If you’ve ever asked about Google rankings and why a website appears higher in your search results, you’re not alone. Usually, the answer is explained with a flash of waving fingers and the words “Google algorithm”. As helpful as that description is, there is a fairly simple explanation behind this fairy-tale-seeming science. It’s easiest to start by looking at a site on all of its different levels, from domain to page content.

Domain Name

The domain is one of the first and most obvious places that Google looks to for ranking factors. It is here that the most obvious and important keywords for a business appear. For best results, include your target keyword in the domain name.

Onsite Pages

Each page on your site is an opportunity to add keywords. Relevant keywords translate to a higher Google ranking. The four tips to remember for on-page content:

  • Frequently use keywords. The more often you use a keyword, the more Google recognizes it as relevant.
  • Include keyword in the title tag.
  • Optimize images. This also improves relevancy, therefore improving SEO.
  • Increase the amount of content on the page, which lets you include more keywords and cover more relevant topics.

social media

Social Media Influence

Google takes the amount of social media shares and activity around a site pretty seriously. The more coverage a site has, the higher it tends to rank. For example, the more tweets a page has, the higher it appears on a search engine page. When it comes to Facebook, Facebook shares are more powerful than Facebook likes, and work similarly to a backlink.

Site Level

The Google algorithm will look for certain factors on a website-wide level. Things like including appropriate contact information and updating your site frequently will translate favorably in the search rankings.

Backlinks: Best Practices

A common misconception about backlinks is that quantity is better than quality. Google actually favors just the opposite formula in its search engine rankings, so remember these backlink tips:

  • Backlink from older, not newer, domains. These aged domains are more legitimate.
  • Make sure the page rank of the site linking to yours has a high page rank. Again, it’s a legitimacy issue.
  • Embed backlinks directly in the page content. Placing them on the sides or footer of the page makes them less helpful in boosting your rankings.