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What pages does Google consider most important

 1:41 pm on Oct 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

I've started working on optimizing internal linking on my website and I seek for better ways to find out what pages on my website are deemed the most strong in the eyes of Google.

What I do is type in the search bar the following:


and then check the results. My logic is that Google shows the strongest pages first, but I am not sure whether it's right.

So my questions are as follows:
1. Whether my technique can be considered right
2. Are there any other ways to find out what pages are the most important in the eyes of Google?

I want to use this technique to find out what pages should be less linked to internally if I want to diminish their importance (if those are the pages I don't need to rank well) and what pages should be linked to more.



 2:18 pm on Oct 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

I don't think you're going about it the right way. Which pages are most important to your users?


 2:45 pm on Oct 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

I know what pages the most important to my users, the problem is, I don't know which pages Google itself considers important.

The task is to align what I consider important with what Google does.

If I find out that for some reason Google thinks that the "About" page is the most important on my website, I should do something about it, cause I think the most important page would be the one that has the product description on it.


 3:03 pm on Oct 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

I don't think that will help you at all, and in fact may hurt you as Google is much better at figuring out manipulation (which is what you're looking at, frankly) But good luck to you.


 4:34 pm on Oct 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

I think you had a typo in your original post, I went ahead and fixed it for you.

What I do is type in the search bar the following:


and then check the results. My logic is that Google knows that 99% of site: searches are done by SEOs trying to manipulate their rankings so Google doesn't show really useful information

Seriously, I would focus more on relevancy and less on importance. Google wants to show the most relevant & useful results not the most important results. This is one reason why PageRank does not correlate as well with rankings as it used to years ago. Google is trying to find the best answer for the user. Find out what users want, give it to them, Google will notice the users being satisfied by your site and reward you.


 9:29 am on Oct 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

site:mysite.com shows shortest pages fistly, then goes sub, sub-sub etc.. If links are same length, then shows more popular page.

You can try to update downdrill pages. Second page where visitor clicks after the landing page.


 12:46 pm on Oct 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

site:mysite.com shows shortest pages fistly, then goes sub, sub-sub etc.. If links are same length, then shows more popular page.

You're looking in the right direction, but drawing the wrong conclusion. The 'length' of the URL, by which I assume you mean to say the depth within the site (e.g. /category/widget/reviews is 'longer', i.e. deeper, than /category/widget), is, I think, only relevant in the sense that within the site structure a sub-page will likely be linked to less often than, say, a category page. I think the navigation structure is probably of most influence on rankings of results in site: searches. Probably PageRank?

It doesn't really make sense for Google to put as much algorithmic effort into ranking results for site: searches as they do for regular searches, so I don't there's a point in trying to find a strategy there. Your internal linking structure should reflect the goals that most of your users have.


 10:07 pm on Oct 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

For comparison purposes I did a site: search on my personal domain-- with search field itself left blank-- to see what comes up. There are 8 main directories. (Actually more, but only 8 are linked and indexed.) Result:

#1 is www.example.com/ This has to be an artifact of the site: search process, as I'm not a front-driven site and nobody ever goes to the front page. Until a couple years ago I didn't even have a front page.

We then proceed to

Still not significant pages-- I did say I'm not front-driven, but you thought I was exaggerating-- but in recent months the googlebot has been crawling these two index pages at almost bing-like rates. And they do lead to most pages that humans actually visit.

Followed by:

But then:

skipping over /dir8/ itself. /subdir1/ has been getting a lot of traffic recently (I suspect one of the English universities is teaching a course on its subject). Nobody ever goes to /subdir2/, but structurally it's almost identical to /subdir1/.

/dir8/ in its own right doesn't show up until much further, after most subdirectories of /dir4/.

Interesting detail here. The directory I'm calling /dir4/ currently leads on to 15 pages, of which 13 are /subdir/ index pages. One of those 13 is a terminal page, with content. This is the only one that doesn't float to the top in a site: search. The other 12 are gallery-type pages that lead on to individual content pages. The remaining 2 are galleries that look exactly like the 12 /subdir/ pages to humans; only a search engine-- or a human who looks at their browser's address bar-- can see that they're structurally different.

A final quirk is that about half of those /subdir/ pages lead only to noindexed pages. The site: search doesn't seem to care; the /subdir/ pages are listed in more-or-less random order.

At the higher level, only /dir3/ is a content page. The others are all indexes. (I don't here mean auto-generated index, but a page whose primary purpose is to link to everything else in the directory. So not much content.) In a site: search, this fact is enough to outweigh all but the superattractions of /dir1/ and /dir2/ -- the exact opposite of the behavior I see in the subdirectories of /dir4/.

Tentative conclusion: A site: search is more interested in structure than in content.


 9:03 pm on Oct 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

A 'site:' search definitely DOES NOT show the most popular pages from your site. The most extreme example I can find from one site I look after is one where an 'evergreen' discussion gets slightly less, the same, or more visits than the site's homepage every month and has done so for 18 months - and is still not in the top 100 results (I stopped after ten pages) for a 'site:' search. The page in question is two clicks away from the home page.

[edited by: FranticFish at 9:14 pm (utc) on Oct 30, 2013]


 9:10 pm on Oct 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

When considering how to interlink, think of the user. If they would benefit from a link from one page to another then add it. Check your Analytics to see if the link gets used.

Recent example: a blog post on a particular topic proved popular, but was about to move into the blog archive as it was replaced by new content. I was worried about how Google might then perceive it in the site due to this. I looked through the site to find pages where it might make useful further reading, and updated those pages to reference the blog post. The month after I've done this the post is ranking as well as ever and has had more eyes on it throughout the site, increasing site 'stickiness' and increasing views of this page by 1/3.

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