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The 2016 Guide to the Google Algorithm Ranking Factors by Evan Bailyn

The 2016 Guide to the Google Algorithm Ranking Factors by Evan Bailyn

Evan Bailyn.pngAre you looking for helpful Search Engine Optimization tips to improve your small business' bottom line? Evan Bailyn, our webinar speaker and best-selling author of Outsmarting Google and SEO Made Easy, will walk you through the new opportunities available in 2016 for using SEO to help increase your bottom line in a secure and ethical way.

 

The 2016 Guide to the Google Algorithm Ranking Factors

 

A Guest Article by Evan Bailyn

 

Google’s algorithm has undergone dozens of significant changes since the search engine debuted in 1998. And yet, the main factors that cause a website to rank are largely the same today, on the cusp of 2016, as they were back then: namely, links, original content, and meta page titles. The vast majority of the updates to Google’s algorithm over the years have been in the service of thwarting low-quality SEO tactics in order to bring sites that genuinely have these 3 factors to the top of the results. But these aren’t the only criteria Google uses. In this guide, I dissect the algorithm, listing each factor in order of its importance.

 

But first, some context.

 

The thing that truly made Google special, differentiating it from the other search engines that existed in the 1990s such as HotBot, Altavista, Webcrawler, and Lycos, was that its algorithm was based on factors that were outside of a website owner’s control. The other search engines’ algorithms were based on the number of times a given keyword was written on a website. If a lawyer, for instance, wrote “personal injury lawyer san diego” a thousand times on his website, he would quickly rank at the top of the search engines for that keyword. Google’s algorithm, in contrast, was based on the number and quality of references to your website that appeared on other websites. (References which, when clicked, bring you to another website, are called “links”.) And so, no matter how many times you wrote a keyword on your website, you couldn’t rank on Google unless other webmasters deemed your site interesting enough to reference it.

 

Google’s algorithm was no small innovation in the world of search engines; in fact, it was nothing short of revolutionary. Whereas the algorithm of the other search engines was equivalent to an election where the candidate who makes the most promises wins, Google’s algorithm was equivalent to a democracy, where the candidate who receives the most votes from the populace wins. Getting “elected” to the top of Google’s search results can only occur when your site has earned credibility in other people’s eyes. That’s the genius of Google’s algorithm.

 

While links remain the most important ranking factor for the Google search engine in 2016, there are many other factors which, when considered in aggregate, make up an important slice of the algorithm. Here is the breakdown of Google’s algorithm based on my analysis of 116 websites, ranging from brand new websites to some of the largest sites on the Internet, over the past year.

 

pie-chart.jpg

  1. Links: 29%
  2. Regular production of original “thought leadership” content: 23%
  3. Keyword-rich meta page title tags: 8%
  4. Mobile & tablet responsiveness: 8%
  5. Existence of conversion-optimized landing pages: 8%
  6. Clean code: 6%
  7. Site speed: 5%
  8. Social signals: 4%
  9. Age of site 4%
  10. Keywords listed on page: 2%
  11. Keywords in URLs: 2%
  12. Keywords in meta description tags: 1%

To learn more about Evan’s SEO recommendations for your small business, please visit Evan’s blog.

 

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Contact the editor: tumara.r.jordan@verizon.com

About the Authors

Tumara Jordan

Senior Manager: Verizon Business Markets

Photo of Tumara Jordan

Tumara is a contributor to the Business Markets Marketing team and she currently manages Social Media marketing campaigns.


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