If you involved in search engine optimization, you may already know basic terms such as algorithm and page rank, but do you really know what they mean and how they affect your search results? You may hear them on a daily basis, but it’s important to fully understand them in order to better develop your SEO efforts.
An algorithm is a fancy word for “formula.” In this case, an algorithm is used by search engines to rank your site, by determining how relevant your site is for the people using the search engine. Factors including your web site’s content, keywords, and links pointing towards your site (aka inbound links or backlinks) are all used in the algorithm to calculate your location on the results page of the search. The more relevant the algorithm determines your site to be, the higher your site will be placed on the results page.
2) Page Rank
The value of your site is a calculation made by Google known as Page Rank. To calculate your Page Rank, which is measured on a scale of 0 to 10 with the average being 3 or 4, several factors are used. One of the most important factors in your Page Rank is the amount of one-way links (again, aka inbound links or backlinks) pointing to your site. A high number of links shows that other sites consider your web site to be a quality, relevant resource, and therefore Google should too. You can download the Google Toolbar to see your Page Rank by clicking on the link.
3) Link Popularity
It is not very well known that some types of links can help your search engine placement while others may actually hurt it. For example, a “reciprocal link,” which is when you link to a site and that site links back to you, is frowned upon by search engines. This is because people used to try and cheat the system by adding as many links as possible to improve their ranking. Search engines have become more intelligent, and their algorithms are able to ignore reciprocal links. The best kind of link today is the “one-way link” that I covered above under the Page Rank subheading.
4) Keyword Phrase
You could say “keyword phrases” are the new “keywords.” Because the internet has been around for awhile, most single word “keywords” have been used so much that they lose value. For example, if I wanted to learn how to poach an egg, I would search for the keyword phrase “how to poach an egg” rather than just the keyword “egg.” Searching for “egg” would produce thousands of irrelevant results. By using keyword phrases you can be much more specific about what your pages are about and cater to specific audiences. For more on choosing relevant keywords for your website, please click on the link to see my most recent post.
5) Site Structure
The way your website is organized, such as how the pages are linked together and the way your menu works, is referred to as site structure. Good site structure helps visitors move freely and easily through the pages and effortlessly find relevant and related content. The better your site structure, the higher your search engine ranking.
A few extra comments on Site Structure
Before I build a website, I typically try to outline the site structure. This involves determining what topics will be covered and how, whether there will be subtopics, how my readers will be able to access/view these topics, and what it will all look like upon first glance at my site.
For example, let’s say I want to build a site promoting a rock band. I may want to have a “home” page (or landing page), an “about” page featuring the band’s members, an “upcoming shows” page, a “downloads” page, and perhaps a “contact us” page. These pages may or may not have subheadings, and that is what I try to think about before I actually start working on the site. Then I think about whether the individual pages will link to each other and whether the individual pages will look different than one another. Adding a “blog” page may be another consideration. These are just examples of things to think about when thinking about site structure. After all, getting people to your site using the methods mentioned above is one thing, but getting them to stay is another. You want to make the visiting experience as intuitive as possible if you want great results.