Friday, May 9, 2008

Thinking like a search engine

Search engine algorithms are as secret as the recipe for Coca Cola. We can kind of figure it out, but if we do, the competitive advantage disintegrates.

After years of work with natural search engine optimization, here is my understanding of how a search engine thinks and how crawler evaluate page content:
  1. If the same word appears in the title, meta description, meta tags alt-tags and
    between 5 – 10% of the body content, then this is probably what this site is about.
  2. If this information appears in the headers of pages and paragraphs, it is probably an indication of important content.
  3. If this same word or phrase occupies more than 11% of the content, the web site is perhaps using suspect means to trick the search engine into higher page ranking and therefore the site should be “demoted”.
  4. If the content contains synonyms that relate to the most frequently used keyword or phrase, this page most likely deserves a higher ranking.
  5. The most frequently used words or phrases on the front page of the web site are probably the strongest indicator what this site is about.
  6. If this site gets a lot of traffic, it is probably a more important site that deserves a higher ranking.
  7. If other highly ranked sites link to this site, it is likely a site that also deserves a higher ranking.
  8. If some of the content changes regularly, it is probably a more important site.

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