SEO - What Do Search Engines Want?
Search engines use algorithms, and sometimes human intervention, to determine the pages displayed in their search results. Intentionally getting those pages to rank is SEO or Seach Engine Optimization.
SEO and Google, Yahoo and Bing are not always in sync and the primary culprits are spam and other devious methods to get unworthy sites to rank in search engines. These other methods include paid links to pages, setting up phony sites with stolen or scraped content to send links to other sites, and phony or fake social media profiles to send even more links.
The search engines don't like spam, paid links, link farms, link schemes, and other methods to influence the rankings. They have published terms of service and these techniques are against their terms of service. They are often called blackhat SEO techniques.
What Do The Search Engines Really Want?
Let's start with why search is so valuable. Search engine advertising through pay-per-click is a multi-billion dollar industry. Google's success is based primarily on Adwords. To make it as simple as possible - search engines need good content to lure searchers to use their search tool.
Good content from the search results is good for the search engines, searchers and those web pages that are ranked at the top of the results. Everybody is happy except for owners of websites that are not ranking who feel they have better content.
How Do Search Engines Determine Results
First, the search engines don't tell us the formulas or algorithms they use to determine search rank. They tell us what they believe ideal content is, but you can create the exact content they want, the best in the world, and still not be found in the top results.
For the most part, search engine computer programs are determining the pages that rank. These programs take signals from two major groups - the web page, and external authority signals.
The web page is the content that you, your visitors and the search engines see when they visit. Visitors are looking for information and to have their questions answered. Search engines are looking for signals related to the search terms. The signals include the page title, page description, heading tags, word frequency and related terms.
The authority signals are mostly from outside your site and can be thought of as links back to the page. The number of links is important, but where they come from is even more important. A link from General Motors to your Corvette content page is worth much more than a link from your friend Vinny. In fact, it may be worth a thousand links from other websites.
The best authority link is from an industry leader with your exact anchor text. If General Motors sends their visitors to your Classic Corvette Parts site with that exact anchor text, you have it nailed. Get two or three of those big time links, and you'll be in good shape. Unfortunately, that just doesn't happen very often.
Give Search Engines The Signals They're After
Google and the other search engines want to give top rankings to the highest authority on a subject. That's what they want, but it doesn't always happen. Instead, they give the ranking to the page with the highest score based on their signals.
So, to get the highest ranking, you need to give the search engines the signals they're after. You don't need to game the system to do this, but you do need to work. The best way to do it is to become the expert for your industry or your niche in the industry. You do that by being active everywhere that's related to your keyword terms on the internet.
Here are a few ideas:
- Write lots of content on your website related to your keywords
- Write articles
- Write guest post on blogs
- Comment on Blogs
- Get listed in every industry directory and portal
- Be active in social media
- Create videos and post them to YouTube and other sites
These are just a few ideas. They are all legitimate and will add to your authority. Each of these actions will add links back to your site and your pages. After people see you all over the web, you will get mentions on other blogs and sites and more links will come naturally. This is whitehat SEO.
This is what the search engines want. They want to see your site and your pages get links naturally over time. They are very suspicious of new sites or new pages that get thousands of links from unrelated sites.
The Future of Search
The search engines will continue to refine their systems, their algorithms and their programs to eliminate spam and blackhat techniques. People will always try to game the system and they may have short-term success. But, in the long run, legitimate signals from legitimate sources will be successful. If you are in business for the long-term, build you web presence and authority over time.