With what seems like every other article on the web telling you how to rank well on a search engine and algorithms changing daily, are there any tried and trusted methods that just works?
Simply put no one outside of Google (or any other search engine) knows the technical details of how a search engine ranks one page above another, but everyone can see the result.
So if we look on a technical level at what goes into the top ten performing pages we can see the factors that Google may see as being important. If we then incorporate those factors we can often see a rapid improvements in our own ranking.
The software product I use identifies over 30 factors through research it sees as being important for successful ranking.
Keyword use in document title
Keyword use in H1 headline texts
Keyword use in H2-H6 headline texts
Keyword use in body text
Keyword use in bold body text
Keyword use in IMG ALT attributes
Number of backlinks
Anchor texts of backlinks
Age of web site
Keyword use in domain name
Keyword use in page URL
Mentions on social sites
Top level domain of web site
Number of visitors to the site
Keyword use in same domain anchor texts
Keyword use in outbound anchor texts
Keyword use in same domain link URLs
Keyword use in outbound link URLs
Keyword use in meta description
Number of trailing slashes in URL
HTML validation of web page to W3C standards
Readability level of web page
Keyword use in the first sentence of the body text
Search engine compatibility
Factors that could prevent your top ranking
Table: Number of keywords
Table: Keyword density
Table: Keyword position
Table: Number of words
Table: Number of characters
Table: Ranking factors digest
This list of areas to look at can be split into on page (changes you can make to your website) and off page (things that can affect your website which are not on your web page)
When you are starting to look at SEO I would concentrate on the following on page areas
Keyword use in document title, Keyword use in H1 headline texts, Keyword use in H2-H6 headline texts, Keyword use in body text, Keyword use in bold body text, Keyword use in IMG ALT attributes
And for off page
Number of backlinks, Anchor texts of backlinks, Age of web site
Simply put you create a table with the information for the ranking factor
For the purposes of below the search term ‘Skoda Roomster 2015’ was used as the basis of the report on 03/03/2015.
For the document title we would compare the number of times ‘Skoda Roomster 2015’ was used as well as the density and in addition also look at each word in the phrase in its own right. We would also compare the total number of words used for some sections (like keyword used in body text)
In this instance ‘Skoda Roomster 2015’ was used between 0 and 1 times and it has a density of between 0 and 60%
‘Skoda’ was used between 0 and 2 times and has a density of between 0 and 22%
‘Roomster’ was used between 0 and 2 times and has a density of between 0 and 20%
‘2015’ was used between 0 and 2 times and has a density of between 0 and 40%
If we combine the above we would be looking for between 0 and 5 instances of any combination of key phrase parts with a density of between 0 and 27%
The above looks complicated but it means a phrase like ‘Skoda Roomster 2015 an honest car buyer’s review’ guide would be fine but something like ‘Skoda Roomster 2015 Black Skoda Roomster 2015 red’ would likely to be over optimised.
In an ideal world you would try to hit on the high side of acceptable values, but its important not to go above them as you may be seen as being either spammy or over optimised.
This methodology can be used for any on page ranking factor.
With most top ten site especially with Google, off page factors play a large role in ranking well.
Specifically Google trusts older active domains and generally the more inbound links your site attracts the better, but this is not the whole story.
Use off page information as a way to identify where there is weakness but don’t aggressively look to address it. By creating inbound links to your site in an unnatural way, search engines like Google will often detect this and issue a penalty. This can result in a lot of harm going forward.
In some cases Google will advise if you have had a penalty imposed it is actually easier to start fresh with a new domain.