07 Feb

How Google Ranks Your Website

If you are a real estate agent based in Abuja, for example, can potential buyers find your website with keywords such homes for sale in Abuja, properties for sale in Abuja or house for rent in Abuja?

If you are a local business (accountant, lawyer, plumber, architect, etc.) based in Lagos or Port Harcourt, can potential customers find you by using Google search?

Have you ever wondered why your website is not on the first two or three pages of Googles’s SERP (search engine results page)?

Have you ever queried Google for competitive keywords relating to your website products or services but your website is nowhere in sight but your competitors’ websites?

Statistics show that majority of new website visitors come from search results. When potential buyers are actively searching for your products or services does your website appear on the first two or three pages or does your competition?

Google uses several criteria (called algorithm) to rank websites. Some of the criteria are:

  1. Title tag – The title meta tag is arguably one of the most important factors in ranking websites. Title tag tells visitors what the page is all about. Having your keyword in your title tag will help increase your Google rankings.
  2. Keyword in meta description tag – The importance of the meta description tag today is often discussed in SEO circles. It is nonetheless still a relevancy signal. It is also crucial for gaining user clicks from search results pages. Including the keyword in it makes it more relevant to a search engine and a searcher.
  3. Keyword in H1 tag – H1 tag is yet another relevance factor, serving as a description of the pages content. In spite of an ongoing discussion about its importance, it is still a good practice to include your keyword in a unique H1 tag on a page.
  4. Using keywords in the pages – Using the keyword in the pages you are optimizing your website for can also help your search rankings.
  5. Keyword in page name – Including the keyword in the page name. for example www.mywebaddress.com/abuja-homes-for-sale is also .
  6. Image Optimization – It’s not only text that can be optimized on a page but other media too. Images, for instance, can send the search engine relevancy signals through their alt text, caption, and description for example.
  7. Content Updates – Writing fresh contents is also a determining factor as to how Google ranks your website. Google algorithm prefers freshly updated content. It is wise however to include some strategy to update certain types of content once every 12 months or so.
  8. Outbound links. Linking to authoritative pages sends trust signals to the search engine. Think of it this way, the only reason why you would send a user to another site is if you wanted them to learn more of the subject.
  9. Sitemap – A sitemap helps search engine to index all pages on your site. It is the simplest and most efficient way to tell Google what pages your website includes.
  10. Google Search Console integration. Having your site verified at Google Webmasters Tools is said to help with your sites indexing.
  11. Link popularity – The number of other website linking to your website is one of the most important ranking factors.
  12. Quality of inbound links – The quality of websites linking to your website can also help improve your search engine rankings.
  13. Domain registration age – Google considers domains registered for longer than a year as more trustworthy. A website that was registered less than a month or two will carry less weight than a website that has been registered longer than 1 or 5 years. Google considers domain age as part of its ranking algorithm.
  14. Domain history – If a domain was penalized by Google in the past and you now are the new owner of the domain, this might have a negative effect on your search rankings.
  15. Country TLD extension – Having a domain with a country specific TLD can help your rankings. For example, if your business is based in Nigeria, having a .com.ng domain extension might help your local rankings.

Next: Choosing keywords for your website


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