How Google & Co. rank their search results is generally considered a mystery. For search engines, this is one of their most precious secrets. A whole industry called search engine optimization (SEO) emerged around this secret. SEOs try to look behind the secret and optimize web sites to the factors which they think influence the rating.
Rumors around the factors and their influence are quite unclear. A good guide through all those factors is “Search Engine Ranking Factors v2” from SEOmoz. It includes the opinions of 37 SEOs which are compiled to a collective and weighted ranking factor hit list.
The whole document is very interesting, but here are some of the most important factors as an overview:
The five presumably most important factors which influence rankings in a positive way:
- Keyword use in Title Tag.
- Anchor Text of Inbound Link.
- Global Link Popularity of Site.
- Age of Site.
- Link Popularity within the Site’s Internal Link Structure.
Besides beneficial factors, there are also things that can hurt your ranking. Here the five most important ones:
- Server is Often Inaccessible to Bots.
- Content Very Similar or Duplicate of Existing Content in the Index.
- External Links to Low Quality/Spam Sites.
- Duplicate Title/Meta Tags on Many Pages.
- Overuse of Targeted Keywords (Stuffing/Spamming).
As mentioned before, these are just opinions / speculations. But they are aggregated very clearly and not just single opinions. Anyway, as always when it comes to SEO, the fundamental hint:
Interesting content is most important, because only with strong content you are going to find readers apart from Google.
(via Basic Thinking)