How are pages ranked?

Search Engines have their own algorithms for determining the ranking of a page or site for a particular search term. There are common elements in most algorithms, however they all apply their rules a little differently. There are two types of factors in play with search engine rankings. What’s on the page still matters, but other factors  (like the anchor text used in the inbound links) are currently becoming more important for many search engines. The position of your keywords is very important.

If the keywords appear in headings, page titles, and other important spots on the page, a search engine will see this as more relevant than a page where the keyword appears once in the middle of the page. In addition to positioning, link popularity and other factors contribute significantly to your page’s ranking. Since there will usually be a good number of pages that have just the right mix of relevant keywords and position, link popularity makes a good “tiebreaker” for search engines to use when ranking pages.

Closely related to link popularity is “link relevance” and weighting. This means that a link to your “New York Real Estate” page from a page that actually contains those words is more relevant than a link from an unrelated page. The text used in the link itself is very important. Google’s “PageRank” system is the best documented, and most discussed, of the search engines’ link analysis methods. Basically, Google’s PageRank is a quality of web pages. Every page has some level of rank, and it flows from one page to another through links.

The amount of PageRank that flows from a page is divided between all the links on that page, which mean that the more links that point out of a page, the less PageRank flows through each link. PageRank comes to a page from incoming links. So the more relevant links you have pointing into your site, and the more popular the sites linking to you are, the better off you’ll be. The more pages you have in the index, the more PageRank you have within your site. As I’ll explain later, you can take some control of how PageRank flows within your site, which can help you boost the profile of your the important pages in your WordPress Blog.