoo Submitting Tips at http://www.akamarketing.com/Yahoo-submitting-tips.html

If you're a noncommercial site or have a site that's almost completely noncommercial you can get into the Looksmart directory through www.Zeal.com. I really love this site, just like Google obtains results from ODP, Looksmart obtains it's noncommercial listings from the Zeal web directory, without Zeal I would have to fork out hard earned cash and all my site does is provide information.

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 it's 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. So get over to Zeal.com and submit your site.

Before you can submit a site however you must pass a member quiz, which is fairly simple and straightforward.

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.

RECAP

Have your main keywords and phrases in your TITLE tag and well spread throughout your page. Get as many links from as many high PR low number of outbound links pages you can. GET LISTED IN DMOZ.ORG, Yahoo and Looksmart.

Well that's it. I hope you have enjoyed reading this Google Ranking tips article has much as I have enjoyed writing it. I also hope that you can put this advice into use and help get yourself some real traffic.

About the Author

Article by David Callan - admin@akamarketing.com. David is the webmaster of http://www.akamarketing.com. Visit his site for free Internet marketing articles, advice, ebooks, news and lots more.AKA Marketing also includes HTML, Javascript and Webdesign tutorials.

Tags: E-commerce and Internet


 

 

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