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Positioning on the top page of Google

  1. depends on a combination of the authority of the website and webpage
  2. and the relevance of the webpage for the keyword being searched.

How does a webpage reach the top page of Google?

It is a combination of authority and relevance. Authority is more important than relevance.

Authority

Google places a great deal of emphasis on incoming links from other websites. The value of these links depends on the authority of the page giving the link divided by the number of outgoing links on that page.
Google uses PageRank as the metric of authority. The authority of a webpage competing for a keyword is a combination of the webpage PageRank and the PageRank of the website. The best indication we have of website authority is the HomePage PageRank.

Video explaing the Google algorithm – the program used by Google to determine positioning of webpages ot Google search results pages for keywords.

Relevance

Search engines look for keywords (search terms) in the body of the text and in the underlying coding. Keywords in the Page title are particularly important. Google also looks for synonyms – latent sematic indexing.
Keywords in the anchor text of incoming links also testify as to what others think your webpage is about.

How important is top page positioning on Google?

Google performs about 80% of searches.
About 40% of searchers will click on the webpage in #1 but less than 1% will hit the webpage on #11.