Relevancy is always more important than any other factor in ranking. We tend to leave this out of our thoughts even though we can use simple ideas to improve our rankings by simply acknowledging that relevancy is more important than links.Links are an indication of relevancy, links are not relevancy itself. There are many factors that Google uses to determine relevancy.
Links aren’t that big of a slice of the relevancy pie.
PageRank is playing a smaller and smaller role in ranking. To be more precise, PageRank is staying the same, but other factors are becoming larger. Let’s do a visual here in what Google uses to determine ranking.
In the beginning links were God. PageRank ruled supreme…
When determining how a site ranked, Google used PageRank much more than other factors to determine ranking. Then reciprocal links started going crazy, links were king so we got more links. Google made some adjustments didn’t they? Overnight links were not supreme, Quality, relevant links were supreme. Adding quality as a factor and relevancy as a factor added new depth into the ranking of websites. In other words…
Google added “other stuff” to the equation. Even though PageRank was a large part of the ranking algorithm, other factors like relevancy and “quality” gained importance. We tend to think that “quality” means lots of links or a high PageRank, but it isn’t really true. If you don’t believe me, start a reciprocal link site, see how successful it will be
Okay, time marched by and “trust” became a factor, and so did search behavior, and other factors started getting really big…
Other factors started to get bigger and bigger, and you can see the trend.
You may wonder what will happen when “other stuff” becomes a larger factor than PageRank (links) but the thing you should realize is this.
Other factors have for years been more important than RageRank (links).
Here are three well known situations where “other factors” are more important to Google ranking than links or PageRank:
1) Google by Countries
When a search is made in any country, let’s use Google.es (Spains’ Google) for example, geography and language are larger ranking factors than PageRank or the amount of links. You may be already saying to yourself that even though geography and language are important in those searches, the results are still listed in order of PageRank/link strength. Okay, perhaps they are, but bear with me for a moment, we are headed towards a concept…
2) Google Universal Results
A video with five links to it can and does regularly rank above websites with tens of thousands of links. This means media type and search behavior are more important factors for ranking than PageRank or links are.
3) Local Search
In a local type search, you don’t even need a website for your business to “outrank” other websites that have tens of thousands of links to them via “onebox” results.
The above examples illustrate where “other factors” beat the poop out of PageRank. Factors like geography, language, type of media (video), and search behavior determine where you rank and when you rank.
What I have always called “spanking my relevancy” is a simple thing. Pay attention to what factors will most likely illustrate relevancy to Google. It is different for different things but to give you an example…
One time, in band camp
Searching for “One time in band camp” in Google results in several webpages about American Pie (the movie where the quote is from). If you think about it, that represents something.
There is a relationship there between “American Pie” and “One time in band camp”. One way to be relevant to “American Pie” would be to be relevant to “One time in band camp”. It is easier to rank for “one time in band camp” than it is to rank for “American Pie”.
You may not get tons of traffic by ranking for “One time in band camp”, but what you do get is relevancy.
If you think about it there are lots of these types of “relevancy relationships around the web. We just discussed quotes and movies, but expand your mind a little and think about where you can use indications of relevancy to help Google determine your ranking.
How to open beer with a lighter
Searching Google for “How to open beer with a lighter” results in this…
My drunken video of “How to open a beer with a lighter” is the number one result for the above query. It doesn’t really have any links to it though.
I think that Google knows a couple things here. Google knows that when users conduct a search that begins with “How to”, that the user often clicks on video results. Because of this knowledge it will provide video results. In other words, “search behavior” and “media type” are important factors for ranking, much more than links are.