Factors affecting search engine rankings

How do Search Engines Rank Your Webpage?

Date: Posted: March 1, 2017

To the average business owner, it can be mind-boggling to imagine how search engines rank their websites. After all, not a lot of people are fully aware of how search engine optimization and SEO management work.

Before signing up for SEO services, it’s best to know which ranking factors directly affect your webpage. This will help you understand how the SEO process works; making it easier to determine how you can proceed on your online marketing strategy.

Let’s discuss a few of the notable factors that marketing experts tend to focus on.

Insightful Content

Of the 200 or so various ranking factors, content remains to be one of the most significant of all; often cited as making a serious impact on page rankings.

Content helps drive visitors who are looking for information and it sparks conversations among its readers.

Better content quality results to a higher number of return and new visitors. Quality content also increases your brand authority; a solid reputation can attract more people to visit your webpage.

A few years ago, experts advocated the need to employ keywords related to your niche to improve your online ranks. These days, page owners are slowly turning towards using natural language for key content segments like the headings and meta-description.

Recent studies reveal that only 53% of the top searches have keywords in the title. And even less had keywords in their headings. Content relevance has become an important aspect in how search engines rank your page.

With all this talk about keywords and headings it can be easy to forget the main aim of your content: to impart valuable knowledge to your visitors. Keep in mind that user engagement can only be achieved if your content is compelling and insightful.

Speaking of user engagement…

Valuing User Experience

You may have a portfolio of compelling and trustworthy posts on your website, but you have to remember that it’s only a segment of what helps your page rank up. The value of your content is lost if the user does not take away anything useful from it.

User experience is a key metric that gives hints to search engines about the value of your page.

A better user experience means that visitors found your page informative, easy to navigate through, fitted with relevant content, and loaded with interactive features. Search engines will then take this as a sign that you have an excellent page that deserves a better position in the SERPs.

You should always prioritize on improving your website’s user experience. In the end, it is the customer who gets the most benefit from visiting your site. Your SEO efforts will mean nothing if you don’t think of how your page will affect visitors.

How can you tell that your page has excellent UX?

Typical indicators include post shares and reposts, visits and revisits, relevant comment counts, and outbound links pointing back to your site.

A high amount of reposts or actual comments (as opposed to obvious SEO-centered comments) mean that people find your page informative and valuable, and that they had an enjoyable experience while visiting your site.

Keep in mind that search engines are slowly getting a better picture of how user behavior works. They will eventually determine whether your page contains relevant information. If it doesn’t, they will adjust your website’s rank accordingly.

Always keep your pages relevant for whatever niche you are in to avoid penalties based on content.

The Power of Links

Website links connect your page to other websites with information that is relevant to your niche.

A higher number of inbound (pointing to your site) and outbound (directed at external pages) links can send the signal to search engines that your website receives a lot of traffic.

Keep in mind that this is not always a good thing, and that there are other factors related to links that can affect how your page ranks.

  • Domain age plays a vital part in determining a backlink’s quality. The standard doctrine goes that older domains carry more weight than newer domains when it comes to references.
  • A high variety of class-c IP addresses linking back to your page can be seen as positive indicator. This means that you have a high number of unique pages linking back to your website.
  • The type of referring link can also affect your linking rank factor. A low variety of link types (for example, multiple links pointing only to social media profiles) can be flagged for spam, incurring penalties for your page.

Remember that links can only have a positive effect on your page if they are used naturally (as a reference for content, for example). If it was linked only for SEO purposes, it will have a detrimental effect on your page instead.

Architecture and Technical Factors

The site architecture determines how a website is displayed to others.

A solid site architecture means that all relevant and vital points are readily available and accessible to the user. Apart from those aspects visible to visitors, site architecture also concerns the page’s ‘backend’: page indices, internal linking, data encryption and metadata. These, and many other aspects, can be referred to as technical factors which can both directly and indirectly affect your page’s ranking performance.

  • New page owners tend to overlook technical issues because they lack knowledge of how it affects their website. Recent studies explained the value of maintaining a solid site architecture; emphasizing the importance of fixing technical issues promptly.
  • Indexing content on search engines is easier when a Metadata is provided. Failing to add relevant metadata to your pages can adversely affect their visibility. Without it your pages can turn into ‘orphaned’ content with no sites linking back to them. while pages with inappropriate metadata may be flagged for spam.
  • Page security and encryption (using the HTTPS protocol instead of the older HTTP) not only protects the integrity of your data against attackers. It also shields visitors from potentially malicious exploits by external parties. It’s much safer to visit secure and authenticated websites. Thus, giving them a higher page authority than competitors that do not use the same encryption standard.

Ranking factors can directly affect how your page performs in search engine results; they play one of many vital roles in increasing your visibility online. In the end, the quality of your products, service, and customer engagement will determine the rise and fall of your webpage. Learning the basics of website ranking factors and following up with excellent end-user support will help your business go far.