Although we all find search engines a great resource for information and they offer us the ability to be listed for free, they are in a multibillion dollar industry. The results that the search engines deliver to their users are a reflection of that engine. If a search engine shows a site that has no real information, or the pages don’t load right, or the most of the links are not working; that searcher can make an assumption that this search engine shows poor results. If this determination is made there is a possibility that the user may use another engine; which equates to lost revenue.
The search engines are not biased as to who gets top rankings, but their algorithm helps them to determine which sites fit the mold and which ones don’t. The goal for any site wanting to rank well in the major search engines is to try to fit the mold. In order to fit the mold you need to understand what factors are used to make this determination. When trying to figure this out, keep one thing in mind; the end result is for the search engines to show the most relevant results to a searchers query, provide actual information based on what the searcher is looking for and for the results shown to provide a good user experience once the searcher has left the engine and into your site.
Below are the four major areas the search engines look at when determining where your site will rank.
Optimize Your Site & Server for the Search Engines
1. Server – It is imperative that your server is search engine & visitor friendly. This means that it has a fast response time, your site has a unique ip address, has an impeccable uptime percentage, reverse DNS works correctly, you do not have open DNS, your nameservers resolve correctly and it is overall ready if the search engines sent you a large volume of traffic each day.
Important Note: If your server is slow, or not responding for any reason, this can create a poor user experience. It is less likely they will even consider allowing your site to rank in the top ten for phrases that are important to you. These type of server issues can impact your rankings.
2. Site – The search engines look at your sites structure, all of your pages individually and then as a whole. There are various areas they look at to help ensure a good user experience which includes a custom 404 error page, your robots.txt file, broken links, slow loading pages, duplicate content, and pages with very little content. Remember your site and it’s content can reflect the way users perceive the search engines results. If they allow sites with broken links, slow pages, errors and pages that don’t provide what the user is looking for; there is a chance they may consider going to another search engine to see if they can find what they are looking for.
Important Note: The search engines artificial intelligence as a part of their algorithm to try to determine what the page is about as well as ensure you are using any sneaky attempts to make your site look more relevant than it actually is. The more pages that you have that support what the overall theme is about the more relevant your site will be seen in the search engines.
Someone who has 500 pages dedicated to a subject will likely be seen more relevant than someone with 5 pages dedicated to a subject. This is why it is important to continually add new content that is unique, as well as informative; to your site on a regular basis.