When ranking a site for a keyword, search engines look at a number of “on page factors”.
- meta descriptions
- Keywords on the page
- Text links
- Alt tags
- How many internal pages link to the site
- How are the pages before the page and after the page optimized
- How relevant to the keyword is the page and the site
All of these factors have an influence on placement and in the hands of a good search engine optimizer can be combined in some mixture of art and science to achieve great results.
When we begin an optimization job we often start at the back of a site and work our way to the front so we can see recurring patterns on the site. Because the search engines do not do well with nuance and alternative meanings it is important to look at each page and see that it is clear to the engines. Are the important ideas in a heading tag? Are their text links to other relevant pages in the site?
We go through a site several times over the course of an optimization process in order to be sure all of the on page factors are placed where they need to be and that the page is clear to engines and visitors. We are checking to be sure the title matches the text on the page, and the meta description is not only enticing to viewers but contains a keyword phrase or two.
Many times a very important page is buried deep in the site. It can be difficult for people to find it as well as engines. We make sure that page is linked from the front page and from every relevant page within the site. We want Google to find it easily. If a page is linked from the front page Google ranks it as more important than one found as a link on page three.
Then we go through the whole site again looking for any opportunity left on the site. Successfully optimizing a site is a process of continuing to change, wait, measure and change again.
But it is a lovely thing when it finally all comes together.