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How to Be Number One: Insights into Google’s Ranking System

According to an analysis conducted by Nielsen and GroupM UK, 94 percent of search engine users choose organic search results over sponsored ones. That is a very good explanation for the investments many businesses are making in search engine optimization (SEO).

Whether you do your business’s SEO work yourself of hire an expert to do it for you, Google robots are no dummies, and having a million keywords tagged to your website is simply not enough. That is why I decide to dedicate this post to help you understand what will make your website stand out in the crowd.

While Google has over 200 factors that go into its ranking, a few specific factors are the most influential.

Content quality: Google gives higher ranking to websites that give added value to the user. High-quality content is defined by its information richness and uniqueness.

Media: Content that includes media such as videos and pictures is more likely to be ranked higher than text only.

Localization: Google has a growing interest in localization of content; therefore, including local SEO features such as map data and reviews on your site gets better results. Also, using the Google+ Local listing name, address, and phone number format everywhere online is also important in order to be ranked high in local results.

Social signals: Google’s ranking system is interested in how much social interest your website gets from readers. The amounts of “shares,” “likes,” and “retweets” your content receives affect this ranking factor. “+1s” on Google+ will gain you even greater attention.

Domain age: Search engine robots assume that because the domain has more tenure, it is a more reliable and established business or content source, and so older domains get higher ranking.

Author rank: Author rank is a new tool Google developed to fight spam content on the Internet. Author rank analyzes the credibility and reputation of the author and gives it better positioning in the result page.

Bounce rate: Google measures how long a single user stays on a specific web page and whether he bounces back to the search result after visiting only the landing page. If the user bounces back to search results quickly, the website bounce rate is 100 percent. Sites that are easy to navigate and have interactive and visual elements are likely to be ranked higher.

I hope this post gave you a glimpse into what SEO is beyond keywords.

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