Some people believe Google has 200 rules for ranking websites. If you knew all of them you would be No. 1 for any search term you wanted, and you'd get rich really fast and buy an island somewhere and retire. We'd all like that, so over the last few months, members of the LinkedIn discussion group, SearchEngineLand, have been working to compile this "Magic 200 List." So far they're up to Rule 300, but there are duplicates, and a few silly ones (some of us doubt if Google really cares who you vote for), so here are the best 173.
I've split the list into a positive and a negative group. Positive factors will improve your rank, while negative factors will decrease it (or get your site blacklisted). Both groups are further divided into five categories: code, copy, site, links, and behavior. Code factors relate to how the site is coded, plus some aspects of server admin and ancillary files such as XML sitemaps. Copy factors are about the visible copy people read, but the most important rule is merely this: relevant content and lots of it! Site factors relate to the domain and hosting arrangements. For example, just like buying a car, do you know what people did with that domain name before you bought it? Does it come with a reputation? Link factors are for the link-building fraternity (internal link structures are in the code section). Finally, behavior is about how people react to your site (including Google staff, who are people too). Yes -- Google is watching, and how people react to your site affects your listings.
There is no way of knowing how many of these factors really do matter, or if there are others. Personally, I think most are correct, and all of them are worth serious consideration. If you're in the SEO business, you might want to test how many of these are in your toolkit. Some of these factors are simple, such as having search terms in the <TITLE> tag, whereas others are really only the heading of an entire chapter of skills, such as having search terms in prominent locations in your copy. Space prevents going into detail on any factor, but you should be able to research anything that isn't self-explanatory. You are unlikely to agree with all of these, but hopefully there are a few tricks you haven't thought of.
One clear lesson emerges from this list, which has been compiled by people from all over the world in a variety of fields, not just SEO. The lesson is this: If your SEO people aren't talking to your coders or your writers (or better still, supervising them), you're in trouble.
Factors that improve search engine results:
45) The most important rule of all: plain old simple quality relevant content46) Keyword density47) Keyword proximity -- number of words between search terms (less is better)48) Keyword positions in page49) Keyword prominence (start/end of paragraphs or sentences)50) Words in page51) Page category (or theme)52) Relevance (to searched phrase)53) Synonyms to query terms54) Language55) Linear distribution of search terms56) Legality of content57) Frequency of updates58) Standard deviation of search terms in the population of pages containing search terms59) Semantic relevance (synonym for matching term)60) Rich snippets61) Rich snippet UGC rating62) Search term density through body copy (about 3-5 percent)63) Search terms in internal link anchor text on the page64) Search terms in external link anchor text on the page65) Search terms in the first 50-100 words in HTML on the page
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Our old hotel website was doing really well seeing a high conversion rate of over 5% whihc is impressive for a independent hotel capturing 25% of bookings. Late Dec, 2010, we replaced it with a new website. We have hence seen a substantial decline in direct bookings. Any suggestions if we should have anticipated this and what should we be focusing on to curtial this for now.
Good info here. But what happened to "rules" 66 - 124? We have a 12,000+ product site at Clarcorp Industrial Sales. How can we "cozy up" to # 47? We have many products on a page. But I did learn quite a few new things. Thanks for a great article!!Larrywww.clarcorpindustrialsales.com
It is not Google that has to be beaten -- it is competition within the SERPs for any particular search term. Google is the playing field and the referee -- not the competition.The title of this article, again, positions within the wrong frame. Proper search optimization is NOT a gaming process where the search engine is beaten -- is it about building authority and engagement naturally.
Break Rule #1. Now. From a usability perspective, the more words there are in your page title, the less likely your page title will be clicked on by a user from a search results page.Every usability study I've read and/or conducted in the last two years bears this out. Most often a user scans the page then clicks on the shortest page title. I advise creating short, relevant page titles, not titles with "important" keyword shoehorned in. It may take longer to get to the top this way but once you're there, it will be more meaningful.
Is it me or this article is missing the page that talks about points 66 - 124?
This is great but is anyone else going from number 65 to 125? where are 66 through 124?
Too bad you dont "beat" Google at SEO. You SEO for Google - and Bing. And you also fail to mention that even Google has a SEO best practice guide.
This is a beautiful thing. For SEO practitioners we know most of it, for business people - they will scan the list and quickly decide that they better hire a SEO practitioner!
Great recap - thanks! The irony to me is when I passed the page along to our designers for a quick read, the first thing I noticed was that you broke rule #7 already with a page name like http://www.imediaconnection.com/content/28301.asp :). Good recap none-the-less, thanks!
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