Even though a lot has changes over the years, there are really only 4 points search engines are looking for – which in turn are based on a single, underlying principle.
The Internet was founded to enable finding valuable information quickly.
Search engines sell advertising and make their money based on that one statement. What people think is valuable is what search engines try to provide in their search results. So this is simply a popularity contest. The competition is on how to give the most valuable information the fastest. And it’s what people “think” is valuable that counts.
And Google, according to various SEO “experts” who watch these ranking trends constantly (even though Google won’t publicly affirm or deny this) have figured out that it’s just four key points which determine top rankings. Of course, these are all taking into account that your pages are properly search engine optimized to begin with:
1. New, fresh content. 2. In-bound links. 3. Social approval and use. 4. Speed of delivery.
Content has always been king. And not only does your content need to be human-readable and useful, it needs to be updated regularly. Because there is an entertainment factor on the Internet. The “same old stuff” will get replaced in the rankings by a newcomer so that when someone keeps searching for the same thing, they get new material as it comes available.
Links tell your pages reputation. This is also known as the “authority” your pages possess. Ideally, incoming links will use your keyword, or have the immediately surrounding text say something relevant as they link to your page. That’s how people find your site, and so search engines use this as well. Valuable links talk about the subject of your page. A page on dog collars shouldn’t have incoming pages about elephants or skyscrapers. Search engines mimic actual human visitors – that’s the key.
Social approval is commonly found among blogs with their voting and comments. Popular sites, where others contribute, is a definite factor. When people bookmark your site, this also gives a clue to search engines as to what people are finding as valuable.
How fast your site comes up is another key point, which has taken more importance recently. If you get to a slow site, the chance of your simply moving on is greater than not. Google has made intimations that they are now using this to pick their rankings – as obviously slow sites don’t want to be looked at.
So what are you then supposed to do with that business web site?
Sure, it’s all about those pages which describe your product or service. Now, if you produce the same widget as last year, maybe nothing much has changed. Automobile makers found out long ago that they needed to produce something new every year to improve their sales. And this is true for packaging laundry soap as well.
Putting a new cover or new description on your product’s sales pages can influence how “new” it seems to be. Just putting out a monthly press release about the changes your company has made, or how a new use has been found for your product – all this can bring new life to your site, especially if you also post that press release there.
Some companies even hire a blogger or delegate those duties to a representative in-house.
You can get in-bound links by re-publishing your existing material as articles on article directories, or by creating pdf versions which can be posted on various other sites. If you’ve created videos, these can be put up on video sites like YouTube (with a backlink in the description) to raise your authority and reputation with the search engines. Also, leaving comments on blogs that are talking about your industry or product can also give you helpful backlinks. Out-source these or assign them in-house.
And a company page on Facebook, regularly updated, can also give you needed backlinks and social interaaction about your product or service. Obviously, when you have a press release or new content on your site, this should be promoted via Facebook and even Twitter. While it may or may not give you site traffic, it will be taken into account by search engeins and the public who follow you.
Your speed of deliver says a great deal about how fast your webhost is – and whether you’ve loaded down your site with a lot of fancy gadgets. Cached pages are now being used by many sites, which only change with new content. These are basically static pages with optimized graphics to show up quickly in any browser.
As you work to keep track of these 4 points, you’ll find that the search engines have a greater number of reasons to rank you higher in their standings.
And obviously, if you have any doubt about your own ability to make your site improve in search engine rankings, you should hire a consultant to review your site and advise changes. Or simply hire a firm to optimize and host your site professionally.
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Author: Robert C. Worstell (BS, M.Msc, MBA, PhD) is an independent researcher and the author of numerous practical books, articles, videos, and whitepapers on the Internet and Marketing, as well as several specific articles on best website designs. His most recent book in this area of how to do a website is titled An Online Sunshine Plan and is specifically written so that anyone can take a small web business online quickly, simply, and profitably.
This article is free for reproduction as long as by-line remains intact.