Two recent experiences with my personal website davidmeiselman.com have given me some anecdotal evidence of how Google uses a couple of factors in driving its ranking algorithm:
1. how often people click on a link to your site in the search results
2. having a Google Plus profile associated with your site.
I have had this site now for a number of years, both as a platform to share my professional expertise and to try to “own your own brand” and have a greater share of the top google search results for my own name (you can’t come across as knowing much about SEO if you don’t appear prominently in results when someone Googles your name…). But paying some level of attention to how I rank for my own name has also given me some insights into Google’s ranking algorithm.
The first thing I noticed a few months ago was that I was getting a good chunk of visits to my site coming in through my resume page. Many of those visits were being driven by search queries for people with resumes like mine. Clearly I was showing up high enough in those searches to get some clicks. I also noticed that when googling my name, that my resume page was the second page from my site to show up in the SERPs. Given this level of “success” (I still get very low site visitation in the grand scheme of things so it’s all relative…), I figured I must have gotten some links to the page from somewhere that was helping the authority of the page and helping it to rank. So, I checked my inbound links to that page and found…nothing! So why then was the resume page ranking higher than other pages that actually had an inbound link or two? the only answer I could come up with was that this page was appearing more in search results and getting more click-throughs from those results than any other on my site.
The second thing I noticed happened when Google+ launched this summer. I haven’t been updating this blog in quite some time (I have pledged to remedy this, hence this and forthcoming posts) but I noticed a distinct change in my ranking once I joined G+ with my Google profile. Just prior to this, my site had actually slipped to #2 in the SERPs for my name - due I assume to the aforementioned inactivity. Literally the day after I joined G+, with no other changes or activity on the site, I reclaimed the top spot in the SERPs…It’s important to note that my google profile already linked to my site, but it was my activity in G+ under that profile which drove the impact to the SERPs.
Now none of this is a remarkable discovery or something that top seo people haven’t already written about. But it was really interesting to see the evidence of these factors impacting my own site’s rankings. As I pick up my blogging again and have new fresh content (that will be shared via social channels) it will be interesting to watch how my site’s appearance in my personal branded SERPs changes… I will write a follow up post when that happens.