Major SEO Factors Influencing The Search Engine Rankings And Web Visibility


June 21st, 2011

Google says that there are more than 200 ranking factors varying in degree of  importance. Some of the most important SEO factors which we focus upon and which we think are quite influential for SEO results are as follows:

On Page Factors

The on-page optimization ensures that the content of the page which the user can view is indexed by the search engines too. Due to proper indexing the site gets associated with that content in such a way that it can get ranked high for the search queries targeting the content of that site.

  • Meta Data:

Metadata is information about data.The tag provides metadata about the HTML document. Metadata does not get displayed on the page, but is machine parsable. The tag always goes inside the head element.

  • Title Tag : 

According to the W3C:

‘The TITLE element is not considered part of the flow of text.
It should be displayed, for example as the page header or
window title. Exactly one title is required per document.’

From the user perspective it should give an idea about the content on that page and from the search engines perspective it is the most important piece of meta tag in the head section.

The title tag gets displayed in the visitors browser and also is displayed in the search results. The directory editors and people who link to you also use the titles and it also gets saved when a visitor adds it to its favorites.

The ideal length of the title should not exceed 70 charaters and should have the most important keywords in the beginning of the title.

  • Description Tag: 

The meta description is a brief summary of the content on the page. Again this tag is also useful from the user perspective and from the search engine perspective. The search engine displays the content of this tag in the search results after the title and the content thus displayed influences the searcher to click or not to click the search result. Hence the CTR (Click Thru rate) Is to a large extent depends on the way a title tag and description tags are framed.

Ideally the length of the tag should be upto 170 characters and should have the keywords targeted for that page in the content . Again the keyword prominence and keyword priority are very important factors to keep in mind while working on the content of the description tag.

  • Header Tags 

Header Tags H1, H2, H3 should be used in the HTML code. That is an additional logical piece of content which can be Keyword rich as per the content of that para and also mark the content as main paras and sub paras with appropriate headings (H1) and sub headings (H2).

  • Image Alt Text (Logo, Banners, Other Images) 

Images speak louder than words but that is for the user , the search engine bot can hear what is being said via images only if you have added the appropriate Alt Text to it which describes the image and adds valuable content to the page via images. The image names should also describe the image in a short precise manner.

Google and Bing both have image search hence if the image URLs rank in image search option of the search engine it becomes an additional route for targeted traffic in addition to the quality content which the bot indexes which is the text for the image. The image source should be embedded in the HTML and not in the CSS.

  • Content (Static , As per User Preference and User generated) 

Everyone has heard this “CONTENT IS KING” , Quality content is what is important from the SEO perspective.But what is quality content?

Content that is relevant and gives information about what the page is all about is considered as quality content. Relevance and writing from the user perspective is more important than focusing on keywords . This content can be static, dynamic or user-generated. The only thing you have to be sure about is that this content can be indexed by search engines.

  • Navigation Menu Bar 

The navigation menu bar includes the links to all the other pages on the site hence this is one way to give the info. about the URLs on your site to the search engines besides the sitemap.xml file that you upload. Ideally there should be a link to all the other pages from each and every page and the links should be text links with ordered lists used for drop down menus rather than javascript.(Flash is a strict NO-NO)

  • Footer 

The footer is the last piece of content that the search engine bot will read. Ideally the most important links to the site which the user would like to access once he has reached the end of the page should be put in the footer and ofcourse the links to social media accounts and preferably the address too on each page. (PLEASE DO NOT STUFF THE FOOTER WITH KEYWORDS. THAT IS A VERY CHEAP SEO TACTIC)

  • Links to Social Media Accounts

Since search and Social Media have got integrated the need to give details about your social presence on the social media sites like facebook, twitter, youtube,etc . is a must as links from these accounts to your site and links from your site to these accounts sort of prove the authenticity and the ownership of the accounts.

Moreover, I suggest to open accounts on trunk.ly , klout.com, peerindex.net and other such sites which measure the influence of your social presence, associate your account to your niche industry and also keep a record of links shared by you giving a certain online persona to your social presence.

All the data collected by these sites allocate the authority and trust to your social media accounts and thereby the domains linked with these accounts on the basis of correlation.

  • Contact Page and the About us Page 

Local search has never been more important as it is now. Your contact page should have the address , telephone nos , Fax Nos, Email ids and all other contact details preferably in a hCard microformat if you want to get the benefit of local search. Secondly if you have a presence in more than one country then you can have more than one hCard with different ids. So as to get search presence on more than one country specific domain of Google.

The About us page gives information about your company and should rank for the brand search so try correlating the importance of this page to establishing a brand identity. This page should have the details about the team and the mission, vision and values of the company.

