Smart business people understand the benefit of ranking high in Google for their related keywords, yet most don’t have a complete understanding of how those rankings are achieved.
In short, Google basis its rankings on two major factors: the importance of your website and its relevance to the search query. Having one without the other is like having a wheelbarrow with different sized wheels: you aren’t getting anywhere. Let’s look at these two factors- importance and relevance- more closely.
Importance. This metric is measured by Page Rank (named after Google co-creator Larry Page) from a scale of 0-10, with 10 being the most important sites on the web. Page Rank is determined by the quantity and quality of links a webpage receives. It’s like an election, where each link is in essence a vote for a website.
Remember, though, that all votes are not created equal. Your Page Rank will be determined by the quality of those votes more than the quantity. For example, one link from the homepage of Yahoo (PR 9) is worth a lot more than 1,000 links from websites with a PR of 0. The same is true in the offline world: “As seen on Oprah” sounds much better than “My Mom says it’s cool.”
Relevance. Your website may be important resource on the web, but what if isn’t relevant? Would you expect to see Adobe (PR 10) appear for the search result: “how to change a flat tire?” Of course not.
Relevance is measured by a process known as text matching. Google scans the content of a website as well as the content of those websites that link to it. This gives Google a better understanding of what a website is all about. The most important measure of relevance is the anchor text other websites use when linking to your site. This is why Adobe ranks #1 for the term “click here” but not “how to change a flat tire”; millions of other websites link to Adobe using the phrase “Click Here To Download Adobe Acrobat.”
Your website should of course include relevant keywords as well, and link to other authority sites when applicable to improve your relevance.
If you can prove to Google that your website is important and relevant, your rankings will reflect that.