In simple terms, PageRank is Google’s search algorithm, and it is the core technology behind search results. In essence, it is the technology that determines which websites to list on the first page, which to list on the second, third, and so on.
To have a chance of ranking anywhere near the first page in search results, you must have some understanding of PageRank. You don’t have to understand computations, probability distribution, or damping factor, but you do have to understand some simple ranking factors.
Here are the 3 most important factors in determining your Google search ranking:
1. High-Quality Content
It all starts with the content! You have to create and publish quality content, and not just any content, but content that your target audience will find valuable. Most customers are not looking for general knowledge; they’re looking for something specific, so your website content has to meet a particular customer need. How does Google know if your content is high quality? With a low bounce rate (% of visitors which only viewed one of your pages) and higher than average session or page duration are just a few indicators.
One of the most important elements in PageRank’s algorithm is how many high-value websites are linking to your content. For example, if New York Times has a link pointing to your site, then your website’s value/importance will automatically rise in Google’s eyes because New York Times is a respected and trusted source. Having said that, getting your content or business featured in New York Times is not a realistic goal for most, but getting featured in your local newspaper is attainable. This principle doesn’t only apply to publications. For example, try to leverage your business relationships, local groups, or any organization you have a relationship with to get as many high-value backlinks pointing to your websites as possible.
3. User Experience (Desktop and Mobile)
User experience has to be flawless on desktop and mobile. Today, more than 60% of Google searches are performed on mobile devices, and this number will only continue to grow. So if your website doesn’t look great on a mobile device, you will undoubtedly be marked down by Google. For more information on Google’s latest algorithm change.
In addition to having a mobile-friendly website, you have to make sure that there aren’t any issues or errors on your site. Google’s crawlers and algorithms will find them, and more importantly, penalize you.
Here are some common website issues:
- Confusing website architecture and navigation
- Slow loading speed
- Broken links
- Confusing URLs (e.g. www.websitename.com/node13/productid=43)
- Duplicate content
For non-technical users, some of these issues and errors may be hard to identify, so hiring an expert to do a full website audit every few years is recommended.
In summary, there are over 200+ factors which PageRank uses to rank your website, but the three factors we outlined are by far the most important. Therefore, to improve your Google search ranking focus on writing quality content, be proactive and seek backlink opportunities, and make sure your website offers a great user experience for all visitors (mobile and desktop).