Many of the search engines rank websites based on proprietary algorithms. None of them publish their ranking methods which change regularly. The following is an overview of how search engines determine site rankings:
Domain Name - Many search engines will give significantly higher ranking to sites whose domain name contains important keywords. For example if the domain name were www.medicalmalpractice.com the search engine ranking for the keyword medical malpractice may be increased significantly. Often clients will purchase multiple domain names (which all lead back to a common site) to enhance their marketing efforts. Recently I spoke with one site owner who has registered over 3,000 domains which all point to one common site.
Page Title - This is the text that appears at the very top of your browser window. It is user definable and should relate to the content of the individual web page displayed.
Keywords - Several search engines use keywords (which are not displayed on the webpage) to rank the related page.
Headings and bold print items - Many search engines add ranking points for keywords that are included in headings or are more prominent on the page. The feeling is that there is probably a higher relevancy for words used in this context.
Content text - Search engines often add ranking points for keywords that are found within the body of the page. A higher prominence is given to words that are displayed in the first half of a sentence. (This applies to text only, not graphics that appear as text, which the computer can’t read).
Word Proximity - If the words “medical” and “malpractice” are grouped together they will yield a higher rating than if they were separated throughout the document. In addition, if “medical, “malpractice” and “New York” appear in close proximity of each other, then many of the search engines will weigh those items better as a collective search term.
Alt Tags - These are the words that are used to describe the pictures on a page. They appear when you place your mouse over the picture or when graphics are turned off within the client’s browser preferences.
Keyword Ratios - Often a search engine will use ratios as part of the ranking process. If there are one hundred words on the page and the keyword appears 5 times, the ratio is 5%. The same number of keywords on a larger page will yield a lower percentage and potentially a lower ranking. This may lead one to think that keywords should be repeated as often as possible. Search engines have gotten wise to tricks used by unscrupulous site owners who abuse this practice. For example, placing keywords in white text on a white background to fool the search engines causes severe ranking penalties. This is known as search engine spamming and is not recommended. Search engines often place unpublished thresholds on the number of times that a keyword can be repeated without being designated as spam.
Links Popularity - Some search engines add ranking points based on the number of other websites that reference the subject site. The more places that we list your site (ie: directories, etc.) the better the rating your site will receive.
Since each search engine has a different set of changing criteria it is difficult to obtain high placement for a number of keywords on a consistent basis. It is easier (and often more effective) to achieve higher rankings for specific keyword phrases rather than for generic ones. For example it would be difficult to achieve a high ranking for the keyword “attorney”, however it may be easier to achieve quality results for “medical malpractice attorney New York”. Fewer people will enter this combination, however the ones that do will have a significantly higher probability of needing your services. The goal is not just to get a lot of hits, but to lead qualified customers to your door.
In order to do this effectively we create specific pages that are targeted to the requirements of each search engine for each keyword desired. This means that if we are going after 10 keywords on the top 10 search engines we often create a content page for each keyword, for each search engine. Under this scenario we may generate as many as 100 content pages.
Search engines regularly change their algorithms. In order to maintain desirable positioning, constant review and resubmission is necessary. Effective search engine placement can increase website traffic significantly, however it is only one ingredient of a successful online marketing campaign.
While this course will give you most of the techniques that we use to optimize our clients' sites, there's something that this course can't give you - TIME.
Only you can provide this. You need to allocate at least 2-3 hours every day for the next few months in order to put the techniques described here into practice.
If you find that you do not have the time to do so, it makes sense for you to let us put these techniques to work for your site. To find out how we can help your site get top rankings in the search engines, contact us by phone at (818) 986-7200 or fill out our Free, no obligation consultation request form.
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