Why Do Search Engines Matter to Every Business?
Since Search Engines are the primary interface between people using the Web and websites, anyone finding your web site through a search engine is a potential customer – because they have decided before finding your website that they need what you’re selling and are looking for you specifically.
Why Does Ranking Matter?Research shows that very few searchers move beyond the first page or two of a search engine’s ‘organic’ or unpaid listings. They strongly believe that the search engine has ranked the results in order of importance and going beyond the first page of listings drastically reduces their chances of finding anything relevant. Therefore, having a top 30 listing is crucial to your business.
How Do I Improve My Ranking?Search Engine Optimization or Positioning is by far the best, smartest and most affordable investment you can make. SEO is the process of improving a website for higher search engine rankings, and is a necessary component of online marketing strategy.
How are Web Pages Ranked?Search engines compile their databases using “spiders” or “robots” (‘bots’) to crawl through the Internet from link to link, identifying and perusing pages. After spiders find pages, they pass them on to another computer program for “indexing.” This program identifies the text, links, and other content in the page and stores it in the search engine database’s files so that the database can be searched by keyword and whatever more advanced approaches are offered, and the page will be found if your search matches its content.
Are There Rules?When indexing they follow a set of rules, known as an algorithm. Exactly how a particular search engine’s algorithm works is a closely-kept trade secret. However, all major search engines follow some general rules:
- One of the main rules in a ranking algorithm involves the location of keywords on a web page. Pages with the search terms appearing in the HTML title tag are often assumed to be more relevant than others to the topic.
- Frequency is the other major factor in how search engines determine relevancy. A search engine will analyse how often keywords appear in relation to other words in a web page. Those with a higher frequency are often deemed more relevant than other web pages.
- Link analysis is another major factor. By analyzing how pages link to each other, a search engine can both determine what a page is about and whether that page is deemed to be “important” and thus deserving of a ranking boost.
Can I Do It Without SEO?There is a pervasive myth among website operators that simply submitting the URL to every search engine or just inserting Meta tags into your Web pages will increase traffic to the website and thus, increase sales. Both are just not true! Meta tags and search engine submission are highly recommended – however, by themselves, these steps will not get you anywhere. Smart Search Engine-friendly copy is the foundation you need to climb up the rankings.
Can I Fool a Search Engine?Not likely. Search engines may penalize pages or exclude them from the index if they detect search engine “spamming.” An example is when a word is repeated too many times on a page – to increase the keyword frequency for higher ranking.
Search engines have plenty of experience with webmasters who try many things on their web pages in an attempt to gain better rankings. Because of this, all major search engines now also make use of “off the page” ranking criteria. These are the factors that a webmaster cannot easily influence.