How Do Search Engines Rank Webpages?

Written by: Jason Bayless | December 10, 2014

As search engines evolve, they are continually modified and improve to provide more thorough, targeted results. In short, the ultimate goal of a search engine is to provide the most relevant content to a user, depending on the search term he/she uses. Search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo!, and Ask.com all have various algorithms for ranking websites. However, there are a few things you can do to ensure that you’ll rank higher for all of them.

Search engines essentially never stop changing, and this is partly due to the fact that users’ demands never stop changing.

What Factors Affect Search Engine Rankings?

Rob Thomas from Sourceline Media shares various insights on what goes into determining a websites rank in the SERPs (search engine results pages).

Websites that perform well in search engine rankings will often share the same characteristics. For example, they make excellent use of keywords, they have lots of quality backlinks from other websites, and they offer useful, non-“spammy” content to users. This is the type of information search engines use to determine how a website ranks in comparison to similar sites.

1. Stop relying on anchor text to help your website rank. At one point in time many moons ago, it was quite easy to decently improve a website’s ranking by pairing good keywords with a target website’s URL. However, search engines have changed quite a bit, and anchor text does virtually nothing at this point. Start saving your keywords for your content, and leave the links to display simple text such as, “Click here.”

2. [Good] backlinks are a must. Backlinks are quite possibly the most critical part of optimizing a website to rank well. You acquire a backlink for your website whenever another website links to your URL. This might seem like an easy order to fill, but backlinks can hurt your website just as much as they can help. Backlinks originating from spammy or poor websites will likely hurt your ranking with search engines. On the other hand, backlinks originating from quality websites will help it out significantly.

3. Share useful content with your readers. Long gone are the days when a webpage filled with carefully researched keywords could send a website to the top of the SERPs. Search engines have become much more stringent on page quality than ever before. This means your website will likely perform poorly if it does not engage or interest users.

Invest time into optimizing your website. Many people are under the impression that once they build a website, the hard work is over, and traffic will begin flushing in from all directions immediately. This simply isn’t the case. For your website to be discovered by users online, you have to do quite a bit of on-page optimization as well.

Particularly, you should be spending time doing keyword research, periodically checking your analytics, optimizing your HTML tags and metadata, and so on. Be careful about how much time you spend on optimizing. Too much optimization can create a website that looks and feels spammy, and this will only hinder it in the long run. Too little optimization won’t help your rankings whatsoever. It’s obvious that there is a sweet spot that you should try to hit with your website.

Each site is different, and because of that, each will require a different strategy in order to see improvement on the SERPs. Unless your website is offering information that can’t be found on virtually any other website on the internet, you will need to make use of all of these tactics for raising your search engine ranking if you want traffic. In an online world that is constantly changing and evolving, your website should be adapting as well.