Here is a simple definition for online ranking: popularity.
Some website owners understandably feel frustrated by this definition, and by the whole notion of popularity. After all, who actually decides a website's popularity? In reality, the primary ranker, Google, constantly measures the popularity of websites. This measurement, although varied, is essentially based on two criteria: website traffic and the amount of incoming links to your website from other Internet sources.
The Internet is overcrowded with website ranking resources. Most of these rankings are measurements made by companies that specialize in improving website visibility and success. For example, SEMrush provides its own website rankings based on its own parameters. Many similar companies offer similar ranking services, each providing their own scores based on unique parameters.
You might ask, "What's the point?" Good question. In reality, "website ranking," inevitably means "Google ranking." If a website optimization company or SEO specialist uses the term "website ranking," and promises a "high" website ranking, they are talking about Google ranking, and nothing else. Most SEO professionals do not even pay attention to companies like SEMRush. To an SEO professional, a high SEMRush ranking is not important. A high SEMRush ranking, however fancy, does not necessarily translate to a high Google ranking.
So how exactly does Google rank websites?
Google’s ranking is based, in part, on the amount of traffic your website receives over a three month period. Google gets this information from Alexa, a website that monitors the performance of websites by simply counting the amount of clicks a website receives. For new websites, Alexa reports an average amount of traffic after three months, and Google uses this information to create an appropriate ranking.
In addition to Alexa, as noted above, Google also considers the amount of incoming links to a website from other Internet sources. These links can come from anywhere: blog, forums, personal websites, corporate websites--really, anywhere! Google treats each incoming link as a "vote."
You should be happy about any incoming link to your website. When another website creates a link to your website, they are saying to Google, and the rest of the web, "This is a good website." You might own a good website for many reasons: valuable content, for example, or unique content. In some cases, your content is simply highly relevant to another website's readers.
For more on Google, please read our "Quick Google Lesson."
Now, you've undoubtedly heard the term (mentioned above) "keyword ranking." Some website optimization companies and/or SEO specialists optimize websites for certain keywords. (Please read our post on the difference between optimizing for keywords alone and quality content). But remember, website ranking has nothing to do with website optimization. So what does a high keyword rank mean?
Website optimization is a crucial marketing strategy, and Google will only show well-optimized websites on the first page results. For this reason, when we perform a search, we truly trust Google; we expect to receive the most relevant and valuable information available.
How does Google deliver this information? When you perform a search, Google scours its database to find examples of websites that match your keywords. Let's say all of these websites are well-optimized; all deserve to be on the Google’s first page results. However, there are only twelve available spots per page. So who will occupy the top spots? To deliver the best results, Google compares websites for ranking. Let's say out of thirty well-optimized websites eight have high rankings--only these websites will appear on the first page results. All other websites will be placed on the second and third page results.
This is, in essence, the definition of a high ranking as well as high "keyword" ranking: a website that beats other well-optimized sites because it has received many clicks, or many incoming links, based on a certain keyword or keywords.
At The Organic SEO Blog, we believe knowledge is power. Once you know the difference between website ranking and website optimization no one can manipulate you! If you wish to learn more about Organic Website Optimization, please visit our website: www.stepmanseo.com. Remember: website optimization is a very simple process, but not too easy to accomplish! A true professional can help!