  • SEO Friendly URLs 

SEO friendly URLs mean that the URL itself should denote in 2-3 words what the page is about . For e.g www.yourdomainame.com/category/product-name.html this gives an idea to the user and also the keywords associated with that page get some additional boost. Usually all CMS offer this option.

Off Page Factors

Once you have taken care of the on-page factors , off-page factors are all about the factors which determine your popularity, social influence, authority, trust and thereby allocate a certain online reputation to your online presence.

  • Inbound Links 

The inbound links determine your popularity but again the quality , topical and authority links give add more value than the quantity of links. Its better to have 5 good quality relevant links rather than 5000 irrelevant , non-related links.

We have written about our views on Link Building On Our Previous blogposts :
http://www.webpro.in/pagerank-obsession-patience-perseverance-and-seo/

http://www.webpro.in/how-to-re-engineer-the-existing-inbound-links-for-better-seo-benefit/

http://www.webpro.in/inbound-links-and-seo/We are of the opinion that links should get built as a part of the web journey of the site but if by putting focused efforts you get authority links then more the merrier.
  • Social Presence (Trust And Authority) 
According to Wikipedia:
Social media are media for social interaction, using highly accessible and scalable publishing techniques. Social media use web-based technologies to transform and broadcast media monologues into social media dialogues. Andreas Kaplan and Michael Haenlein define social media as “a group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0, and that allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content.” Businesses also refer to social media as user-generated content (UGC) or consumer-generated media (CGM). A common thread running through all definitions of social media is a blending of technology and social interaction for the co-creation of value.Hence social media sites offer a two way conversational platform which offers a fair opportunity to voice opinions and feedbacks to both the parties involved .There are many social media sites but Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, YouTube and Blogs are widely used by the netizens. These sites are a good tool for effective online marketing and networking.Your social presence is your voice on the web. SEO is what you say about yourself social media combined voice is what people say about you and when they both are in sync. Your credibility is established.

Duane Forrester’s (From Bing) View On Social And Search Integration. http://www.seomoz.org/blog/smx-advanced-duane-forrester-from-bing-talks-social-schema-markup-and-honey-badger-whiteboard-friday

Technical Factors:


  • Page Download Speed 
  • Bounce Rate 
  • Click Thru Rate (See Description Tag Above) 
  • Engagement of the visitors on the site 
  • Time On Site 

Apart from the direct on-page and off-page factors there are certain metrics which can be tracked to monitor the progress of the site and at the same time tell a lot about the technical excellence of your site which again impact the user behavior and also influence the search engines for rankings.

In their last Inside Search Event http://blog.webpro.in/2011/06/google-announces-instant-pages-search.html Google made it loud and clear that speed is something Google is obsessed about Google wants to make the search experience and browsing as smooth and as fast as like flipping a magazine and even avoid the delay of 5 secs. which usually is the case when a query is entered and the search results are displayed. Speed is a very crucial factor as the user experience depends on how fast a page get downloaded whether it is a desktop or a mobile device.

If the page downloads fast > people tend to view more no. of pages > which means a low bounce rate > which also means more time on site > If the site has more engagement i.e if people are buying on the site, writing reviews or commenting on certain posts then they are showing interest for the content and it further denotes that it is a user friendly quality site.

All the factors mentioned above work together and in unison to influence the rankings. On-page optimization lays the foundation stone for the edifice , the off-page optimization influence the popularity and affect the stability and improvement of the rankings achieved and the technical factors influence the user behavior and thereby rankings in the long run.

All this cannot be achieved in a day. SEO is an ongoing process and the website needs to be further tweaked and tuned as per the changing algos. of the search engines in order to adapt the site to the changing scenarios so that it can withstand the algoquakes and maintain the visibility.

Related Links On Our Blog For Social Media:
http://www.webpro.in/integration-of-social-and-search-results-in-serps/

http://www.webpro.in/is-social-media-the-new-marketing-mantra-or-just-a-fad/

http://blog.webpro.in/2010/08/who-should-manage-social-media-in-your.htmlhttp://www.webpro.in/the-right-approach-to-social-media-with-a-focus-on-twitter/

http://www.webpro.in/social-media-marketing-and-the-online-presence-of-your-business/&

About The Author

Founder of WebPro Technologies a Web solutions company based in India which focuses on building quality web presence for businesses. Bharati Ahuja is a SEO Trainer and speaker, Web Entrepreneur, Blog Writer, Internet Marketing Consultant.

Website: http://www.webpro.in/about-bharati-ahuja/

Digital Marketing Agency India