In our last article “How Search Engines Work” we ended with the words “This means no links and no links means no rankings and no rankings means no traffic.” In this article we’ll unpick that because many people find it confusing.
How does Google Decide?
From the previous piece we know there are over 60 trillion pages on the web and growing. This is nicely illustrated when you carry out a Google search as the results page usually says something like About 1,500,000 results (wedding cake suppliers) or About 98,400,000 results (web design company). The thing is, page 1 only has 10 organic results so how does Google decide which of the 98m results, in the case of the search web design company, to show at the top.
In a nutshell it puts the most authoritative or popular pages at the top, and it measures popularity by analysing the number and quality of the links to the pages it needs to rank.
So, to keep things simple let’s assume for a particular search there are just 10 results – it sometimes happens. That is to say 10 pages that all contain the search phrase the person used in the Google search box.
If one of the 10 pages is cited and linked to by many other pages on the web it will give Google a signal that, all other things being equal, that page is the most important and it will be positioned at 1.
Your Website Matters
If none of the pages have any links, which is often the case, Google will analyse the general authority or popularity of the entire website the page is part of. For example, if you carry out a product search you’ll often see an Amazon page at number 1. If that page was analysed it’s likely it would not have any links or popularity but because Amazon has huge popularity that filters down to all of the pages on its site.
Confusing isn’t it.
Provide Useful Content
So what does this mean in practical terms? It means that a page on your website that simply tells people what you do or perhaps sells something might struggle to get links to give it authority but, content on your site that helps or educates might get links leading to domain wide authority. This will help your selling pages to rank.
Many of you will be familiar with BNI and their givers gain motto, if you think about your website in the same way you won’t go far wrong.
You can read more about content and links on our blog.
Julie Mitchell-Mehta is a Chartered Marketer at Red Evolution, an Aberdeen based Inbound Marketing Agency that uses marketing, design, development, content and SEO skills to help businesses thrive online.