What You Need to Know about Google Algorithms and Ranking Factors
Google Algorithms and Ranking Factors
Is your website showing up on the second, third, or fourth page of Google’s search engine page results? Well, the truth is, only very few people will scroll through the second page of the SERPs. That’s why getting your page showing up on page 1 is so important if you want to attract more clients.
Get Your Law Firm on Page 1 of Google Search Results
How Understanding how Google algorithms and ranking factors work can help boost your website to the top of the results page! Our law firm marketing experts at Advantage Attorney Marketing are here to discuss the basics of this topic and how you can use it to your advantage.
This article will discuss the following topics:
- What are Google algorithms?
- Myths and misconceptions: What aren’t ranking factors?
- What ranking factor should I focus on?
- Where can I get help on ranking?
If you have other questions regarding search engine optimization (SEO), feel free to contact our experienced online marketing experts at Advantage Attorney Marketing.
What is Google’s Algorithms?
Whenever someone looks up something on Google, the algorithms are the ones that determine what results are relevant to that search query. Here’s what happens with each search:
- Google bots and crawlers crawl websites and compile data in the search index database
- Google’s algorithms retrieve data from the search index database
- The algorithm compares the search query to similar queries to determine the search intent
- It matches the search intent to the most relevant content ranked by predefined ranking factors
- It returns the results in an ordered list called a Search Engine Results Page (SERP)
In summary, if Google determines that your page is relevant based on the ranking factors, it puts your site at the top of the SERP. So if you’re wondering how to get more clients, you should consider catering your content to align with these ranking factors, allowing your page to go to the top and receive more visits.
What Aren’t Ranking Factors In Google Searches?
There’s a lot of information out there on what and what not to do to improve your page ranking. However, you probably don’t have the time or knowledge to sift through fact from fantasy.
Below are some factors that do not help your page rank higher, according to authorities from Google:
- Length of content (John Mueller from Google): Size does not matter. Quality does! This myth started on Medium but has no real data to support the claim.
- Misrepresentation (Math Cutts, formerly from Google): The length of page titles and meta descriptions do not affect its SERP ranking. The best practice is to keep them short enough to fit in the space allowed by Google.
- Bounce rate (Gary Illyes, Google Webmaster Trends Analyst): Bounce rate is defined by how many visitors exit your page and do not take action.
- 301 redirects (Matt Cutts, formerly of Google): 301 means that the requested page has been redirected to another URL. These neither help nor harm your Google ranking.
- 404 page not found (Susan Moskwa, Webmaster Trends Analyst): 404 indicates that the requested page was not found.
- AMP (John Mueller from Google): AMP, or Accelerated Mobile Pages, is not a ranking factor, meaning having an improved performance for mobile devices won’t matter in your ranking.
- Author reference (Gary Illyes, Google Webmaster Trends Analyst)
- BBB badge, Super Lawyers, AVVO badges (John Mueller from Google)
- Canonicalization (John Mueller from Google): This is the process of having a standard form to deal with duplicate pages and content.
- Click-through rate (Gary Illyes, Google Webmaster Trends Analyst): CTR is how often an ad receives clicks every time it gets shown.
- Code to Text Ratio (John Mueller from Google): This is how much text a page has
- Crawl Errors (John Mueller from Google): A crawl error occurs when Google tries and fails to reach a page.
- Domain age (John Mueller from Google): How long your domain has existed won’t affect page ranking.
- Domain authority (John Mueller from Google): This is a construct developed by Moz and does not improve your ranking on Google.
- Dwell time (Gary Illyes, Google Webmaster Trends Analyst): Google algorithms don’t care how long a visitor stays on a page.
- E-A-T (Gary Illyes, Google Webmaster Trends Analyst): Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness are not factors that Google cares about
- Google Ads (John Mueller from Google): Running ads with organic SEO won’t affect ranking.
- Google Analytics or Search Console (Matt Cutts, formerly of Google) Using these tools won’t help your page appear on Google.
- Google Search Quality Rating (Ben Gomes, SVP of Education at Google)
- .edu and .gov (John Mueller from Google)
- Keyword density (Matt Cutts, formerly from Google): This is no longer a significant ranking factor. Quality beats keyword stuffing when it comes to SERP ranking.
- Reading level (John Mueller from Google): This won’t help your page rank on Google. However, reading level is vital for overall user experience and may help conversions.
- Schema markup (Gary Illyes, Google Webmaster Trends Analyst)
- Social signals (John Mueller of Google): While social signals are not a ranking factor, social media can be a good traffic source.
- Syndicated content (John Mueller from Google): Syndicated content itself won’t help your page get a higher ranking. However, quality syndicated content may help if it ranks on the receiving website.
- Privacy-protected domains (John Mueller from Google)
- www or non-www (John Mueller from Google): Whether your page is www or not, it won’t affect your page rank.
- XML site maps (Gary Illyes, Google Webmaster Trends Analyst): You can use either XML or HTML site maps, but it’s generally a good idea to have both.
One ranking factor to note for misconceptions is core vitals. While they are ranking factors, they are only used as a tie-breaker between equal sites. However, these virtually have no effect on local attorney sites.
What Google Ranking Factor Should I Focus On?
We’ve been debunking common myths about ranking factors that you may wonder, “So what then IS a ranking factor?” The one ranking factor you should focus on is QUALITY. Google has made it abundantly clear that quality is the most crucial factor when determining page rankings.
That should fix most of your ranking problems if you have quality content. Your competitors know this, so they will probably publish their own quality content. It won’t be easy to produce such content, but it can be done. Take note that you still need to optimize your content (page title, meta description, headings, etc.) and perform internal linking to show Google where the quality content is.
If you want to learn about creating quality, optimized content, you can contact us for a free guide!
Where Can I Get Help on My Google Local Rankings?
You may know the legal side of running a firm, but online marketing is an entirely different beast. Luckily for you, Advantage Attorney Marketing has a team equipped to help your page produce great content that boosts your page rankings. If you’re ready to see your website climb the ranks, call our small law firm marketing to get started!