Since the vast majority of Internet users rely on search engines and online directories to find informative resources, each of these information portals must have a way to list, in order of importance, links to online sites containing informative content. The process in which an engine or directory lists its records is referred to as ranking. Therefore, the higher ranking you are able to achieve, the more prominently your site will be listed. The higher you are listed, the more traffic you can expect.
Achieving the highest ranking is critical if your web site or online resources will rely on search engines and online directories as a primary source of traffic. A very strong optimization plan is strongly encouraged to receive the best rankings against your competition. While each search engine and informative directory handles ranking a little differently than the next, it is vital to understand the basics that are employed in each.
Determining Web Site Ranking
As was touched upon in the Spiders, Bots, And Crawlers section of this web site, ranking is determined by a reporting agent that has been sent out to your web site to review your site's information and contents. Algorithms, or a type of computer logic that analyzes records to assign a value based upon keywords, phrases, and informative based themes determines the sites that are presented in a ranked order to those searching the engines and directories. Arguably the most critical method in achieving a well-ranked listing relies on the location and frequency of which keywords are used on any given page in your web site. One of the main rules in a ranking algorithm involves the location and frequency of keywords as they are used. Therefore, the more prominent your keywords are used, and the more they are repeated in the content of the page, the better your chances are of scoring a high ranking. Often, ranking systems look for keyword information to base a ranking on by examining the various tags described in our HTML Tag section. While the order of importance and impact of those tags could be argued, just keep in mind that all are important for one reason or another. Spiders, Bots and Crawlers will also check to see if there are keywords that appear near the top of a web site document. Including targeted keywords in headlines or in the first few paragraphs of text is sure to assist these agents when they report back to their database records.
The frequency, or number of times keywords appear is another determining factor of a well-positioned ranking. This allows the reporting agents to determine that your information is on topic and relevant to the main subjects that you have indicated in the titles and headings of your page. The results of keywords being repeated throughout content allows the agents to prioritize a web page based on how often keywords appear in relation to other words in a web page.
META Tags Myths
For years many companies have offered services claiming that they will come in and optimize your web site. And sadly, they may believe that META tags are in fact the best, and quite often the only way to go. While META tags may have been the way to go 3 or 4 years ago, the so-called "secret" method of achieving great rankings was quickly exploited. So the emphasis on your META tag contents have been on the decline for quite some time, and will most likely continue on this trend. They still do provide some databases with useful information, but do be aware that many of the larger and more frequently used engines are aware of the ability to exploit these tags.
The Best Approach for Search Engine Ranking
Quite possibly the best approach to take on if you are looking to have your site rank well is to do one of two things. Either work on your site yourself, or trust it to the professionals. If you are going on your own, research the exact market you want your web site to be presented to, and hone in on the trends employed by surfers interested in these subject matters. Over time, you may just be able to achieve what you want - high ranking results.