How Google Ranks Websites
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How Google Ranks Websites

Posted on 10 August 2022
How Google Ranks Websites

Although it may seem complex, Google’s ranking system is simple. 

It’s based upon a simple thought process; to provide the quickest and most accurate answer to a user's question.

But even if you have the best product or service, you may not be on the first page of Google. Why is that?


How Google decides what goes on the first page

How Google Ranks Websites
(Source: Google's How Search Works)


Put simply, Google crawls websites, analyses what’s on them, and determines the best, most reliable answer or product for a user. 

It determines this using three primary factors.

The three factors to rank websites on search engines

  • Content: The information a user might want to see

  • Website health and technical SEO: Errors, page speed, use of links, device-friendliness (mobiles, desktops, tablets)

  • Trustworthiness and authority: the accuracy of the content and how highly the website is thought of (determined by backlinks, external links, and overall domain authority)


Content: what's on your website

Website Page with Content for SEO
Source: Content Writing Services (Bloomtools)


Content, essentially, is everything that a user can see, read, and watch on your website. This includes things like:

  • Headings

  • Videos

  • Images

  • Written content

  • Spacings/gaps

When Google looks at your content, it considers:

  • Keywords: Does your website content contain the same words that your clients or customers are using? (is it optimised for voice search?)

  • Accuracy and reliability of information: Does your website answer the questions clients are searching for? Would it answer any further questions they might have?

  • Structuring: Is your website structured with appropriate headings and subheadings?

  • Images: Are your images titled and given alt-text to meet web accessibility standards (WCAG)? Are they optimised effectively?

But, you can flood your website with any written information or images, so how does Google know what is true and what isn’t?


Domain authority: how trustworthy your website is

How Domain Authority Ranks on Google
(Tool used to calculate Domain Authority: Moz Browser Extension)


Domain authority summarised, is how trustworthy your website is, and is difficult to explain without using a metaphor or example.

When someone tells you something that you don’t believe or that you want to verify, what do you usually do? You might ask an expert, or look it up, right?

Well, Google kind of does the same thing to verify the information you publish on your website is correct.

Google and other search engines score a website’s domain authority by determining how many other trustworthy sites link to it or reference it (backlinks). Some trusted websites include:

  • Government organisations (‘.gov’)

  • educational institutions (‘.edu’)

  • highly regarded sites with high domain authority (like directories)


Website usability and technical health: how easy is your website to use?

SEO Health and Website Checker
Source: A Bloomtools Website health check using Agency Analytics


Your website health directly affects your rankings on search engines.

That’s because, if your website is full of errors, Google won’t want to share it with users as it would be hard or annoying to use and Google wants to provide the best experiences to them.

Some errors Google considers when ranking websites include:

  • dead links (404 errors), or pages that don’t go anywhere

  • website speed and average load times

  • compatibility with different browsers and devices (mobile, desktop, tablets, chrome, firefox)

You can grade your website for free using Bloomtools Free Website Grader to learn more and its current standings.

There are also a bunch of other paid options to see more, like:


Summary and tips to move forward on Google

Google ranks websites based on providing the fastest, most accurate answers to a user's question.

To optimise your website for search engines:

  • Improve your website content by expanding it and trying to answer questions that your ideal target audience may be asking.

  • Prove your website to be a trustworthy source of information by generating backlinks to your website (you can start with free directories)

  • Analyse your website’s health (speed, usability, and errors) and fix them as they come up.

For help improving these, check out some guides from the Bloomtools blog list where we post steps to improve your website SEO, marketing, and more. You might like to start with our DIY SEO Tips.

We also offer free consultations to businesses looking to progress on Google. Talk to us today by calling (07) 5636 3700, or contact us online.

Tags:Search Engine Optimisation