How Google Ranks Your Web Page
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Google is perhaps the Internet's most important search engine. In addition, to being a top search in itself, it powers the search engine components of AOL and Yahoo to name just a few. So if you haven't figured it out already, you'd better have some understanding how Google indexes and ranks your web page.
This article does not strive to provide all the answers to Google rankings. It could take volumes and even then, search engines like to keep some things secret as they are intent on discouraging cheaters. This is not a technical document - it just provides you with tips on improving your Google rankings.
What Google looks at:
1. Link Popularity
The idea is that site A votes for site B by placing a link to site B on site A. Despite popular belief, simply exchanging links with a whole bunch of sites isn't necessarily going to increase your link popularity. The Google search engine analyzes the importance of the sites providing the links to your site. Focus on linking with sites with good rankings.
You can see that Google does not index all the links to your site. Find out which links Google indexes by searching for your site "http://www.yourdomain.com" on Google. Then below your link, you'll see the option "Find web pages that link to http://www.yourdomain.com". There you'll find the pages that Google has found that link to your site. You'll notice that many of these links may be your own pages. Be sure to link all your pages together as this can help increase link popularity.
Link popularity is calculated on all the pages in your web site. You should generate links to all your important pages, not just your home page.
Click here to read more about link popularity
2. Meta Tags:
Google considers your Title and ALT Meta Tags when indexing your page. It does not consider your Description Meta Tags or Keyword Meta Tags. **
For an introductory article on Keywords & Meta Tags, see: http://www.internetbasedmoms.com/keywords.htm - please read this article if you need to understand the difference between keyword meta tags and keywords that are entered into a search engine.
a. Title Tags: Title tags play heavily in your ranking for a search on Google. Title tags with just your company name on every page are not going to cut it. Or are you a victim of "new page 1" title tags because you forgot to name your pages? If so, go fix your Title tags right now!
The Title tag is what appears at the top of a Google search result, so it should describe what your business is all about and should include keywords people would use to find your site. Google will read about 59 characters (including spaces) in a Title.
b. ALT Tags: Google also reads the ALT tags that are attached to your graphics. They are a good way to include more keywords in your web page. They are also the words that appear when you move your mouse over a graphic (For more information on ALT Tags, see http://www.internetbasedmoms.com/alt_tags.htm).
Although Google does read your ALT tags, it is not clear to me what importance these tags have in returning results to someone performing a search on Google.
Google searches the content on your site to return relevant search results. Be sure to include relevant keywords in the text of all your pages. Also, try to keep them near the top of your pages - Google may not crawl all the way down your page.
For example, if someone would search for your site with the keywords "cloth diapers" - be sure to include those words in your Title tag and near the top of your web page.
4. Domain Name:
Having your keywords in your domain name may boost your ranking. Google seems to favor sites with keywords in their domain.
For example, if you search for "diaper" on Google, the top results have the word "diaper" in the domain name.
Those are just a few basics to Google rankings. Incorporate some of these suggestions into your web page, wait for Google to update in a few weeks and see the difference. Determine what works and what doesn't and continually improve your site based on what you discover.
Alice Seba is the editor of http://www.internetbasedmoms.com. Fire up your online business with business ideas, web page building advice & marketing tips. Subscribe to the newsletter by sending a blank email to firstname.lastname@example.org.