Every website owner wants to increase search engine traffic. It's free and the visitor is targeted to your subject matter, product or service. What more could you ask for in search engine traffic? The downside is that you need to understand search engine ranking methods and that is very challenging.
The number of opinions and "experts" on ways to increase search engine traffic is overwhelming and regardless of what anyone might tell you, they're all guessing. The search engines themselves don't divulge how their methods work for one simple reason - as soon as anyone figures out the method, changes are quickly implemented based on that method.
We are at the mercy of the search engines to help us sort through the clutter to find what we want, and that's the value that the search engines provide, accurate and meaningful search engine results that are related to the search terms or phrases. So it goes back to the quality of content, that's the only common factor in all 3 major search engines' ranking methods.
Each of the top three (Google, Yahoo, and MSN) search engines uses slightly different methods and technology to arrive at any given website's ranking under specific search terms. As mentioned above, no one knows exactly how each method works, but we can test different strategies and methods to see how they impact on your website’s rank.
So, herein lays the only true method of determining what the search engines might look for when ranking your website on specific search terms. Most of us are aware that processes can be expressed in mathematical equations. I'm not sure if that's the best method for search engine ranking, but it is the most popular for the search engine ranking process.
Consider the fact that when someone has determined (or thinks they have determined) one of the factors used in search engine rankings they “do it to death”. Every discovered aspect in the past few years has been exploited immediately to the point that the search engines abandon the tactic. In other words, as soon as the search engines see that someone can beat the system, they change it.
That's one of the big reasons we see constant change in ranking methods - since there is a tremendous amount of revenue at stake for all concerned, i.e. sales of products and services for the website owners, plus the advertising revenue for the search engines, therefore any advantage is huge.
If we had tested and tracked all the changes and methods in search engine rankings for the past few years, one constant factor would stand out. This is also one of the most misunderstood and often overlooked elements in search engine ranking for a specific term.
So what's the one thing that the search engines can't change about their mathematical algorithms? It’s CONTENT of course! The search engines can play with the process, methods or means to judge website content, but, if website owners stick to the basic philosophy of providing meaningful content in relation to the search term, the impact of changes are far less, if even felt at all.
This is precisely where many website owners miss out on getting good search engine rankings. We can jump on the bandwagon with every new revelation in search engine strategies based on the latest changes, but even if you get a slight advantage from all these "new" tactics, it will be short lived. As soon as the search engines catch on that you are working the system, they will change the system.
So the best way to increase your rankings for a particular search term is to provide meaningful information or content based on that search term. Here a few guidelines to help:
- Make sure you focus on the subject matter (don't try to cover anything and everything).
- Get inside the searcher's head – figure out what they want and give it to them.
- Be specific and provide details – don't generalise or be over descriptive.
- For a sales page use benefits and features to fully explain the problem and the solution.
- Update your information often – setup a schedule to update and add more content.
There are many sub factors that can have an impact on how well the search engine bots can determine the value of the content. The search engine bots are software programmes that go out and "read" your website’s pages and then provide the information to rank your website on what they discovered.
You'll find many "experts" who will give you a definite list of items and how to present this information, and although it’s important to include the search term in your website in key areas like title, description, and font tags like H1 that helps the search engine software bots to determine the content, it is still possible for websites with “lacking” or no meta-tags but with rock solid content to attain high search engine rankings on a particular search term – so we can make it easy for the search engines by optimising metatags and font tags, but remember that the content is the single consistent factor in search engine rankings.
There are a lot of different aspects to consider when trying to improve your search engine ranking and increase search engine traffic - keyword and phrase research by interpreting the search term or phrase to provide the best result, reviewing other popular websites with the same intentions, linking to other like content websites etc. How you present the information and content is also an important issue. All these factors come after good content - so ensure that your website contains the best content possible and you shouldn’t go wrong.