How web pages are ranked

Search engines use algorithms to determine where a web page ranks for a particular keyword used in a search. Algorithms are programming systems that determine how a search engine indexes content and displays the results to its users.

Two main factors search engines use to determine ranking is the content on a web page and “off- page-factors” (such as the text used along with links that point to a web page). The latter to our mind is very important and neglected by most companies.

The factors such as content ‘scored’ on a web page vary with differing weights given by different search engines. However, some things such as the positioning of keywords and frequency we consider universally important. For instance, keywords or phrases that occur in headings, page titles and other key places on the web page are more significant than keywords that appear in a more random fashion in the middle of a page.

When considering “offsite” factors, the number of quality pages linking to a web page is significant to a web page’s ranking. Good websites have many other sites that link to them. More recently, the advent of social networking and forums adds a new and very important dynamic – consumer buzz.

At the same time, the relevance of linking is important too and determines “link relevance” and weighting. In short, this means that a link to your page from a similar website or a page having the same keywords as the page linked to is more important than a link to your web page from an unrelated sight or page with different content. The text in the link itself is also important, known as “anchor text” or “link reputation”. Link reputation is widely accepted as a main factor for Google’s PageRank system.

In short, PageRank reflects the quality of a web page. The number of links pointing to that page has a direct influence on PageRank, but abuse forces Google to change its algorithm and thus we to modify our strategy to demonstrate our websites are deserving of our popularity. At the same time, the higher the importance of a website that links to a web page, the better it is the better that is for the linked pages rankings.

It is important to note that each web page has an assigned rank, which divides amongst the links going out from that page. The more links that point out from a web page the less important each link becomes. Therefore, PageRank is not only about a link coming from a popular site, it is also proportional to the number of links going out from that site.

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