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Google Ranking: How To Rank Better On Google


So you’ve just started your online business, and now you’re wondering about looking to rank better on Google. But how do you go about actually doing this? The truth is, you’ll find thousands upon thousands of guides, tutorials, and articles about SEO each year. However, you’ll find that most of these are either very broad or super-specific.

None of them will actually show you how Google determines local ranking from a beginner’s perspective. In this blog post, we cover everything a local small business should know about Google ranking factors. Here, we answer the most critical questions regarding Google rankings, such as: “What are the most important Google ranking factors?”; “Why is Google ranking important?”; and “How Google ranking works?”


How Does Google Ranking Work?


Well, there’s no absolute or straight answer to this. What we do know is that Google Ranking is an inexact science, where an extremely complex formula called a search algorithm works to rank all websites. You won’t find the specifics of this algorithm on Google. If it was there, then everyone would just play a game, and no one would produce high-quality content.

As a result, nobody outside of Google knows for sure just how rankings are calculated, and the same is true of other search engines. Moreover, their ranking algorithm is always changing, since Google and other search engines are always refining and altering these algorithms. One reason for this is to stop unethical SEO practitioners from abusing the current algorithm build.


Other times, changes are made to adapt to the changes in user habits and the internet’s technical advances. Think about it — things that were known to be important to get high rankings from five years ago aren’t the same compared to today. Similarly, the SEO practices that will be practiced five years from now will probably look nothing like it currently does.


How Does Google Determine Local Ranking?


When it comes to local results, Google Ranking primarily uses data based on distance, prominence, and relevance. Combining these factors can help us find the best match for our search. For instance, Google’s algorithms might think that a business further away from your location will likely have the same products in a business that’s closer to you. As a result, it will rank higher locally.


Distance


This factor considers the distance between the location term you use in a search to a potential search result. If you don’t use a specific location in your search, Google will calculate the distance based on what is known about the location.


Relevance


When talking about Relevance, it basically refers to how relevant a local business profile matches what the user is searching for. To help Google better match your profile and understand the nature of your business, be sure to add detailed and complete business information to become more relevant to searches.


Prominence


This factor talks about how popular and well-known your business is. It is based on the information that Google is able to gather about your business, which takes into account articles, links, and directories. Factors such as Google review score and review count go into these rankings, so the more reviews and positive ratings that your business has, the better your ranking will be. Moreover, you’ll need to apply SEO best practices here, since your position in the web results will also be a contributing factor.


The Different Results for Local Searches


The basic concepts behind search engine ranking have stayed pretty consistent over the years. However, the way how a website achieves its ranking, along with how search results are displayed has changed. Below are the three ways in which you’ll see search results on Google’s front page.


Paid Ads


These Search Ads depend on a Pay-Per-Click system, where Google lets advertisers bid on keywords and phrases that will show up at the top of the results page, which they pay for only when the ad is clicked on. However, it’s not as easy as it seems; PPC Ads require skill, knowledge, and several optimizations before reaping the results. Because these ads work through an open auction system, advertisers must compete against one another to get the top spot. There are many kinds of paid ads, which include:

  • Local Service Ads

  • Shopping Ads

  • Google Image/Video Ads

Local Map Pack


Local Map Packs are made up of local Google My Business (GMB) pages. Most Google searches with the Local Map Pack show three business listings related to your search. Users may click on the “More Places” button, which will take them to Google Maps where they can look for other GMB pages to find the one they’re looking for. There are times when paid ads are in the Map Pack, but regular results can be found organically, where Google presents the best fit for the user.


Organic Results

Just below the local pack results, you’ll find the organic results. Organic results are also generated through the search terms provided by the user. However, these listings don’t contain all the useful details and information that we’re usually after, such as contact details and business hours. These are what people tend to imagine when they think about SEO — a user-friendly website, an active blog, and engaging site content.


What Are the Most Important Google Ranking Factors?


There are various factors that go into ranking your local business when it comes to Google search results. There is no easy or sure way to get this done, and it will require a lot of hard work before you see results. Furthermore, you can’t rely on just one factor from this list — you need to find the right combination and balance of many of these suggestions to find what works for you and your business.


Page Speed for Both Desktop and Mobile Platforms


For years, page speed has been one of the main concerns behind SEO ranking. Google will always look to improve every users’ experience as they search the web, and the best way to do this is through pages that load quickly.


As of July 2018, Google has been using a search engine algorithm that focuses on mobile page speeds. If your website doesn’t utilize fast loading speeds on mobile devices, then you risk getting penalized. To see how your website stacks up, use Google’s mobile testing tool.


A Website that’s Both Accessible and Safe


Obviously, one of the first things that SEO ranking considers is having the right URL — specifically, one that Google’s bots can access safely. Google needs to be able to visit your URL and see what the page is about. You can help its bots by:

  • Having a sitemap where all your pages are listed

  • Having a robot.txt file that lets Google know where it can find your site’s details

  • Having your website created with a website builder that’s well-coded

Furthermore, your website’s security is another factor that goes into SEO ranking, so if you haven’t enabled TLS protocols on your website yet, be sure to get to it. Such cryptographic protocols are designed to give your computer network the security it needs, which is something that Google rankings also look for.


