High Search Engine Rankings can be an effective method of driving traffic to your website. For those unfamiliar with the terminology, “Search Engine Rankings” refer to how high your website appears in Search Engine Result Pages. “Traffic” refers to the number of visitors your website receives.
So the highest ranking websites are the ones that appear at the top of the first page on the Search Results. These website usually receive the most traffic so therefore it can be advantageous if your website ranks as high as possible.
Of course high Search Engine Rankings aren’t the be all and end all of driving traffic to your website, but they something that should be taken into consideration, especially if you have limited resources for promoting your website via other means.
Firstly it’s important to understand how Search Engines operate. Google is by far the biggest and most commonly used Search Engine, followed Yahoo and Bing. They all work slightly differently, but generally if you can get your website ranking highly in Google, it will also be ranking highly in Yahoo and Bing.
Basically Search Engines scan through your website looking for keywords to add to their indexes. This process is known as “spidering”. When a user searches for a word or phrase matching the keywords index to your webpage a link to that page will appear in the Search Results.
How high your webpage is ranked depends on many factors, ranging from the amount of relevant content to the search words, how your webpage is built, the age of your website is, how many backlinks you have, the relevance of the backlinks and the amount of traffic receives from the backlinks.
If somebody claims they can get you first place ranking in a Search Engine BEWARE! No individual has direct control over how highly Search Engines rank websites.
Now this is not to be confused with paid advertisements (sometimes known as “Sponsored Links”) like Google’s AdWords or Yahoo’s Overture, which appear above and to the right of Organic Search Results. These advertisements may look like Organic Search Results but there are usually subtle visual differences. Usually wording like “Sponsored Links” or “Promotional Results” appear in small text above the advertisements.
“Organic Search Results” refer to the Search Engine listings which appear because of their relevance to the Search Terms (I.e. the words people enter into Search Engines). These listings are what you don’t have control over but there a number of factors which influence how highly a website ranks. This is known as Search Engine Optimisation or SEO for short.
Now some people may be wondering why bother with Search Engine Optimisation if you can pay for advertisements that guarantee a placement higher than the Search Engine Results?
Quite simply Organic Search Engine Results are FREE, so you do not have to pay Search Engines to have your website appear in the listings. As the name suggests, paid advertisements cost money and if you’re not careful you can waste a lot of money on unsuccessful advertising campaigns. We’ll explore Google AdWords and other Pay Per Click (PPC) strategies in a future lesson.
There are two types of SEO; the first is “Onsite Search Engine Optimization” which is structuring your webpages in a way which makes them more Search Engine compliant. The second is “Offsite Search Engine Optimization” which are external measures you can employ to improve your website’s ranking.
Each method is vitally important so next lesson we’ll dig deeper into “Onsite” methods of improving your website’s Search Engine Ranking.
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