Sellr Blog

How Google Ranks Websites

By Simon  |  9 Jan 2018 08:00:00

If there is only one piece of information you read this year - make sure it's this one.

A ground-breaking piece of research by has revealed exactly how websites are ranked by Google.

The findings from SemRush are shown in the infographic below.


How Google Ranks Web Pages

So what does this all mean?

1. The most important factor is - how much traffic is going to your site. If your site is popular then Google will list it higher. If it is less popular then it will be further down the list. This is really important as this emphasises the point that Google's job is not to make sites popular, it is simply to show popular sites which is a big difference to marketeers.

For example, if you run a huge TV advert for your business which is watched by millions, your ranking would improve as more people visit your site.

2. Time on your site, pages per session and bounce rate are also far more important than many website owners realise. The answer to this is content. You will read a lot about SEO experts and digital marketeers saying that sites should be interesting and have fresh content, and this is how Google is measuring this. It's not reading the content and deciding if it's interesting or fresh, it's looking at the people visiting the site whose behavior is showing Google how interesting and relevant the site is. In essence they are using the human brain rather than a computer algorithm to determine the quality of the site, which is far more accurate.

3. Next it's backlinks, these are links on other websites pointing to your website - which has long been known to be a major factor in ranking. It's also the first entry in the list which will actually bring more traffic to your site, which in many ways raises its importance. The measure of pages per session and time on site is not so important if no-one is visiting.

4. Content length is shown to also be a metric. If you are selling items on a website, it's a good idea to have a proper amount of content describing the item(s) you are selling on the item pages. Just having an item code and item name will not keep people on the site and so will affect ranking.

5,. Https - SSL is shown to be more important than some may have expected. This isn't surprising though as it takes effort to add SSL to a website, and Google will want to reward sites which have made an effort as it identifies the site as more important than sites where this may not be the case where perhaps the owner is not willing to invest money or effort in their site.

6. Finally it's all the parts of the page which you are in total control of. The content, the meta tags and keyword distribution. These may be at the bottom, however these all need to be in place for the more important metrics to take effect. For example a page which has interesting content and relevant keywords is likely to be of more interest to visitors and therefore increase the higher ranking signals.

In summary - Google is using people to decide where your website will be ranked which is really what we should expect. It shows that to increase ranking on Google, website owners should firstly make sure that the content on the site is rich and interesting, but then should consider using all forms of marketing at their disposal to drive traffic to the site. This might be traditional marketing methods such as print or broadcast advertising, social media, guerilla marketing and anything else the website owner is able to engage. This will drive more people to the site and ultimately reward them with higher ranking, higher profits and more satisfied website visitors.

For more on SemRush - see

At Sellr we want you to rank higher and sell more items on your site. The Sellr system is full of tools to help you create content and measure your SEO. Come and join us and we'll help you to increase sales on your site and show you what you need to be doing to increase sales and profits.

If you want someone to simply take care of all of this for you we offer content production services, social media management, PPC (Google Adwords) Management, blog posting and lots more.

If you would like to have a chat to someone who can help you with your site and your online marketing, call us now on 01225 422200


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