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4. What does a search engine look for?

At the end of the day, a search engine is in business to help you find the most relevant results possible when you conduct a search. Search engines make their money by selling relevant advertising to supplement the natural, organic search results. Because a top ranking in Google or another search engine can translate into a great deal of business, it’s important to know how search engines determine who gets placed at the top of the list.


One big way search engines rank you is based on: Relevant Content: Search engines are really good at reading text. The more relevant copy you have on your site, the better chance you have getting your page indexed. Search engines love pages that have more than 500 words of text on them. Why? A page with a lot of content is usually more beneficial to the end user. (Though for every rule like this one, there are many exceptions.) Adding articles, press releases, detailed information about your products and services all can help quickly increase the amount of relevant content that you have on your site.


Another way search engines rank you is: Inbound Links: The more sites that link to you, the more important your site becomes to search engines. If sites that link to you are very relevant or important, those inbound links are worth more. And domains that end with .gov, .edu often perform better than .com for inbound links. It’s like a high school popularity contest. If the most popular kids all point to you and say that your website is better than anyone elses, in the eyes of the community, your ranking is elevated. There are many other things that affect search engine ranking. I can’t go into great detail for the entire list, but even small changes can translate into higher rankings.


Some other factors that affect your search engine ranking:

Title Tags: See last week‘s email.

Page Names: Keywords in page names in crease the relevance of the search and are displayed in a Google search result.

Image Names: Putting relevant keywords into image names helps your ranking.

Alt Text for Images: If you hover over an image, this is the text that appears; also used by the blind to understand what an image represents.

Keyword Density: How often specific keywords appear on a page as a percentage of all of the words on a page. Section Headings: In the HTML code, section headings like H1 or H2 are treated as more important content than the information on the rest of the page.

Words contained in links: A link like: “Customer Paradigm offers Web Marketing and Search Engine Optimization Services” can help boost rankings. Clean HTML code: Search engines are easily confused if your websites’ code is a mess. How often pages are updated: Search engines like new conent, but also have a bias toward pages that have been up on the web for a long time.

Site Map: If you have a site map (and an XML site map as well), it’s easier for search engines to crawl through all of the pages of your site.

Keywords in your domain name.

The age of your domain name: Older domain names are perceived as more relevant than something registered last week.

Keywords in subdomains (i.e. http://email.customerparadigm.com)

Keywords in file directory structures (i.e. http://www.customerparadigm.com/email)

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