What It Means to Be "Eligible to Rank on Google"

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chart showing the percent of traffic earned on google by ranking positionEverybody wants their website to rank #1 on Google. Who can blame them? Google commands 65-85% of the search market, depending on who you ask and what they measure. According to Chitika, a Westborough, MA online advertising agency, the top 10 “eligible to rank on Google” pages earn 92 percent of the traffic for a given search term. The top 3 earn 62.

The first thing you need to know is that pages rank, not websites. That means there’s a lot more competition than you might have first thought.

According to factshunt.com, there were roughly 510 million “live” websites and 14.3 trillion “live” webpages on the net in 2013, and it continues to grow at a mind-boggling rate. “Every second millions of bytes [characters] are added all over the world.”

What It Takes To Be Eligible

So what does it take to rank on page 1 of Google?

Above all else, SEO is a competition. If you want to rank well on Google, you’re going to have to do as well as or out-do your competition.

But first, you gotta be eligible to rank. And by that I mean, your page and its content has to satisfy three criteria.

  • Google has to know about and be able to find your website and the specific content you want ranked.
  • It has divide that content into its grammatical parts and identify how the parts relate to one another.
  • It has to accurately inventory / keep a record of its findings. 
  • And lastly, the content you want ranked has to include / match the words in a search query.

An example helps.

If I type “eligible to rank on Google” into Google’s search engine, here’s what I see displayed as results.

screen grab showing 1,560,000 pages in Google's index all contain the words "eligible to rank on Google"
1,560,000 pages in Google’s index all contain the words “eligible to rank on Google”

It’s a bit hard to read, but Google is telling me that, as of today’s date, it has found and indexed approximately 1,560,000 pages that all contain the words “eligible to rank on Google”. That means, if I want this specific article to rank well, I’m going to have to include those words in this post and out-rank 1.56 million other pages.

Being Eligible To Rank on Google Is Not Enough

And if that doesn’t depress you enough, being qualified, by itself, isn’t enough to get you to the top of Google’s search results.

Having the words people are searching for in your content is only one of several hundred factors Google takes into consideration when ranking web pages. Unless you’re in a really tight niche with little or no competition, it won’t be enough. You’ll also have to convince Google that your site and content is popular and/or authoritative. I’ve explained what that means in a separate post.

Meantime, if this post was helpful, please bookmark or share it. If it raised more questions, let me know in the comments below and I’ll do my best to answer them.

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