To know how Search engines rank webpages it’s mandatory to know what are Search Engines.
Search Engines: A Search Engine is defined as a web based tool, which searches the results of a specific targeted query, entered by the user on the web and in return it provides you with a list of search results most appropriate to the keyword. It can be defined as a computer program which helps in locating the most relevant information asked by the user on the Web. Some of the popular Search Engines include Google, Yahoo, Bing, Baidu and MSN Search.
A Search Engine uses robots/bots, or spiders to crawl the Web, from page to page and site to site. The information which is then collected by them is used to create an index of the Web. A Search Engine includes:
- A crawler which travels through every page, every website which is readable and needs to be searched by using hypertext links on each page so that it is discoverable.
- An algorithm creating an index from the pages which are read.
- An algorithm which receives the search request, matches it to the information in the index, and returns with the results to you.
How do Search Engines work?
Basically, every Search Engine uses its own algorithm to rank webpages making sure that only relevant results are returned for the query entered by the user. The result for a specific query is then shown on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP).
The 3 main functions of a Search Engine are Crawling, Indexing and Matching which has already been discussed in a different article.
The secret of webpage’s ranking by Search Engines!
Each Search Engine has its own way of ranking website. Each and every Search Engine will have a different way to calculate the rankings by using their own algorithms. Plus, no Search Engine will produce the same result because of the different algorithms used by different Search Engines. For example, Google and Yahoo will probably never give the same result for a search query. There are certain factors on the basis of which Search Engines give rankings to the website’s pages.
Factors affecting Search Engines rankings:
1) On Page Factors
2) Off Page Factors
On-Page factors: On-page factors work on the website page so that the website is search engine friendly and also to improve Search Engine rankings for the keywords. On-page factors are essential for each website so that it can rank. These factors are under the publisher’s control. Factors such as content of the website pages, title tags, Meta tags and many more are discussed below.
Some of the on-page factors affecting the ranking of the web pages are:
- Proper content of the Page: The content of the website should be unique and relevant to the website; this is what all the Search Engines look for
‘Content is the King’, it is rightly said as the ranking of the website is dependent on the content of the webpage. When the user searches for a particular content, the content displayed by the website should be relevant and helpful to him to offer him/her good experience. In fact, Search Engines penalize the websites which are not updated regularly with the current information. The webmasters should make sure that while creating a website the content should be logical and should consists of keywords which help the website to be easily searched.
- Title Tags: It is an HTML tag which is used to define the text or the title of the search listings which is on the top of Web browser. The title should be accurate and should give a brief of the page’s content. The tag is very essential to each and every website and it’s web pages, and each webpage should have a different Title tag.
- URL Structure: Another important aspect in Search Engine Optimization is that the URL structure should contain the main keywords.
- Meta Description Tag: The Meta description tag is intended to be a brief description of your site or page’s content which can be used by the search engines. The Meta description tag is like:
<meta name=”description” content=”Brief description of the contents of your page.”/>
- Keyword Density: It is defined as the percentage of keywords or keyword phrase that appears on your webpage. A percentage between 1.25 to 1.5 is ideal.
- XML Sitemap: It is always advisable to have an XML Sitemap as it permits a Search Engine crawler to index the list of URLs for a website. A XML file contains only 50,000 URLs and size must not be larger than 10 MB.
- Proper HTML and CSS Validation: It is essential to have a good HTML and CSS validation done for your websites, to enhance the UI for any visitor coming to your website. A website with good HTML and CSS validation will eradicate all the bugs and glitches, thereby enhancing the experience of the user.
- Alt Tags: To increase the ranking of the web page, it is essential to attract traffic through images by using the correct and relevant Alt tags for specific keywords.
- Internal Linking Strategy: Internal linking strategy defines that the web pages of any website should be properly interlinked with each other. The linking should be done wherever it is required so that the Search Engines does not spam it. The major pages of your website should be linked with the homepage.
- Heading Tags: The headings of the page are created with <hn> tag, where n is a number between 1 to 6. Generally, there are 6 fonts used for heading.
Off-Page factors: These factors are defined as the factors which help to improve the website ranking outside the boundaries of the web pages. These ranking factors are not directly controlled by the publisher. Off-page factors do not involve text or content on the page of the website.
Some of the factors affecting the ranking of the web pages are:
- Building Quality Link Building: There is nothing better for a website to build good quality links for it. To increase the Search Engine Rankings, quality websites should be linked. If good websites are linked with your website, it means that your website has good and valuable content. By building external links to your website, you are trying to accumulate as many links as you can and rank higher. There are many ways to increase link count:
- Blog Directories: The directories like yellow pages, sulekha helps in creating links as each entry is a backlink to a website.
- Comment link: In comment link, you comment on some other websites in order to get a link for yourself.
- Article Directories: If you publish your article in the article directories, you will get a backlink to your website. Mainly directories accept only original content, but there can be some directories which accepts article which are reworded or spinned.
- Link exchange schemes: This is an interesting way to build links. The scheme talks about getting in touch with the webmasters of different websites and exchange links, i.e. linking website ‘X’ to website ‘Y’ and in return website ‘Y’ would link to website ‘X’.There is another complex method which is by exchanging links with 3, i.e. linking website ‘X’ from website ‘Y’ and website ‘Y’ links to another website.
- Shared content Directories: In shared content directories, websites like hubpages or infobarrel allows you to publish your content and in return, you can add links favouring your website.
- Forum Posting: Forum postings are defined as online discussion websites where group of people come and share their views about a particular topic.It can be an open discussion or a closed. People included their links in their signatures.
- Social Networking: Social networking is very helpful in terms of gaining website traffic as it helps to extend our online network of contacts thats helps in socialising with others. We can also share and promote our website on social media platforms and can attract attention of the people through Social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Tumblr, etc.
If we look from a bigger perspective it is also a form of link building.
- Videos: Video is another factor through which the rankings of the websites can be improved. Basically, Video helps in providing the information for your content to the Search Engines so that more traffic can be attained.
- Blogging: We know the fact that by creating new, unique, compelling content, helps in building up new links and drives traffic to your website. Blogging is a way to attract traffic with no cost.
Well, there is no such magic button that SEO press and your webpage ranks on top. But, by paying attention to On page and Off page factors , you can definitely improve upon.
If any webmaster wants to get more traffic on their website and wants to rank it, start working on these factors and your problem is half way solved. These are some Google ranking factors which lead you to your way.
Integrate your Google Analytics account and see how the various algorithm updates have affected your websites’ traffic.