How Search Engines Rank Pages
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the improvement of your online presence so that your web pages are more likely to be found by users that are searching for terms that closely relate to your business, organization, products, services, cause, etc. It is providing good information and presenting it in a way that the search engines find easy to index and categorize and then making this information as relevant as possible so that Google, Yahoo, Bing! and the other search engines have more confidence in your information and will place it at the top of their search engine results.
Search engines rely almost completely upon mathematical formulas to process the billions of pages on the web. It is the only way they can properly index this overwhelming amount of information. This being said, behind this math are intentions based upon twenty years of experience in assigning value to all of the details that go into SERP’s. What this means is even though a numerical value is given to a particular element online, there was thought put into how much weight that one item carries.
Those of us in the industry spend a great deal of time in researching and testing what works and and what can cause harm when it comes to these algorithms. Since the search engines do not provide the details of how the algorithms work, an entire industry designated as SEO was born to try and figure it out. It may sound like an odd situation. Why wouldn’t Google and the others want everyone to know the best way to have their website rank on their result pages?
3 Keys For A Successful SEO Strategy
Your website is the most effective source of information for search engines to know about your business. Google and the other search engines don’t know if your website is good looking and modern or ugly with an outdated design. The only thing they can do is read the content and index it. Since this is what they want, we give them plenty to read.
The thing to keep in mind is that search engines care little that you are a small business, a non profit or an individual talking about their hobby. That is unless they believe that is the intent of the end user conducting the search. Google is trying to do one thing, match the most relevant pages to the search query.
When creating pages for your site, keep this foremost in your mind and develop search engine friendly information based upon keyword research that is also easy to read and engaging for the reader. This way the search engines will prefer your website and the consumer will take action in the form of calling, submitting a contact form, placing an order online or whatever is most important to your business goals.
Since the content on your website is the primary focus for search engines, it is important to invest the time into research and the creation of unique, well written service/product pages. In addition to that you need to pay a great deal of attention to small, but important details on your site.
Google checks your website for other smaller pieces of information too. For years search engines have been recommending best practices to SEO professionals regarding how they index the information from websites and what we in our industry can do to help improve this process and thereby improve the search engine results.
- Title Tags
- Internal Linking
- Alt Tags
- …and many more
These details have a significant impact on the strategies implemented on your website.
Offsite Website Optimization
The second half of your overall strategy has more to do with everything that occurs on the web that is not a part of your website. Once Google knows about your website, reads the content and indexes it, it now needs a reason to put it higher in the rankings. To do this, it relies on metrics that indicate this is relevant information.
- Are other websites linking to these pages?
- If it is a physical location, is it being listed elsewhere on the internet?
- Are there social media outlets referring to this business?
Search Engine algorithms are mathematical formulas that attempts to reconcile and match over one billion indexed websites to trillions of searches that are performed each year. A monumental task by any way you look at it. Search engines do not know if the information you are providing is good or relevant. It can only match the content on your site to searches performed. It relies a great deal on the offsite optimization to know if the information is useful.