SEO & Analytics

You can have the best website around but if no one ever sees it then it's development has been a waste.

Having taken the first important step of registering the website with the major search engines the next thought is how can I feature prominently when people search for things that I have on my website. Let us look at the major search engines and their relative influence on the web.

Universal Search Engine Market Share

Whilst there are many Search Engines that one can choose for searching the world wide web, Google far outweigh the rest as can be seen by the Pie Chart below :-

We may therefore be forgiven for concentrating on Google regarding our sites effectiveness on the internet especialy when you consider that Baidu is primarily serving it's Chinese clientele and if this is not considered then Google has more than ten times more searches than its nearest rival Yahoo.

If the other trend of the change towards tablets and other hand held devices is considered, their dominance is even greater as shown below :-

 

Factors affecting Google Search Ranking

There are a few aspects to having your website found through a web search, your organic ranking, your expenditure on Google advertising via Google +, pay per click etc and your sites strategy regarding the use of search terms within your website.

With regard to your organic ranking there are many factors that have an affect and there are many organisations claiming to know exactly how to exploit these factors but the exact weighting of the factors in a sites overall ranking is a closely guarded secret within the upper echelons of Google ( a little like the Coca Cola formula ) and Google are constantly looking to ensure that there is a fair and level playing field where sites are ranked according to their genuine merit with an aim of making the internet a place of value to it's users. This means that they aim to promote sites that make a genuine contribution to the worlds knowledgebase and are universally useful.

This is reflected in Googles Mission Statement which is "To organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful"

It is therefore only natural then that Google's aim is to penalise websites using manipulative techniques to achieve high rankings so beware of companies providing their magic formula for rocketing your website to Page 1 rankings for your chosen search term, because if they have found a loophole then Google will undoubtedly close the loophole and penalise participants exploiting it.

Google have computer programs designated as "spiders" that crawl through every site on the web (other than ones that have indicated that they do not want to be crawled through via their robots.txt file). Each organisation has their own name for their search bot and major robots include: Googlebot (Google), Slurp (Yahoo!), msnbot (MSN), and TEOMA (Ask). The spiders collect a whole host of information and then applies this information to their algorithms in order to determine a ranking for the site. Google has sophisticated algorithms that determine how much to crawl each site. Google's goal is to crawl as many pages from each site as they can on each visit without overwhelming your server's bandwidth.

There are literally hundreds of factors affecting page ranking some of which have a negative effect but we will concentrate upon what we consider to be the major factors although this in itself could be a point of debate due to the exact algorithm being a closely guarded secret.

Here are what I consider to be the top 20 factors for enhancing a websites google ranking :-

  • Volume of Site Traffic
  • Keyword(s) Appears in Top Level Domain
  • Keyword(s) in Subdomain Name
  • Keyword(s) in Title Tag
  • Keyword(s) in Description Tag
  • Keyword(s) in Page Headlines (use of H1, H2 etc tags)
  • Keyword(s) in Document
  • Content Length / Quality
  • Page Loading Speed (inc Image Optimisation)
  • Update Frequency
  • Domain Age
  • Domain registered years ahead
  • Helpful Supplementary Content (eg Calculator Link)
  • Multimedia ( images and Videos, remember Google own Youtube )
  • HTML errors / WC3 validation
  • Relevant Outgoing Links ( to trusted sites eg .edu  .gov )
  • Relevant Incoming Links ( from higher ranked and trusted sites )
  • Reciprocal Links ( if in excess can be negative )
  • Social Media Links (Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Digg etc.)
  • DMOZ listing

The aim of Google is to eliminate on an ongoing basis unnatural ways that people over time devise to bypass their mission of using their search engine to find quality useful content for their users.

Google themselves provide extensive guidelines regarding how to approach the task of providing quality web content and following is a short video, one of many, pointing out some of the negatives associated with your websites SEO development.

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