Unfortunately, there’s no simple answer to this question. Google uses a variety of different proprietary methods to determine its search rankings.
Google’s computers are constantly “crawling” the Internet to return accurate search results. Once the data is collected, it’s sorted using a number of different criteria. If your site conforms to the majority of these criteria, your ranking will improve. With thousands of businesses selling similar items, this is an essential way to beat the competition and attract new business.
The details of how Google compiles its rankings are shrouded in mystery, but here are a few of the ways Google prioritizes its search:
Google’s spidering process scans Web pages for keywords and indexes sites accordingly. They use keyword density to determine what keywords to associate with each site.
As the name suggests, keyword density is the ratio of a keyword to the rest of the words on a page. Google looks for keyword density of between 2 and 5 percent. For example, if there are 500 words on a Web page, the keyword in question would need to appear 10 times to achieve a 2 percent keyword density. Words that appear less than 2 percent of the time generally won’t be indexed as keywords.
Page Titles and File Names
Google also looks for keywords and keyword phrases in your page titles and file names. Page titles are the words that appear in the topmost bar of a user’s browser, and file names are the URLs themselves.
Meta tags are keywords or phrases hidden in the header of a Web page. This is invisible to the user of a site, but Google’s spidering software recognizes them and adds them to the index.
Next, Google’s spidering software looks for the quality — and quantity — of links pointing back to a site. Its proprietary PageRank technology counts the number of links pointing to a site, but gives more weight to “important” sites. So a link on microsoft.com, for instance, would count far more than a link on someone’s personal home page.
Google is constantly changing and refining its search technology. Optimization techniques that work today may be useless tomorrow, so stay informed. There are a myriad pages dealing with the wild and woolly world of SEO but there are a few sites and message boards that are of particular value: seochat.com and Search Engine Forums are good places to start. In addition, Search Engine Watch is by far the most reputable resource for information on the world of search engines.