Although Google has billions upon billions of websites and pages listed in their index, there are a few things you need to know about how Google works.
First off, Google only knows of a fraction of the websites on the Internet. It would literally be impossible to search through and properly index every single public page that exists on the Internet today. Hundreds of thousands if not millions of new pages of content are added to the Internet every single day.
Therefore, we know that Google’s spiders only crawl through a fraction of the websites online. Of them, only a fraction get indexed in their search results. It is important to know that every page that’s indexed gets spidered but not every page that gets spidered is indexed. If your website is not spidered, it is impossible for it to be indexed.
Once Google’s spiders crawl a page, a series of calculations and steps are performed, much of which are secret and proprietary to Google. Of these steps, a Pagerank is assigned to each page in which Google calculates its importance on a scale from N/A-10. Once this is done, Google takes a large series of information and factors how it will rank your site in its search engine results. This information includes:
- The content on the page
- The page URL
- Your website’s Pagerank
- Other information found on your domain
- The age and expiration date of your domain
- The IP address your domain resides on
- Which sites link to the page
- Which sites are linked from your page
As an expert in the search engine optimization field, this information is clearly used to determine how your pages are ranked. All of the factors that go into play are unknown, as I have already mentioned, and they are changing regularly. This is one of the tricks that make SEO and search engine marketing a continual learning process.
Every page on your website may not be indexed. For example, if you have a low Google Pagerank and 1,000 pages on your site, chances are that Google will choose not to list some of those pages. If, on the other hand, you have a high Pagerank with 30 pages on your site, more than likely all of your pages will be indexed.
This does not mean that your website should not encompass many pages. Making your website as search engine friendly as possible will help more pages of your site to be indexed and will thus improve your ranking in the search engines. There are a plethora of onsite and offsite techniques that are involved in improving your site’s search engine friendliness. Some of these include:
- Including an XHTML valid sitemap
- Including a robots.txt file
- Having a custom 404 error page
- Fixing any broken or dead links
- Choose a fast host
- Use a dedicated IP address
- Have a 301 redirect in place
- Ensure your site is W3C valid
- Optimize your site to load as fast as possible
- Increase the number of quality backlinks to your site
These are but a few of the steps you should keep in mind. There are, of course, many others and each one of the above steps can be analyzed and broken down themselves.
You want to be as search engine friendly as possible so that the search engine spiders revisit your website often and index more of your pages. By optimizing your images to load faster, writing clean and valid code and utilizing all of the steps outlined above, search engine spiders will not run into any trouble as they scan through your site. Believe it or not, Google also strives to save as much bandwidth as it can. Therefore, the less bandwidth it takes to load the pages of your site, the longer Google’s spiders will stick around.
On the flipside from what Google likes is what it hates. Any effective search engine marketer needs to know not only what helps but also what hurts. Duplicate content, fake Pagerank, cookie stuffing and similar actions will severely hurt your search engine rankings if not get you de-indexed altogether.
Google also hates paid links. As their algorithms change, they are paying more and more attention to how important other people feel your site is. This is done in efforts for Google to show the highest quality results that they can when a user performs a search. The more people that link to and talk about your site, the more important Google feels it is, therefore the spiders will feel that the content on your website is worthwhile to others and will most likely rank it well.
If Google feels that you are paying other website owners to link to your site, they will either not use that link to help your site’s rank or it can even penalize your existing rank. Let’s face it- paid links have always existed and they always will. But, there are preventive measures you can take that will help your paid link not to get red flagged by Google. For instance, avoid paying for links that appear near wording such as “sponsors”, “paid links”, etc.
This is just the tip of the iceberg of what all is involved in search engine marketing and search engine optimization. This is why SEO is such big business. Website owners understand the great value in having high search engine rankings and are willing to pay professionals to assist them in getting it done.
SEO is really a full-time job. Optimizing your site both onsite and off, studying your competition and keeping up with the algorithm changes is no easy or quick task. Properly taking care of all the duties involved can and will take you away from concentrating on your site’s actual content. While it is important for every website owner to learn all they can about SEO, those that allow professional SEO experts to manage even a fraction of their regular search engine techniques often find that they achieve better search engine rankings in a shorter period of time.
For some more information on how Google ranks websites, check out my video Google SEO- Past, Present & Future.
For those of you who may have questions regarding search engine optimization or search engine marketing, you can contact me and I can help you. I provide telephone and email support and tutoring as well as regular onsite and offsite search engine optimization services. For more information on what I offer, you can visit my about me page or contact me using my online form or by calling (321) 283-3900.