This article explains the elements of the Google ranking process that are most important for you. However, it is not an exhaustive overview of how Google works – only a handful of people at Google know that.
Google, like other search engines, uses automated software to read, analyze, compare, and rank your web pages. So, you need to know which elements and factors Google cares about, and how important these factors are relative to one another.
As an important concept, it bears repeating: Google uses automated software to analyze your website – not human beings. This means that the visual elements of your website that can be like layout, colors, animations, Flash, and other graphic elements are ignored by Google. The Google search engine is like a blind person reading a braille book – anything graphic, spatial, or visual in nature is simply not seen.
What is ranking?
As previously stated, ranking on a search engine is the listing and relative placement of a web page on a results page (also called a results page) for a certain search query. For example, if you type “house plans” into the Google search field, you will get the following results the ads displayed (10 ads per page by default) that Google
deems most relevant to the search phrase “house plans,” ranked by
ordered by relative importance.
1- To get big SEO results, start small
It may sound simple, but focusing on small, incremental changes to a website’s overall SEO strategy can actually produce noticeable gains over time. The Google My Business website, for example, saw its organic traffic nearly double1, in part because the team implemented a number of fundamental web best practices, such as showing search engines which URLs to index by implementing canonicals.
Of course, correlation does not imply causation, but a number of Google sites have seen strong organic growth after making some of these simple SEO changes.
If you’re struggling to identify some of the issues your site may be facing, the new URL inspection tool in Search Console is a great starting point.
2- Don’t be afraid of change – embrace it!
Search features are constantly evolving to present the most relevant content to users and adapt to changes in user behavior. For example, today over 50% of website traffic comes from mobile devices, and Google Search has quickly adapted to new developments such as AMP and Progressive Web Apps.
It can be easy to feel overwhelmed by these changes, but internally, we’ve found that the more we embrace and experiment with them, the better our SEO results are. For example, last year we focused on fixing errors in Google Search Console, implementing structured data, and adding AMP to the Think with Google site. After fixing a common AMP error on a number of URLs, those impressions increased by 200%. We also found that improving our overall content was able to get us selected more often for featured snippets, resulting in an additional 1,000 impressions per day.
3- Consolidate where possible
It can be tempting to create multiple websites, each containing very similar content, to target different customer profiles or geographical regions. In fact, this is something we did at Google. A recent audit revealed that over the years, we had developed a large number of quasi-duplicate sites based on different campaigns or marketing objectives.
The problem with this approach is twofold: duplicate content is not only confusing for users but also for search engines. Creating one large site instead of several microsites is the best way to encourage organic growth over time.
For example, after this site audit, we decided to overhaul our marketing sites for Google Retail. By cleaning up six old sites, consolidating content, and focusing our energy on one quality site, we doubled the click-through rate for calls to action and increased organic traffic by 64%.2. The lesson here is clear: while on-page performance is important, a successful SEO strategy must take into account your entire web ecosystem.
Applying Google’s SEO strategy to your website
Just like any other company, Google doesn’t always get SEO right, and we’re constantly working to make improvements to our own sites. But by focusing on these three areas, we’ve been able to develop an SEO strategy that’s flexible enough to adapt to new changes, strong enough to produce meaningful results, and adaptable enough to be applicable to any website.