The Domain’s URL, Age, and Authority


A study by Ahrefs showed that almost 60% of sites inside the top ten Google search rankings are at least three years old. It continues to say that out of two million pages, very few sites will achieve such ranking when they are less than a year old. So just having a well-aged site will help to boost your SEO rankings.


In other cases, the domain name is what matters. While Google penalizes domains with exact matches, this is usually applied for sites that contain little content and are considered spam. If you already have a well-established site, however, there’s no need to find an exact-match domain. Instead, focus on developing a URL that will reflect your business and optimize it as much as possible.


Moreover, your authority also matters when it comes to SEO ranking — this is usually achieved through off-page SEO clicks (through social shares and inbound links) and amazing content. To determine your page or domain authority, be sure to use Open Site Explorer. This will allow you to plug your URL into its search box and provide you with a report that will show page authority, domain authority, new links, and established links.


Optimized Content


Google’s search algorithm depends on keywords, which are words or phrases that searchers type when they’re looking up information. They’re also used to describe what your site is about. When done correctly, these will match up, which is why it’s critical to have the right keywords in your content.


To understand how Google keyword ranking works, we first need to understand search intent. This means that we know what people are truly looking for when they put in keywords. There are times when it's obvious what a person is searching for. However, keywords that people use will change depending on what they want to do, which can range from:

  • Navigational needs, like looking for a certain website

  • Investigational needs, like researching before purchasing a product

  • Informational needs, such as getting answers for a question

  • Transactional needs, such as making a purchase

Remember that a well-optimized business website will have content to cover each of these search types. If you’re unsure about which keywords will fit your business, you can use great tools like a keyword rank checker or a keyword rank tracker to give you an idea of what will work and what won’t for your website. Once you’ve done a bit of research, you can start to fully optimize your content.


User Experience


In the past few years, Google has been using artificial intelligence to help with web page rankings. There are a few things that can affect your ranking on Google, including:

  • Bounce rate: This refers to the number of people who leave your page quickly after clicking on it.

  • Click-through rate: The number of people who visit your website after clicking on an entry in the search results.

  • Dwell time: This refers to how long a visitor stays on your website after they landed.

Should a visitor come to your website and immediately leave, then Google will assume that it's not a relevant search for that user’s needs. This can be a good indicator that your content isn’t a good match to the searcher’s intent, and you may need to target a better keyword. If people go to your website and hang out, then Google will know that your content is relevant to this search.


Technical SEO


This refers to the coding aspects of your website — having your codes right will help towards optimizing your content to produce a better ranking on search engines. For those who aren’t a “techie,” this can be quite intimidating, but here are a few things you can keep within your control even if you aren’t an expert coder:

  • Use header tags such as H1, H2, and H3 to highlight the hierarchy from the title to the subheadings.

  • Add keywords in the titles since this is where Google will first look to see if your content is related to their search.

  • Create meta descriptions to entice readers through the use of keywords and phrases.

  • Keep these meta descriptions catchy with no more than 160 characters.

  • Use keywords and phrases in image alt tags, which will tell Google how the images are relevant to the content.

Links


This is probably one of the most important parts of a website and is a crucial part of SEO ranking. There are only three kinds of links you need to think about, all of which are typically tied to an anchor text:

  • Inbound links: Google uses these as a way to determine how relevant and authoritative your content is.

  • Outbound links: These will show that you have quality content for all your visitors. Using outbound links will connect you to relevant and authoritative sites within your niche.

  • Internal links: Linking your own content will help to bring pages together for your visitors and Google, which makes each page richer in value.

Your Business Information


This is probably the most important tip for businesses looking to target specific local areas. Having detailed and correct information can be what makes or breaks your SEO ranking. As such, it’s important to check areas like:

  • NAP (name, address, and phone number)

  • Effective and applicable local search terms

  • Business listings on both Facebook and Google My Business

  • Reviews on both of these sites as well as relevant directories such as Yelp

Why is Google Ranking Important?


While SEO is the cornerstone of online marketing success, Google is the key to becoming visible in the world wide web’s saturated virtual marketplace. Because Google is the most widely-used search engine today, it provides the biggest opportunity for those who want to see their business succeed. Here are just a few more reasons why you need to be at the top of Google’s search results:

  • You get more traffic.

  • It increases your business’ authenticity.

  • It creates a better image for you.

  • Things are much better at the top.

  • You’ll get reduced costs.

Where Am I on Google Ranking?


If you’re looking to see where you currently stand in Google’s rankings, you’ll encounter plenty of websites that claim to offer this service. However, these are misleading at best and will display incorrect information. Some of these can even be in violation of Google’s terms of service, which is a big no-no if you want to keep using their services. Luckily, there are things you can check to gauge more or less how you’re doing:

  • Go through your search engine results manually.

  • Double-check if your SEO is working.

  • Go through your server’s log files.

  • Use analytics software.

  • Use Google Webmaster tools.

With these tips and suggestions, there’s no reason why your business shouldn’t get further up Google’s rankings. While there’s no real way for us to determine Google’s ranking algorithms, it’s much easier to calibrate our website’s performance when we focus on a more specific area locally. This should make it a little bit easier for our business to rank against other options, so be sure to follow the guidelines laid out above. Before you know it, you might just be sitting pretty at the top of Google’s page results.


References


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