If you understand what the
search engine optimization process is, the next step
is to understand how many factors the search engines
actually do look at. Many search engines suggest in
their documentation and discussions that there are
numerous factors that various search engines look for,
and can affect how a web site ranks in their search engine.
There are about 20 factors that are very obvious and
others that are less obvious, and much harder if not
impossible to prove. Furthermore, each search engine
weights each of these factors differently, and places
the emphasis in different spots.
The List Of
Some Things Search Engines Look For:
Title tag - You need a relevant title, not just "Home
it for 5 key words.
Headings - The search engines view < h> tags as
being terms of emphasis - they give weight to the
words within them. Put key terms in them.
Bold - Of lesser importance than < h> tags. the < b> tags
still emphasize terms of importance.
Alt text - Use descriptive short sentences in your
alt tags. If it's a picture of a rose, and you're a
florist try "Red Rose - Available
at 'name' Flower Shop"
Email addresses on page - if you put up an address,
make sure the domain name in the address matches
the web site domain. The search engines look at it as 'cheesy'if
Keyword metatags - Some engines use them directly,
some check them as part of a validation process - "do they
match the content" If they don't
then is this a spam site?
Meta description tag - Most engines look at this
tag. Use distinct ones throughout your site, and
distinct ones for each page. Make them particular to that
Key term placement - Terms that are higher up on
a page are more heavily weighted.
Key term proximity - Terms that are close together
are probably related, and thus the site will show
up in searches for those terms.
Comment tags - Some engines use comment tags for
content. Most engines look for them in graphic
rich / text poor sites.
Page structure validation - proper coding is likely
to be of better overall quality, and thus rewarded.
Traffic/Visitors - The search engines do keep track
of how many people follow their links.
Link Popularity (PageRank in Google's case).
How may other web pages around the Internet point
to your web site?
Do these other pages relate?
Are they considered valuable resources?
Anchor Text of inbound links
Does the link to your web site have relevant keywords
Do the keywords used match keywords in your content?
Rating of pages linking to this page
Even if it is not directly relevant, a web page that
is important that links to your site will still
help your web site.
Having relevant links helps more with search engines
Presence on marked authority pages. (DMOZ)
Url quotation - i.e. when a page mentions the site
by url but doesn't link to it. This commonly occurs
in news articles that mention web sites. While it doesn't
count as a link, it does count as a reference.
Number of links on pages linking to this page. If
the link to your web site is the only one from
a page, it's viewed as being more valuable than being one
link among 100.
Freshness of links on pages linking to your web
site. While the engines will count all links, a
link from a web site that has not been updated in a year
or two will be less valuable than from one that is updated
daily. It indicates activity / interest levels.
Page Last Modified (Freshness)- just like the last
point a page that is updated frequently is favoured.
Reciprocal Links - Search engines like to see a
closed loop - that a referring site as also used
as a reference. So when you are giving away a link, ask for
one back. It will help both websites.
Keyword frequency across all pages. Does the content
really talk to the subject which the page and the
web site is supposed to be about?
Keywords in the url
Using keywords in the url does have an effect for the search engine
You can use keywords in the filename. For example
if the page is about ford parts, then call it "http://www.sitename.com/ford-auto-parts.html"
use dashes "-" and not underscores "_" to separate
words in filenames.
Response Time - If your site is fast, it's favored.
Server Downtime - If the search engine robot comes
by and frequently can't connect sometimes, they
penalize your site.
Page Size - The engines tend to weigh content at
the start of a document more than content further
down. If a page is long, look at breaking it into sections.
If a page is over 50k, then it's too long.
Which May Affect Search Engine Ranking
Domain Extension - New extensions are not always immediately recognized
by the search engines. This was a problem for .cc and .biz sites in the early
Subdomains - If your web site is 'mysite.network.com, and 'network.com'
has engaged in any unsavoury search engine spamming, your site will
Always get your own domain, even if you use a subdomain for your shopping
IP Address/Range - This is a bit like the last point. If the search
engines have had problems with many sites from one hosting company, they
may degrade all the sites from that comapny's IP range. It makes the hosting
"Domain in use since" The longer it's live the better it's generally
viewed. Kind of a respect thy elders thing..
Negatives That Affect
Your Position Within The Search Engines
Broken links - Internally and outgoing.
Spam - Read our section on search engine spam for
Irrelevance - If you use irrelevant keywords, description,
Tiny Text. - If you use text that is too small for
the eye to see.
Invisible Text - Text the same color as the background.
Meta Refresh Tag - (see Cloaking)
Redirects - Where when you try and get to one page,
but the address changes to a different one.
Excessive Search Engine Submission - oversubmitting
may get your site banned.
Frames - Be careful when you use them. You need
to embed key terms in them, because generally, the search
engines can only see the frame, and not the primary content
that you see as visible.
Empty Alt Tags - Leaving these empty shows is poorly
viewed. It's akin to bad coding.
Compounded Words in the content, or tags will not
help the web site for individual terms - i.e - 'hammersandnails'
as opposed to 'hammers and nails'.
Excessive punctuation in the TITLE and description
tags - wastes precious space, and some characters are ignored
or may cause a problem with the spider (the pipe "|" is
a great one that should be avoided).