Ranking Factors

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Search Engine Optimization is all the rage today and it seems that every marketing firm and marketing department attempts to do some justice to “search engine optimizing” websites. A lot has happened in the background since the advent of Yahoo Search in 1995 to speed up search engine processing time, to understand search queries and to improve the user experience on the internet.

The purpose of this article is to briefly discuss the purpose of search engine optimization and six factors search engines use when evaluating your website and determining where it should rank.

The Quick Explanation of Search Engine Optimization

SEO is the optimization of your website to meet Search Engine standards and to be the best answer for relevant searches. What many website developers fail to understand is that there is much more to a website’s success than simply “looking good”.

Remember that the Search Engines are not humans and cannot actually see your website as a visitor would. In order to account for this the Search Engines use between 200 and 300 different factors or rules in their algorithm to try to predict how a visitor will react to the website. The more factors your site meets the better its visibility in search results. How you rank is a cumulative score of these factors; the more SEO factors you address the better your website will rank.

When a person sits at their computer, phone or tablet and types in a question or search, the Search Engines rely on its algorithm to determine the website or webpages that best answer the query.

So what are some of the factors that determine the websites with the “best answer” to the search?

#1 – Fast loading website pages

Search Engines know that people are impatient and do not want to wait more than a couple seconds for a website page to load. Websites with slow loading pages are usually abandoned in search of a faster and better website. Search Engines know this and display the fast websites first.

#2 – Viewable on all types of devices

A website’s content and images must be viewable over multiple devices including desktops, tablets and mobile phones. Again, the Search Engines know that people are browsing the web from various types of devices and expect a website to perform well based on the type of device it is viewed on. Are your images displaying too large on a small mobile screen, is your text too small to read on a mobile phone or is your navigation “finger friendly”?

#3 – Images supported by alt tags and content

Unfortunately, a picture isn’t worth a thousand words to a Search Engine as Search Engines can’t visually see and interpret a picture as we humans can. Search Engines look for other factors such as image alt tags and additional content on the webpage as clues to the picture. A website needs to find a good balance between images used to evoke emotion with a visitor and content used to support the image with the Search Engines.

#4 – Clear purpose and value offer

A recent study by Dianna Huff and KoMarketing  found that 83% of buyers are annoyed by lack of message on a website. Search Engines are equally put off by no clear message or branding on a website. The Search Engines want to know exactly what it is you offer visitors and why it is more valuable than what other websites may offer. Learn more about measuring your Mobile Website Usability.

#5 – Physical location of your business and hosting

The Search Engines recognize that for many search queries a locally based website provides the best results. This why the Search Engines include your business address and where your website is hosted as SEO factors.  These factors reinforce your commitment to your service area.

# 6 – Proper technical website architecture

Because the Search Engines have to crawl your website before they can evaluate and rank it, it makes sense that several SEO factors have to do with how easy it is to access and evaluate a website. These factors include valid and clean HTML code and proper HTTP response codes. An SEO Site Audit will help you assess the backend of your website and if the Search Engines can actually access the information on your website.

What else does SEO Do?

SEO works to address as many of the other 200+ SEO factors in order to improve your visibility in search results and increase traffic to your website.

SEO also works to improve the health and profitability of the website. By conducting site audits, SEO consultants can report what technical issues need to be updated and addressed, what keywords and phrases are drawing visitors and what ones are not and what platforms are drawing traffic.

By conducting analytics, SEO consultants can develop an ongoing plan to emphasize sales and services you want to move, develop platform enhancements to get your site seen and followed, and working content that draws and hold visitors.

For a basic Site Audit to see how well your website adheres to these search engine optimization factors take our free Instant SEO Evaluation or contact our SEO consultants at 1-888-262-6687 for a complimentary phone consultation.

Interested in all the Search Engine Optimization Factors?
Check out the SEO Periodic Table by SearchEngineLand.