Let’s talk about what Google’s own patent says about how they rank sites; how they search; how they determine who is at the top of search rankings; and how it works. I am going to tell you about a little update which Google has done recently to their algorithm and to their search patent.
It pretty much breaks down this way. You can see the chart below and how the pieces are all put together. Again, this is proprietary information, where I am giving you my best guesstimate based on a lot of other people’s best guesstimates. There are a lot of people smarter than I am who have been in the trenches.
Google tells you all the things they do to rank Web sites in their patent. I put a link here, so you can actually go look at Google’s patent for search, if you want to. I have kind of deciphered it down to the Cliff Note’s version. You can imagine with all the Ph.D. eggheads at Google what the patent looks like.
The way it basically breaks down, 25% of the way Google determines value of a search page is based on authority of the host domain. In other words, the Web site has good authority and trust.
A lot of this comes with various things. Are the keywords actually in the domain? This is a biggy. How early on are they are the domain?
How old is the domain? How old is the Web site? How long has it been around?
How long is the domain registered for? This is something nobody ever really thinks about. How long have you registered the domain for? Most people only register domains for a year. If you register a domain for five years, evidence shows that Google likes this better.
Here is a big secret for you. Google is actually a domain name registrar like GoDaddy.com or Dotster.com or any of the other domain registrars. Here is the big thing though: Google does not sell domain names.
Why do they spend $100,000 to become a domain registrar? They only spent that money so they can go back in the search results, look up your Web site, and see how long it has been active. They are privy to that information now.
They can look it up, tell how long you have had it, tell to whom it is registered, tell where it is hosted, and they can do it all through their back end as a registrar. They spent a lot of money for that, and you can be sure that they absolutely do use that registrar status to help determine trust.
By the way, going back to the 40% on the domain name, the total amount of links going to the domain is a big deal. They are going to look at all of the links coming into your site or to the domain completely. That is the reason mega sites like Amazon and Yahoo which have millions of inbound links can put up a story with no links to it and boom! It goes to the top of the search engines. They have a lot of inbound links which give them authority and trust to the domains. Does that make sense?
Approximately 23% is link popularity of a specific page. This is inbound links to the specific page for which you want to rank. In other words, these are inbound links that go directly to the page you want to rank for and it is about 23% of the overall score.
If you are paying attention to this, you can already see that if you have a site that has almost no backlinks to the domain but a bunch of backlinks to the page, you are still going to be under the gun. You will not have the best result. If I have more domain authority than you do, it takes me far fewer links to push my page to the top of the search engine.
Again, 23% is actually links going back to the page.
The next roughly 20% is something called anchor text links. When these links came into your Web site, they were actually in the body of some text somewhere. There was an underlined phrase.
Let’s say we are doing a site on dog training. If enough links that are underlined with the words “dog training” (called hyperlinks) link from other sites into ours, it is more powerful than just having a link on that site going to our Web site. It is a link that is telling Google what the link is about, what it is for, and where they are sending people.
I will give you a funny example of this. A few years ago, there were blog bombs. Bloggers found out that if they linked enough words like this, they could go to a site that was totally irrelevant and it would rank very highly.
I do not know if it is still the case or not (I can look it up and see), but for a while if you typed “big fat idiot” into Google, the number one result was RushLimbaugh.com. It shows you the power of hyperlinks.
The Rush Limbaugh site did not say anything at all about big, fat idiot. It was not titled “Big, Fat Idiot” and it did not have any articles called “Big, Fat Idiot.” However, it had enough hyperlinks going back that came from the term “big, fat idiot” to rank it number one at Google.
I think “incompetent moron” was the number one listing during the Bush administration for WhiteHouse.gov. I am sure there is one now for the Obama administration and only God knows what it is.
The bloggers have learned over time that if they put enough anchor text links back to something, they can show Google that it is relevant for that particular term.
This makes up about 20% of the search.
The next thing that makes up about 15% of search is keyword usage. People believe that this means the amount of times the keyword or the keyword phrase is used on the page. Everyone assumes that this is what it means, but it does not mean exactly that. It means that Google looks at a page and asks, “Is this page about what it is titled about? Is it about what it says it is about?”
For a while you could fool the search engines. For instance, if you were selling dog training, you could have a Web site that said, “Hi, welcome to my site on dog training. This is the best dog training site in the whole world. If you like dog training, my dog training site beats all other dog training sites. Dog training is awesome. Dog training is great. You need to learn more about dog training.”
This would actually make you popular for those pages with search engines like Google and Yahoo because the page looked relevant.
Now Google has a limit or a range they are looking for on a page. We will talk about that range more as we get in depth, but it runs between 2% and 4% of the page should be about the main term you are talking about, the main thing you want SEO for.
Here is the deeper lying voodoo of on-page keyword relevance. Google now is looking for other words that associate with dog training to be on that page. The sentences I gave you before were rather nonsensical. They did not make sense and you would not talk to somebody that way.
If you were really talking about dog training, you might talk about collars, harnesses, agility, or other things that have to do with dog training. You might talk about breeds of dogs like collies or Corgis or Irish Setters. You may talk about other things that relate to dogs, to dog training, to potty training, outdoor mats; it could be anything.
Google will be looking for the words which they know through their database are most associated with dog training. If you do not have those words on your site, they are going to look at your page and go, “This is a fake. This is somebody trying to scam us and tell us their site is about dog training, but they do not use any other dog training vocabulary anywhere on the page.” Vocabulary is a really big deal.