Internet users most commonly utilize search engines when they are looking for specific products, services or general information that pertains to a particular area of interest.
Because search engines are your most significant source of internet traffic, it is extremely important to understand the inner workings of the major search engines. Understanding how to design your website will greatly increase the indexing of your website by the major search engines.
When most people search the internet, myself included, seldom go past the first page of the search results. Having said that, it’s vital to understand the various elements that make up the search engine’s algorithms (formulas) that exist outside of your website and your ability to positively influence your page rankings.
Ideally, you want to be noticed, which translates to the top half of the first page of the search results. Your primary goal is to maximize the points allotted for your topic. Before you submit your content to the search engines, you have to ensure your website is search engine friendly.
Understanding organic listings and search engines
According to author, Susan Sweeney, “organic listings are free listings of a site in the search results ranked by the search engine’s ranking formula or algorithm.” Organic listings are the search results found below and to the left of the sponsored listings. For obvious reasons, sponsored listings are always displayed first.
Search engines use computerized programs (bots) to actively search the web for content to be indexed using specific parameters. These bots constantly search the Internet for web pages that meet the guidelines, then follow the links and assign a ranking based on the page contents.
Each individual search engine has it’s own specific set of guidelines and page content criteria. Additionally, each particular search engine has it’s own algorithm and designates each page accordingly. It is imperative to learn as much as you possibly can about each individual search engines’ ranking criteria and weighting system.
Methodology for maximizing page rankings
Decide which search engines are the most vital to your website’s success, then learn everything possible about their algorithms, weighting and ranking criteria. Afterwards, concentrate on the following steps to maximize your website’s exposure and, ultimately, success:
Keyword phrases. Focus on keywords that your target audience will likely search for when using the internet search engines. Assign those keyword or keyword phrases to specific pages on your website. Probably the biggest key to success is understanding your targeted audience and gearing your pages specifically to correlate with the intended audience’s needs and search criteria. Following the ranking criteria for your target search engine(s) and populate your site’s pages with the appropriate keywords. Allocating your keywords and keyword phrases to your website’s specific pages related to the audience’s search is paramount to your success. Have a link strategy. The text within a hyperlink is extremely important for search engine optimization. Nearly all search engines have designated a point value for keywords and keyword phrases in the text pointed towards your site. If the website(s) pointing to your site have the same string of keywords or phrases as yours, your website and it’s relevancy receives a gigantic shot in the arm! Encourage similar websites to link to yours in order to increase your exposure. Extend the courtesy in return.
Final thoughts and considerations
Things have changed as it relates to search engines, SEO practices and page rankings. As search engines strive to provide the absolute best product available for their customers, sponsors and “searchees” alike, their methods of ranking websites and content have changed to reflect the highest possible level of accuracy and legitimacy. Previous “tricks” that worked in the past no longer have any value. The search engines have changed with the times and for the better.
If users lose their trust in a particular search engine, say Google, then not only will traffic disappear, so will the advertising dollars. The advertising/sponsor cash flow is the ultimate driving force behind search engines, content rankings, website traffic, and cash flow subsequently.
More from this contributor:
“World Health Organization Unlikely to Get People off the Phone”
“Keep Your Garden and Landscape Safe from Deer”
SEO Best Practices, “Link Building Tips for 2010″
Susan Sweeney, “101 Ways to Promote Your Web Site” (2011)