Staying on Top: How Do Search Engines Rank Web Pages?

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Now that your business has set up a website, the next important thing to do is to make sure your site ranks well in search results. To be found in relevant searches is to acquire qualified leads and higher chances at conversion. But, exactly how do search engine rank web pages?

In this blog, we outline the ways search engine rankings work, things you can do to improve your ranking, and why getting decent rankings should be a priority.

How do search engine rankings work?

The main job of a search engine, such as Google, is to cater to the needs of searchers.

To carry out this important task, a search engine will first crawl the internet for content from websites and webpages, and then store and organize these content/data in an index.

This index or storehouse of data and content will exactly be where the search engine is going to source search answers from. And to have your website or web pages displayed in search results, these have to be visible to the search engines first of all.

Now, what does it mean to be ranked in search engine results? When an internet user does an online search, the search results will display a specific order or ‘ranking’ of sites and individual pages. The order by which sites are displayed or ranked is correlated to their relevance to the specific query.

Thus, the higher your website shows up in Google search rankings, the more relevant Google considers your site to be for the specific search terms you are trying to rank for, among other considerations.

Ways to improve search engine rankings

The next important question that needs answering is, “how do I improve my rankings in search engines”?

A crucial thing to understand is that top search engine ranking does not happen in a snap. Not only does Google make changes to its ranking parameters every now and then, search engine optimization — or the process of making your site accessible to the search engines — is also an ongoing process.

But while there isn’t any instant formula that can magically pull your website up in rankings, a few changes could lend to positive results. In one of his blogs, digital marketing guru Neil Patel enumerates the various ways you can improve your rankings without penalties. Some tactics include ensuring your site is mobile friendly and performing detailed keyword research constantly.

And yet, some websites do encounter ranking challenges from time to time. The key is to constantly monitor your ranking stats as well as to avoid some of the pitfalls that could affect your rankings negatively.

Possible reasons why your rankings could drop

Just because you’ve ranked well for months or even years doesn’t mean these rankings could not tank. The good news is that you can always do something to improve your rankings and become visible in result pages once more.

So, what are some factors that could adversely affect rankings? There’s an article published over at Search Engine Journal that enumerates some of these risks:

  • Using outdated keywords
  • Poor link profile/lost links
  • Google algorithm updates
  • Possible Google penalties
  • Location inconsistencies
  • Website competition
  • Website redesign
  • Slow page loading speeds

Why should you care how search engines rank web pages?

Specifically, why should you care whether Google ranks your web pages or not?

Statista has published their report on search engines’ market share from 2010 to 2020, where Google earned the lion’s share of the pie with 87.35%. As for search engine Bing, it was able to nip 5.53% of the search market worldwide.

Plus, there are at least 2.3 million searches done on Google every minute — and more than a few of these searches may actually be queries for products and services similar to what you’re offering. Imagine if your website were on top of the search engine result pages instead of buried deep in a pile of non-ranking sites.

The role of SEO or search optimization cannot be overemphasized. Done the right way, search engine optimization can lead to invaluable organic traffic channeling into your business site. Organic search accounts for 51% of all web traffic, with paid search trailing only at a mere 10%.

The importance of monitoring

Good search engine rankings are not a one-time thing. In addition to understanding the ranking algorithms of search engines, such as Google, you also need to be constantly updated on changes to these algorithms. In a Google Algorithm Updated outlined by Moz, Google actually made 3,234 updates to their search parameters in the year 2018 alone.

Also, your search engine rankings could plummet or rise depending on factors such as keyword relevance, site speed, organic and paid traffic conversions, and domain age, among others.

Thus, it pays for business owners to keep on their toes at all times, especially where website ranking is concerned.

After all, ranking matters

Ranking plays a role in conversion. Ranking and conversion affect overall online business success in the long run.

Not sure how to improve the ranking of your web pages? Partner with a digital marketing agency that can work on your rankings, leaving you more time to focus on your business as you should.

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