What is Relevance in Google’s Eyes?

Determining the relevance of content is at the core of the search engines’ attempt to return the best possible information to match a search query. But how does Google determine what is relevant to a search query?

The process starts by looking at the content and the page on which it resides. Much in the way humans determine what a story is about, Google looks at the title of the web page found in the title tag. It is important to make sure your title tags match the content on that page or it will confuse Google right off the bat.

Now they move on to the body of the content. Google used to match exact keyword from the query to the content on the page. If they matched, then Google determined that the content was about the keywords. The new Hummingbird algorithm has changed that and now Google is looking more at what the content is about rather than exact keywords. It is important to write naturally and not to stuff keywords into your content. It is no longer an acceptable practice and you will get dinged for it.

Google places a higher relevance rating on content that resides in a website that has more information on that topic matter. For example, if you have a story about ranking well on the search engines and you are a SEO firm, then Google will view that content as more relevant than if the same story appeared on a small business development site.

Included in the content are other clues. Anchor text links from other content that describe what is on the page the link goes to helps Google figure out what it on that page. And backlinks from third party sites with similar topics helps your content be seen as relevant. For example, if other SEO blogs or sites link to your blog about SEO it helps increase your content’s relevance.

Being seen as relevant to Google and the other search engines requires a holistic approach. It is important to make sure all the cues that they use are coordinated and say the same thing…This content is relevant and should be included at the top of the search results for a specific search query.