Search Engine Rankings – How Does Your Website Get Ranked in the Search Engines and Why?

14 May 2015

Have you ever wondered how Google works out where to rank a website in the search engine results? Achieving a good position in the search engine results is no easy task. There are a number of factors that control where a web page appears in search engine results, including page load times and on-page markup, but the two main ones we will discuss in this article are page relevancy and backlink profiles.

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Website Page Relevancy

Google and other search engines place a great deal of important on website page relevancy. In essence, the more relevant the page is the higher up in the search results it will appear. Of course this is only one factor of a multitude of things which Google’s algorithm looks at when crawling a website. The main purpose of this algorithm is to ensure users get the best search experience possible, meaning that Google doesn’t want customers to see pages of irrelevant search results when they type in a search query. If this happens, users could lose faith and switch to another search engine.

One of the ways a search engine works out webpage relevancy is by analysing the on-page content. Keyword phrases are words which are used on your web page which are relevant to the user’s search query . These are an extremely important factor which can influence a website’s search engine rankings.

However, it’s important that the keywords on the page aren’t over used as this may appear spammy and could indicate to Google that you are trying to manipulate the search results. Deliberately overusing keyword phrases in an attempt to manipulate the search results is called Keyword stuffing. This is a popular technique amongst many Black Hat SEO consultants which try to unjustly manipulate the search engine results and often end up encountering multiple website penalties – some of which can be extremely detrimental.

Nowadays keyword stuffing doesn’t work so well because search engines view it as a deliberate attempt to manipulate the search results. Websites with overstuffed keyword phrases in their page content run the risk of being penalised by Google. If this happens to you, it’s not good news because it can be hard to recover from. So it’s important that you choose a web design company that uses white hat SEO techniques and has your best interests at heart.

Website Backlinks

The backlink profile of a website is very important. Backlinks are external links to other websites. Google sees these as a declaration of trust and the more websites linking back to yours, the more useful an experience you are providing to visitors. If you are not sure how many backlinks your site has, using Google Webmasters Tools you will be able to view a sample.

webmaster tools

It is important to be aware, however, that not all backlinks are equal. A number of factors play a part in how much influence a backlink has on your position in the search results. For example, links to high quality, relevant websites on an aged domain with a high ranking position are much better for you than links back to spam websites with no relevance to yours whatsoever. The number of quality backlinks that your competitor has can also influence how easy or difficult it might be in order to get ahead of them within the search engine results.

Google Penguin

The process of backlinking needs to carried out by an experienced professional, if you’re thinking of attempting to build backlinks with little or no SEO knowledge do so with extreme caution. Google’s Penguin update was cunningly designed to weed out websites with bad backlinks, primarily those who tried to ‘game’ the system by buying links or linking to huge artificial networks. As a result a lot of webmasters discovered the hard way that manipulating the system was a seriously bad idea.

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The Secret to SEO?

Sadly there is no secret formula to ranking a website highly with Google. The best advice is to appoint a website design company which you trust to carry out your SEO works ethically and will abide by the guidelines of the major search engines Achieving a good rankings within the search engines can take time and undoubtedly a considerable amount of effort, but if carried out correctly your business will reap the rewards in the long run.

This article only covers the basics on how search engines rank websites and should not be taken as a definitive guide to SEO success. If you would like to find out more information about how to improve your website’s performance within the search engines speak to one of our team today.