SEO Tip #141: How Are Site: Results Ranked?

If you do a site:website.com on Google, on what basis are the results ranked? Is this the order in which Google gives importance to each and every page in the website? Because most of the time the top listed pages get more search traffic.

Matt Cutts: Great question. In general we don’t promise that site: queries will rank in the exact same order that other pages would rank in. So we do use a few different factors.

We do use some version, roughly, of PageRank but it’s not exactly in PageRank order. We also look a little bit at, for example, maybe how short the URL is and those tend to be URLs at the root page or one directory down. And those tend to be the pages that would attract the most links anyway.

So it’s kind of a combination to sort of try and surface the pages we think are useful either according to PageRank or interesting in terms of being relatively short. So it’s something that’s pretty important or pretty close to your root page.

But I wouldn’t necessarily say that, and it’s not the case, that it’s strictly in PageRank order or anything like that, at least the last time that I checked. So it’s a relatively good proxy of the pages that might be kind of interesting but I wouldn’t treat it as a perfect list.

You can always go through your server logs and figure out which pages are driving the most traffic and sometimes those are going to be deep URLs, for example that might get a very specific link or that rank for some other reason.

Hope that helps.

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About the Author

Andy Johnson

Andy Johnson has been on the Internet since the its dawn(ie his first computer program was recorded on cassette tape) and his first hard drive cost about as much his current MacBook. His first byline was in 1993 for a local newspaper rag he eventually helmed, and his last “real job” was at a computer start up which ended when it ended. Throughout it all he’s freelanced and blogged. Now he is mesmerized by Search Engine Optimization forever trying to “rise to the top” for the right reasons. He’s been married to his wife Julia for as long as he can remember and has two lovely, wonderful children. He looks forward to sharing the latest in the technical best for all the online entrepreneurs.

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