What search engines want feature image

What search engines want

Are you feeling locked-out of Google’s Page #1?

Some websites are only meant to be online brochures and don’t need to rank highly on search engine results pages. Many more are supposed to attract new customers and fail at this because their owners don’t know what search engines want.

The reason the sites fail is because they do not appear on the first page or two of search engine results. The sad fact is that at least 75% of all clicks go to the search results found on page one. More than 67% of those clicks go to the top five listings on page one and fewer than 6% go to results appearing on pages two and three.

The search engines don’t say how they rank web pages but they are studied pretty closely and we have a good idea what they like and what they don’t. Tailoring a website to rank higher is known as Search Engine Optimisation or SEO.

Specialists in SEO who know what they are doing can deliver higher rankings for their clients. The problem is that many smaller businesses can’t afford the huge monthly fees typically charged by the consultants.

Here at Website Quick Fix we couldn’t afford it either so we had to learn how to do it for ourselves. Along the way we developed our 6 Steps to affordable SEO plan which anyone can use to gradually improve their search engine rankings over time.

Before starting on the 6 Steps to affordable SEO, we need to think about what makes a good web page from the search engine’s point of view.

HINT: We talk a lot about SEO as a means of attracting website traffic but we’re also fans of face-to-face networking and handing out flyers. The age of print is not dead, but since your competitors are likely to be focusing online, print can offer a genuine chance to get ahead.

What search engines want

Search engines want lots of users so they can earn money by showing them adverts. That means delivering the most relevant and useful results to keep searchers coming back again and again. That means they rank websites and pages by how useful they are likely to be to users.

How search engines rank websites

They visit (or crawl) websites on a regular basis to see what they are about, and follow links to other pages both in and outside the site. Web pages may look complex but they are just text files which the search engines can easily read.

They try to understand what the webpages are about based on their content and they give a score or ranking to each page. They apply sophisticated analysis to the page content to decide how useful it’s likely to be to search customers.

The other major ranking factor they use is what web users think of a page or site. The search engines assume that a website or page is good if lots of other web users link to it.

They count the links from external sources a site or page has and give them a Domain Authority score based on that. They rank sites from 0-10 with a score of 4 and over being considered very strong.

What this all means

Boosting the SEO of your website is actually pretty simple in theory. All you have to do is:

  • Have content that search engines will find useful and, bearing in mind they are only dumb machines, you have to give them plenty of clues what your content is about.
  • Go on a link-building crusade and get as many other websites as possible to link to your website.

Do-it-yourself SEO

It’s fiendishly expensive to hire people to do all the necessary optimisation for you. The route we’re following (and advocating) is the do-it-yourself SEO route. It takes work and commitment and results will be slow and gradual but the rewards can be great.

In our opinion it will most certainly result in an overall improvement in your website if you structure it and the content you create with an awareness of SEO. If nothing else, it will get you thinking about what your prospects might be looking for.

Just that small switch in thinking can sparks major improvements in most sites.

Now visit our big 6 Steps to Affordable SEO page to find out how you can boost your website rankings over time.

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