How Search Engines List/Rank Websites

Search engines use several factors when listing and ranking sites. Before we jump into that, let's look at the difference between listing and ranking.

Listing - refers to a search engine listing your site and offering it as a suggestion for a search result.
Ranking - refers to where in the list your site appears, or ranks.

The main factors in listing and ranking a site include:

META Title

Should include your main search terms and will appear as the link on the search engines and in the title bar of your browser.

META Description

Appears under the title on search engines and helps web users to decide what site they should visit. Descriptions are mini classified ads for your site and play a role in determining when and where your site appears on search engines.

META Keywords

Keywords help some search engines to categorize your site. When creating a list of keywords for your site think in terms of what your potential clients would search for.

Site Content

Most important and factor in determining when and where your site will appear for a search. Search engines will scan your website and use the text-based (not graphics) content.

Keyword Relevancy

Search engines will calculate your keyword relevancy by selecting a keyword from your META tags. They will count the number of times that keyword appears on a page and then divide that number by the total number of words on the page. Your keyword relevancy should be between 5% and 9%.

Link Popularity

Just like in high school, the more popular you are, the more parties you are invited to. For websites, the more links to your site, the higher the site will appear on the search engines. These links should be relevant. Do not over do links as too many can lower your ranking.

ALT Tags

Also referred to as "alternative text" are associated with the photos on your site.

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