Google announced, “starting today, we’re updating our Top Search Queries feature to make it better match expectations about search engine rankings. The new definition will take the average of the top ranking of your site for all searchers, as opposed to all URLs listed and average that. In the past, they would take all the positions of your rankings and average them together, now they are taking only the top positions.” — Google Changes Definition Of Average Search Ranking Position.
In October, we made Google Webmaster Tools available to all users in Google Analytics, allowing everyone to surface Google search data in new Search Engine Optimization reports. Starting today, Webmaster Tools will update how they calculate data to make it better match expectations about what a search engine ranking really means.
Based on their research, the answer to the question “What is your rank in search results?” is the first position of a link to your site. Previously we reported the average position of all links to your site. Now your Google Analytics reports will be updated to reflect the first position. — Update to Search Engine Optimization reports
Check out the updated Top Search Queries data in the Your site on the web section of Webmaster Tools.
How Search Works
Great video by Matt Cutts explaining How Google Search works. An actual search query has a lifespan of less than 1/2 a second and involves quite a few steps before you see the most relevant results. Here’s how it all works.
Twelve Tips For Improving Your Search Queries Ranking Position
Provide high-quality content on your pages, especially your homepage. If you want people to find your site through the use of keywords, then you will have to think about the words people would type to find your content and include those words on your site. From the readers perspective, keep it natural and use key words or keyword phrases only if they are a natural “fit”. Google will penalize those who resort to keyword stuffing. Refer to:
- Google Rankings is a site you can use to find out what number your site comes up for a search query in the Google listings.
- Free Search Term Suggestion Tool data is compiled and collected from a number of search engines to provide a far more accurate cross section of searches performed world wide.
- Publish fresh content frequently. The more frequently your site is updated, the more regularly it will be spidered.
- Your post headlines are one of the most important things when it comes to getting search engine hits. Keep them key word rich, relevant and as short as possible.
- Using keywords in headings and sub-titles is advisable, provided the text does pertain to the the particular keyword used.
- Search engines put more weight on the earliest words on a page, so if your keywords are near the start of the page title you are more likely to rank well. Potential readers scanning search result pages see the words found at the beginning first, so if your keywords are positioned at the start of your listing your page is more likely to get clicked on.
- Link to relevant resources for your readers and for search engines in your posts. Search engines view the keyword in the anchor text in a link from another site as getting a vote from this site and also for the weight of the specific keyword.You ought to be linking to authoritative posts in your niche and using the correct anchor text in your posts, rather than “click here”.
- Search engines read text. They do not read images, animations, videos, audio, etc. Get the Most Out of Image Search by optimizing images for Google search.
- Consider your site structure and if required improve it.
- Include a Home page link. Readers who come to your site through Google, will not always land on the home page, so you need to provide a link they can use to reach the home page from every other page on your site.
- Link to relevant resources for your readers and for search engines on your site. If a search engine is determining what your site is about, and finds links on your site that are about the same subjects, it’s much more likely to get it right. If your readers are seeking more knowledge then your resource links ought to direct them to it.
- Crawlers read web pages from top to bottom and left to right. Put the blog title and header text on top left and include targeted keywords. Crawlers love content so place it on the left hand side and place the sidebar navigation widgets on the right hand side.
- The Fetch as Googlebot tool lets you see a page as Googlebot sees it. This is particularly useful if you’re troubleshooting a page’s poor performance in search results. You will get an idea if Googlebot is able to see the desired keywords and content before anything else.
- Locate sites with similar content on the same subjects, build relationships and increase backlinking. Having many related sites with similar content linked to yours, will increase the popularity of your site in the search engines, resulting in a higher ranking. But avoid linking to bad neighborhood sites. This tool is intended as a guide to assist webmasters in locating potential problem areas with their linking strategies, it is not intended to dictate who you do or do not link out to.
- Avoid creating 404 pages.
- Broken links imply that you don’t manage your site very much or well. Search engines want to have only the highest quality results, so they may penalize sites with lots of broken links. Maintain and track your links by using a broken link checker periodically to make sure that your links are still valid.