Google is king when it comes to web searches. Nearly 84% of web surfers start on Google for their first search. So, it shouldn’t surprise you to know that your website’s position in Google or the Google SERPs (search engine results page) is crucial to your online success.
Just how do you find out some of the key information that impacts your website’s organic placement in Google search results? First, it is important to know that Google has over 150 different factors that it uses to determine the SERP or your organic placement. Some of these factors are the age of your domain name, the number of pages from your website in their index is another, and another is the number of websites linking to yours.
Tips to See Where You Stand
To find out which and how many sites are linking to your website use this in the search query box in Google link:yourURL (ex. link:McCordWeb.com).
To find out who and how many sites are linking to you in Yahoo enter this search query: linkdomain:yourURL (ex. linkdomain:McCordWeb.com).
Microsoft has disabled both of these queries in their search engine recently and so you will not be able to identify results in Live.com or MSN’s searh engine using either of these queries unfortunately.
To find out which pages and how many pages Google has in their index for your website enter site:yourURL in the search query box (ex. site:McCordWeb.com).
Checking your website out this way will at least get you started in evaluating where your website is. I also recommend that you select search phrases as well and every 30 days or so monitor your site placement in the organic results. It is not unusual to see a small fluctuation in position but if you fall completely out of the results a careful review of your website, terms you are using, and tactics that you have tried for placement is definitely in order.
Your PageRank on Google
PageRank is a trademarked term that Google uses to identify organic position factors of a website. It used to be that websites rose and fell on their PageRank, but not so now. Nearly a year ago, Google revealed that the PageRank indicator that it used to show (as a green bar in a graph from 1 to 10 from the Google Toolbar) and that some webmasters used as a measure of Web visibility and authority, was not refreshed on a regular basis. Google is now concealing true PageRank results mainly to cut out manipulation from webmasters. As a result of these developments the webmaster field is widely divided on the importance of PageRank. I for one consider PageRank just one more measure, like a ranking in Alexa – just not something to get spun up on or to hang your hat on as a measure of real importance. In fact, I don’t even monitor PageRank for my own site or for clients at this time as I used to when it really meant something.
Although there are some factors that you can review, there are some that you cannot review, one of those being TrustRank. Google determines the TrustRank for a website based on many different factors. This appears to be a measure that is becoming more meaningful in organic placement and is affected by the age of the domain and the informational content on the website.
If Google leaked out what impacted their SERPs, businesses, in an effort to achieve top placemenet, would work to “scam” the system; which Google hates. What determines real organic page placement on Google is one of their most highly guarded secrets and truly a secret to their success and popularity on the Web in regards to providing the best quality results for a search.
So How Can You Know What Impacts Placement on Google Exactly?
Well, you really can’t unfortunately. I however, have found that by reading Google’s patent disclosures you can get a snap shot of the technology they are actively introducing that will impact their algorithm for search placement. I also follow the blog of Matt Cutts, the voice to my industry from Google. Matt is a search engine algorithm engineer who speaks for Google to professional webmasters and search engine optimization professionals. Although his blog has many mundane posts, periodically Google will use him as a mouthpiece on an important topic or thrust in the search field. Review Matt Cutts blog and see what you think.
Another key way to understand what impacts placement on Google is to be constantly testing new tactics and approaches and to watch to see what others are doing in the industry. I’ve tested a number of tactics and have found some highly workable and others to be highly touted yet ineffective in regards to impacting organic placement. By watching industry forums I also glean trends and tactics that others are trying or find interesting new approaches to test on my own website for further evaluation.
Regardless what anyone tells you, there is simply no silver bullet or special recipe to get placement on Google. Placement is achieved by many factors working together with quality content, search engine friendly web design, and savvy persistance.