How Does Google Rank Websites? Bet your friend a drink because you’ll win the bet. The answer is Google ranks Webpages, not Websites.
How Does Google Rank Websites? (Hint: They Don’t)
If you own a small business, we are pretty certain your voicemail and email are filled with “Your Website needs this or that.” Web It 101 would like to take a moment during “Digital Marketing Month” and point something out that these ‘black hat’ firms calling you and emailing you don’t ever talk about.
Google Doesn’t Rank Websites.
Google and Bing use web “bots” to crawl your pages, not your website. So in essence, they are crawling and indexing each page separately (not your website as a whole).
For instance, ever look for a business and see a separate page such as “About” or “Contact” is actually listed in search returns before the main home page? This happen for a few reasons but the most likely one is the SEO on those pages is better than on the homepage, or they are “googled” more often, or sometimes the SEO on Content Marketing simply overtakes the Homepage.
Here is a case and point. The bread and butter of the business American Maintenance does is “in-store assembly” of bicycles, furniture and other products. If you Google American Maintenance Assembly them you’ll likely see this return.
Notice they are all different webpages on the same website domain (american-ma.com).
How Does Google Rank Websites? They Don’t. Google ranks Webpages. Individually.
This happens because Google essentially considers each page as “a site”.
In a recent survey, 62% of company blogs are set up incorrectly. A company blog is set up incorrectly when it’s not set up in the main domain.
Why is that important? Well, if the blog is on it’s own domain, Google has no way to relate the information, relativity and authority of that information to your domain. Plus, when it’s done correctly, think of it this way, now every blog post can be a page, and every page gets what?
So that’s why each and every page must have its own SEO. Websites don’t get SEO, Web PAGES get SEO.
Now, even though he recently took a sabbatical to spend some “family time” Matt Cutts at Google puts this into perspective;
“The number of pages your website has is directly proportional to your website rank.”
Simply put, a 3 page site ranks lower than a 5 page site that ranks lower than a 10 page site and so on. Now if that was the only ranking factor, but it’s just one of around 200 factors Google takes into account.
No matter how strong your content is, a large national brand will always have higher traffic that causes them to outrank you, right? Again, Matt Cutts, recently exposed the truth about whether site size impacts search ranking.
Matt Cutts disagrees with the notion that larger national brands will always have higher traffic and search rankings. Smaller sites might actually have more opportunities and capabilities due to their size, such as producing fresh content more quickly.
Google “bots” visit your website. How often? It can range from several times an hour to once every 6 months or so. Some businesses start producing content to a previously “stale” site and don’t see a difference. If your website has been “static” for 3 months or more, you really need to refresh the whole site and submit it for a Google “fetch” or even upload a new sitemap, then when Google checks back and sees new content, it begins to learn to check in more often.
That’s why it pays to have a content marketing company, such as Web It 101, work hard to create new content on a regular basis, training the bots to visit and crawl your site on a regular basis.
While it’s easy to feel like outranking your larger competitors is a hopeless investment, consider your area of business. If you can find real ways to stand out from your competition by focusing your efforts on a particular niche, Cutts and the rest of Google argue that your site can easily experience long-term benefits.
The idea that larger web sites rank better in Google is apparent everywhere. In September of 2013, 400 people responded to a survey that asked if they believed the size of a site impacts Google rankings. 57% believed that larger sites rank better, while only 9% of respondents believed smaller sites could. The remaining 34% believed that size doesn’t impact the rankings at all.
While many of us may be daunted by larger sites – and may be surprised by Cutts’ response – it’s clear that the quality of the site and what’s on each the web pages will make a difference in search rankings.
Because Google ranks web pages instead of websites, the search engine is always looking to match the best, most relevant web page to a user’s search query.
If there is one thing you take away from reading this is that Google looks for the best web page for a search query, not the best “website”. Google Doesn’t Rank Websites – They index and rank pages.
So it shouldn’t matter if your site is big or small – if you focus on quality, creativity will pay off in the long run.
Become a Larger Site
Even though your site might be small compared to national brands or strong local competitors, you can end up becoming a larger site if you work much harder and produce superior content. While your site may be small now, it can grow and transform if it gives users a better experience than your larger competitors. And you grow your site through a (properly set up) blog, news or updates on a regular basis.
By doing this you are delivering more value in the long run, because when it’s set up properly, and the correct SEO tools are used, Google will reward you.
Small Business Constraints
Most small businesses don’t have someone running their website on a daily, weekly or even an annual basis. This isn’t a negative, it’s simply reality. Small business owners are just too busy running the business. It’s also much more affordable to hire it out to someone like Web It 101, than it is to hire and train someone in-house in the art of content creation, copy-writing and Google Best Practices SEO.
Focus on User Experience and Value
High quality content will be one of the ways you can give users what they want and deliver user experience and value – the two components Google considers heavily when ranking sites, according to Cutts. He also shared specific strategies that smaller sites should implement if they’re looking to outrank their larger competitors:
- Be Agile – remaining attentive to what your users want and how the Internet is changing is important to the success of your site. Be agile and flexible to ensure your site is always ahead of the next change, especially on the mobile front.
- Be Dynamic – If you’re energetic about your site and your goals, the experience you provide users can be a vibrant one. If you can create new ideas while giving users something unique, relevant as well as provide value, your rankings and the success of your site will increase immensely.
- Respond Quickly – Now that you have a dynamic active site, you need to respond to users’ needs and inquiries quickly, and you’ll position yourself as an industry leader who is focused on your customers’ satisfaction.
- Target Long-Tail – Instead of trying to rank for “sneakers” target keywords that are longer and more specific to a certain niche or local area. Focus your efforts on becoming a leader in the long-tail, and then move into targeting broader topics down the road. Matt is so right here. This is exactly the path Web It 101 takes.
Google makes it simple for us to understand: Deliver more quality, details and insights than your bigger brands and competitors. Again, Google doesn’t rank websites, so by simply making your pages better than the competitors in your industry, you’ll naturally rise in the Google search results.
It’s not a race, it’s a marathon.
With Cutts’ explanation, it should be evident that outranking larger sites is possible with diligence and smart strategies. As Cutts says, “the smaller guys absolutely can outperform the larger guys as long as they do a really good job at it.”
By focusing on a specific niche or location, being creative with your ideas, delivering superior user experience and consumer value, as well as using Google Best Practices SEO Web It 101 does as a trusted Google Partner, you can transform your site into a larger presence. Be optimistic about your capabilities, and figure out (with our help) what you can do that the bigger sites can’t.
If we have learned anything from Matt Cutts and Google’s recent algorithm updates, superior content is what will help your site rank better in the long run.
And the next time you get an email or phone call about SEO for your WebSITE….
How does Google rank websites? Remember….They Don’t. Google ranks each page separately.
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JUST LOOKING FOR SOME GUIDANCE?
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