Factors Affecting the Ranking of a website

by Irune

The factors affecting the ranking of a website on the SERPs are in a never-ending state of flux, but some things remain constant.

The factors affecting the ranking of a website on the SERPs are in a never-ending state of flux, but some things remain constant. The goal of a search engine is to find the best answer to a user’s query as quickly as possible, and in as little searches as possible. In order to do that they look at the content of a page, inbound links, but also at the reactions of users and their bounce rate and social media signals such as Google+ bookmarks. The following lists include some of the most important ranking factors both for onsite and offsite SEO.

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On-site Search Engine Optimization Factors

  • Keyword density and context
  • Keyword relevancy
  • Compliance with HTML and CSS standards
  • Use of the correct tags and metatags, specially the <title> tag
  • Original and unique content
  • Content coherency and themes

It is not enough to buy SEO articles and place them on your website, though it is a good start if you are not familiar with SEO copywriting techniques yourself. It’s also important to ensure that your internal information architecture is correct, and the links between pages make sense. If your website looks like a chaotic set of random content, the value of your keywords will be diluted, not to mention you’ll probably lose a lot of readers who cannot find what they were looking for.

It’s also important to make sure that the technical aspects of your website aren’t letting your content down. If your website is slow or the search engine spiders cannot access the content all your SEO efforts will be for nothing. Tools such as Google Webmaster Tools will help you identify problems such as blocked or inaccessible pages, but if your website HTML is badly formatted or your hosting is failing you’ll need some technical know-how in order to identify the issue.

It’s important to keep in mind that, while search engines have got much better at processing non-textual content such as images, Flash or PDF documents, your content will be your main focus if you are performing on-site search engine optimization. 

Off-Site Search Engine Optimization

  • Number of inbound links
  • Quality of inbound links
  • Social media signals
  • Anchor text of inbound links
  • Sources of the inbound links

There are many ways to get links to your website, from letting them happen naturally to blogging on other people’s blogs, article marketing directory submissions or even link building blog networks. The quality of the websites where those links originate will influence how much they affect your rankings the most. For not very competitive keywords, finding easy things to write about and distributing high quality articles to article directories or as a guest post on relevant blogs can be enough. However, if your goal is to rank in very competitive niches or broad, high traffic keywords, you may need to implement a full search engine optimization strategy for small businesses or find a legitimate SEO agency to do it for you.

10 years ago, ranking for most keywords was easy. Search engines would look at a very limited number of factors affecting the ranking of a website in order to decide how relevant it was for a particular keyword. This resulted in spammers conquering the SERPs by filling pages with a chosen keyword and creating thousands of links to them. Luckily for search engine users, this is no longer the case. On the other hand, it is much more difficult to artificially rank for a keyword, and your first priority should be making sure that your content is relevant and high quality in order to please your visitors.

Updated: 01/25/2012, Irune
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Mira on 08/25/2012

Right. I know I should comment on blogs more often to link to my articles, but I never get around to it. But I will :-)

Angel on 01/25/2012

Great information. I am new to online writing and have just set up my own blog. I need more articles like this to help me through it. Thanks for the useful information.

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