Why Knowing Google’s Keyword Hierarchy Can Help You Improve Your Website’s Rankings

When it comes to improving the rankings of a website, SEO is the usual means to do so. Whether you do this internally or employ outside help in the form of an SEO agency, there will be a huge list of possible optimisations that need to be considered and implemented, some of which are a lot easier to achieve than others.

One of the reasons their so much to do is the fact that when Google’s algorithm is calculating where any single website should rank, it assesses numerous ranking factors. There is some argument over how many there are exactly, but the consensus is that it is at least 200 which are known, and speculation that there are several more which only Google is aware of.

Within the array of ranking factors, Google places a different weight or importance on each one than it does others. Near the top will be backlinks and user experience whilst some of the less important ones include domain age and the number of social media followers.

Integral to a lot of the ranking factors Google considers will be keywords. For every search that is entered, Google will apply its algorithm to each one using the ranking factors we have just discussed. As it does so, it will find keywords in different locations within and outwith a website.

A crucial point to understand here is that Google does not treat each location where a keyword is found equally. It has a hierarchy within its algorithm that gives more weight and thus more ranking juice to some locations than it does to others because it believes it is more difficult for website owners to achieve.

What follows is that if you know what Google keyword hierarchy is, you can take steps, where possible, to ensure your keyword appears in the places that Google considers more worthy of ranking. As it happens we just happen to have that hierarchy below in descending order of difficulty and thus descending order of ranking influence.

Domain Name: Obtaining an exact match domain name that includes those same keywords is what Google considers the most difficult and if you have ever spent hours trying to find such as domain name for your website, you will know why.

Backlink Anchor Text: Next, we have the anchor text in external backlinks. This can be difficult as you are relying on the owners of other websites to agree to not only creating the backlinks to your website but also agreeing to use your requested anchor text.

Internal URLs: Third, are the URLs that are created within a website when each new page is created. You have control over this so ensure you optimise these as Google will give credence to them if they include keywords.

Page Titles: At this stage, we are at a place in the hierarchy that Google sees as easier to create and thus they are not as powerful. However, that does mean you should not think carefully about your page titles and optimise them for keywords.

Meta Descriptions: These should be given due consideration, not just for Google’s benefit, but as they appear in search results they could be what influences someone to click on your website link rather than another website.

Content: Finally, we have content that has so much scope for including keywords, we could write an entire chapter on it. Key tips are to be selective with keywords and not stuff content with keywords.