The Irony: Great Content, Low Rankings

There are many aspects of search engine optimization (SEO) and page ranking that are not directly impacted by the content of a website itself. So if you’ve got great content but still have a low search engine ranking, there might be a few more things left to take care of.

What is a page ranking?

Page rankings are numerical values that depict how important a page is in the eyes of Google. The mathematical algorithm used to determine these rankings is dangerous to look at directly and may result in a migraine, but an easy way to visualize it is by imagining pages casting votes for one another. When one page links to or “votes for” another, it can affect page ranking, but the importance of the page doing the voting is also taken into consideration. In general, more votes from powerful pages makes for higher page rank. Google prioritizes its search rankings by considering both on-page optimization and off-page optimization factors.

On-page optimization

This usually involves formatting and emphasizing (bolditalics and underlining) certain words, using keywords properly, correct spelling and grammar and internal linking, just to name a few factors that are in your control.  The meta tags – also called hidden text – that search engines looks at include title tags, description tags and heading tags as well as the keywords that may be found in the url, content, and the alternative text of images.  Depending on the search engine, keyword tags may also play a role.

Off-page optimization

If you’ve gone to town with keywords and other on-page elements already mentioned, but your page rank is still suffering, than off-page optimization should be your main focus. For the most part, off-page optimization looks at links, links and more links, including links to and from social networks, from high ranking and authoritative publisher websites, one-way inbound links using keyword-rich anchor text, and niche directory backlinks – website directories devoted to only one specific topic – can help to boost your search engine and page rank, especially for those in highly competitive online categories.

Quick tips for more back links:

  • Develop an e-zine or newsletter which can be submitted to e-zine directories resulting in a free link.
  • Join forums specific to your web site’s subject matter and place your URL in your signature. This will build your web site’s presence and have visitors reference your site.
  • Submit to search engine directories – it’s another free link.
  • Create and publish articles with your URL in them and submit these to blogs or start your own blog. If it contains high quality and/or unique content, than other blogs may begin to pick it up and back link to you
  • Offer to guest blog on related industry sites with a back link to your site.
  • Buy and/or rent high quality links.  But be wary of this method, as the search engines are often able to identify which links occur naturally and which ones have been bought; placing a low or no value on bought links.
  • Offer to promote other website owners’ products/services on your site in exchange for a linkback.  Oftentimes, you have to give something to get something.  Just make sure that your website is in a related category.

There are other ‘linking strategies’ out there but your goal should be twofold: first off, to acquire and secure quality backlinks.  Second, to  ensure that the site’s linking to you are relevant and useful to both you and your audience.  After all, what’s the point of getting a clickthrough to your site only to have the end user find nothing of value at the other end?

Happy Linking!

About Writing Web Words Inc:

Based in Toronto, Ontario, we are a full service Content Development and Web Writing Company that helps small and mid-sized companies maximize the potential of their websites via Search Engine Optimization (SEO), SEO Copywriting, Social Media Marketing and other leading edge interactive marketing services.