The factors influencing rankings in search engines need to be understood, figured out and used in Search Engine Optimization. Without proper understanding of SEO you may not reach the desired results or just rely on chance. The Google algorithm for search results is kept secret but our experience, the experience of many people, SEO specialists and Google and Bing employes show the relation between your website and its placement in search results.
Which are the factors?
The factors influencing search results can be divided in 2 categories – domain name related and website pages related.
The influence of different factors according to Seomoz (as of 2011) can be viewed in the diagram to the left.
The results shown are:
– links leading toward a website page and their authority – 21%
– keyword inside the website content – 15%
– keywords in the domain name – 11%
– data showing the level of the pages in social sites – 7%
– level of the brand represented by the domain – 7%
– on page optimization factors – non keyword related – 7%
– web traffic toward a page – 6%
– on page optimization factors related to the domain name and non keyword related – 5%
Below are detailed analyzes of the factors mentioned.
I. Domain name related factors
1. Using keywords in the domain name.
How are the website keywords used in the domain or subdomain name? Is the keyword included in the domain name and what is its positioning in the domain?
The possibilities are:
1.1. The domain name is a keyword for example “keyword.com”.
1.2. The keyword is included in the domain name “abckeyword.com”.
1.3. The keyword is the first word in the domain name “keywordABC.com”.
1.4. The keyword is the subdomain name “keyword.abc.com”.
1.5. The keyword is the second subdomain name “keyword.123.abc.com”.
1.6. The keyword is an extension of the domain name “ABC.keyword”.
1.7. The keyword is at the same time in the domain name, subdomain and extension “key.word.com” or “key.wo.rd”.
The best choices are 1 through 4. The best and most preferred is 1. where the keyword is the domain name which case is considered a head start in the search rankings. 5, 6 and 7 are not a good choice. The domain name extension .com, .org, .info etc. has less and less influence in the search rankings.
The tendency according to SEOmoz from 2011 compared to 2009 is: the importance of using keyword/s in the domain name decreases. In June, 2010 domain names like “keyword.com” had 0.38 correlation with higher rankings. At the end of March, 2011 this number went down to 0.22 – one of the lowest so far.
2. Links toward the domain and the quality of the links
This factor includes the quality of the inbound links (the links pointing toward the optimized website). Here we talk not only about the links toward the site for example to page “www.test.com/A but for all the links pointing toward the domain *.test.com. This factor includes:
2.1. The quantity of inbound links with certain anchor text.
2.2. The importance/authority of the domain i.e. page rank, moz rank etc.
2.3. The distance form the trusted domains calculated by algorithms like TrustRank, mozTrust etc.
2.4. The quantity of unique URL links pointing toward your domain (dofollow and nofollow).
2.5. Is the content of the websites having links toward your website similar to your content.
2.6. What is the frequency of attaining inbound links.
2.7. Quantity of unique c-blocks from IP addresses (with rel=follow or rel=nofollow) which point toward your website.
2.8. Diversity of inbound links for example links from forums, links from blogs, links from news sites etc.
2.9. Inbound links from websites with high reputation.
The tendency is: latest research of the % “dofollow” links suggest that if a website has very few “nofollow” links compared to “dofollow” links what happens is that the website goes down in the search engine rankings. SEO specialists suggest that the reason for lowering the ranking is that Google suspects spam campaign.
3. Non keyword related on page factors regarding the domain name
Besides keywords and links there is other criteria search engines use for ranking a website.
3.1. Number of letters in the domain name, dashes, use of digits.
3.2. Unique website content.
3.3. Adding new content.
3.4. Website bounce rate – how long do visitors stay on the website.
3.5. CTR rating from the SERP search engines for the domain – how many people stay on the website and continue looking at different pages.
3.6. Number of errors found when the search engine robot passes through the website.
3.7. How old is the domain name.
3.8. The speed of response from the hosted domain name measured by the Google robot.
3.9. Number of 404 page errors.
3.10. Quality of other websites in the same C-block or IP of the hosting server.
3.11. Time left for the domain to expire!
The SEO specialists have concluded that the domain name length is important factor. It is not recommended to use dashes and digits. Another observation is that domain names that expire in less than a year are less indexed by Google, the indexing speed is considerably lower. The loading speed of your website is also very important. If your website loads slow when the Google robot tries to index it than your ranking in searches will also be lower. Avoid having pages not found or error 404! It is very important for your website to have unique content. Avoid duplicate content! Google places higher websites that are more useful, unique and easy to navigate.
4. Level of the domain brand
Here are included elements of the domain that show the quality of the branding plus data about the brand. This area is not very clear but representatives from Google and Bing share that the information for a website from Facebook and Twitter play a role in search placement. . This factor includes the following elements:
4.1. The brand/domain searches.
4.2. Number of mentions in news sites and social sites.
4.3. The quantity of data in the toolbar/browser for the use of the domain.
4.4. Wikipedia quotations about the domain.
4.5. Registration of business web sites in Google Places.
4.6. Official Facebook page of the website.
4.7. Official Twitter page of the website.
4.8. Official LinkedIn page.
4.9. Frequent mentions of the website in LinkedIn as an employer.
The tendency is that the number of shares and mentions of a domain in the news and social sites will have more and more influence in search rankings. More valuable are only the inbound links. The social shares and mentions increase the traffic toward your site which in turn helps for better search engine rankings.