Search Engine Optimisation for non techies Part Two. For part one click here
How does the search engine know when to show a page on my website in a search result?
You remember I said there were 2 parts to search engines finding your web pages. So first as we said, the bots and spiders have to index your pages so they know they exist and what they're about. Secondly when someone enters a search query, (like beauty salon Carmarthen), the search engine looks for pages that match the search query. They sort through all those indexed pages with their super librarian powers and in less time than it takes most cars to reach 60mph they return the search results.
So our Google search for beauty salon carmarthen returned 20,500 results. That means Google found 20,500 web pages that it thought were relevant to that search query. I should say here that we're not talking about sponsored links, the ones that appear at the top of the search and down the right hand side of your screen (it says sponsored links above them) . Those sites have paid to be there. No, we're talking about what they call organic listings, the main search results. These are the ones the search engine chooses from the pages they have indexed.
How does the search engine know which are most relevant?
In the organic listings what they are looking for are pages that are the most relevant to the terms used in the search query. So in the case of beauty salon carmarthen they would want to see those terms used either as one phrase, or closely associated together. If the phrase appears in the title, headline or sub-heading then the search engine assumes that page is more relevant than one where it only appears say only once near the bottom of the text.
Key phrases are ...well.... key
Now is a good time to mention key phrases. What are they? These are the phrases that people are likely to use in search terms, when searching for a product or service. Different products will usually have different key phrases. When your feature is written on Thebestof Carmarthen or Thebestof Cardigan website, relevant key phrases for your business are included in the copy.
If you include phrases that people are likely to use when searching for your products or services, the search engines are more likely to find your site. On your own web site identifying the key phrases and using them in your text will give your website a better chance of being ranked well in searches. You should be thinking about specific key phrases for each page of your site. If you find this area daunting, we have a trained copywriter on Thebestof, Juliet Fay, who can find the best key phrases for your site and weave them into your copy. Contact her for a quote.
Your pages have to be popular as well as relevant
It isn't just relevance that determines how high up the search your page comes. The search engines also look at popularity. So back to our library again. If our book has been cited by other authors many times or mentioned in many reviews, we're going to find our book displayed in a more prominent, easier to find position on the shelves than one that no-one has ever referenced. In web terms this means the links on your site. If lots of other well respected sites have links to your website, the search engines see this as an indication that the content on your site is good and can be trusted.
Which sites are well respected?
The best ones are government sites that end .gov or education sites that end .sch or .ac. But links from relevant sites with high traffic are also good such as thebestof So it is a two fold process, how relevant you are and how popular you are. Quite democratic in one sense. If you are recommended by others e.g. you have quality links pointing to your site and the content is relevant to the search term, you are likely to get returned higher up the search results.
So in a nutshell what decides which pages appear in the first 10 results in search?
How relevant any given web page is to the search query and how popular your web pages are i.e how many quality links there are. There are other technical issues that will also affect how well your pages are ranked, but that I will leave that for the web developers to explain.
Talk to the experts
We have 3 web developers across the my two sites who provide a variety of services including developing new websites, ongoing internet marketing support and training in search engine optimisation. They are Telemat ICT Solutions (specialise in bi-lingual websites and provide training in search engine optimsation) Web Adept (web design and ongoing internet marketing support) and Design Elements (web design and seo specialists. If you are thinking of having a new website, contact all of them for a quote.
Member since: 10th July 2012
I am Diana Vickers, the site owner of thebestof Cardigan & Teifi Valley, which supports the very best of the area’s businesses with their promotions and marketing. The site is soon coming up to its fifth...