This was highlighted in a rather quirky and fun way recently when I caught up with some friends and in the course of the conversations that were happening across and around the table, I asked a question that no one was able to answer, so one of the group said “Hang on, let me ask Lord Internet” so she subsequently pulled out her iPhone and “Googled” the answer.
I remember years ago before search engines came to light before the mid 1990’s that if you wanted to find information and do research it was off to the local or university library to find what you were looking for. Scanning the key card indexes and then walking up and down the bookshelves was integral to study and consumed so much time and energy.
Generation “I” (those that have grown up knowing nothing but the “Internet”) take the Web for granted just like eating and breathing and know nothing about how difficult and time consuming it was to track down important and relevant articles and books that you needed to write those essays.
Early search engines like Altavista in 1995 provided search results that opened up the world to finding information with speed and quantity that was frankly amazing. The issue was that the results that were served up in the early days of search were not often relevant and sorting out the information you wanted from the enormous amount of data was very time consuming with the relevant websites and information not often at the start of the search but buried at page twenty.
So, to give you some SEO help, here are 5 Key factors that modern search engines use to serve up what you want and often provide it on the first page.
5 Key Ranking Factors
1. Key Keyword Focused Anchor Text from External Links (Anchor Text is the visible, clickable text in a hyperlink. In modern browsers, it is usually blue and underlined)
2. External Link Popularity (External Links are hyperlinks that point at (target) any domain other than the domain the link exists on ..eg the source).
Today, the major search engines use many metrics to determine the value of external links. Some of these metrics include:
- The trustworthiness of the linking domain.
- The popularity of the linking page.
- The relevancy of the content between the source page and the target page.
- The anchor text used in the link.
- The amount of links to the same page on the source page.
- The amount of domains that link to the target page.
- The amount of variations that are used as anchor text to links to the target page.
- The ownership relationship between the source and target domains.
Note: In addition to these metrics, external links are important for two main reasons:
3. Diversity of Link Sources (links from many unique root domains)
Explanation: Domain names are the human readable Internet addresses of websites. Root domains, which are identified by their domain names, have extensions such as .com, .org, .net, etc. (Ex. http://www.example.com) Subdomains are a lower level component a root domain and precede the domain name. (Example. http://subdomain.domain.com)
A “Root” domain is the top level hierarchy of a domain. Root domains are purchased from registrars. The following are examples of root domains:
A “Subdomain” is a “third level” domain name that is part of a larger, top level domain. For example, “blog.example.com” and “english.example.com” are both subdomains of the “.example.com” root domain. Subdomains are free to create under any root domain that a webmaster controls.
The two most common subdomain choices are:
- http://www.example.com (www is the subdomain)
- http://example.com (has no subdomain)
4. Keyword Use Anywhere in the Title Tag
(A title tag is the main text that describes an online document. It is the single most important on-page SEO element (behind overall content) and appears in three key places: Browser, Search Results Page and External Websites.
5. Trustworthiness of the Domain Based on Link Distance from Trusted Domains (e.g. TrustRank, Domain mozTrust, etc.)
Explanation: mozTrust quantifies the trustworthiness of a web page relative to all of the other web pages on the web. It is based off of an algorithm developed by Yahoo! search engineers that is likely similar to the trust algorithms used by Google and Bing search engineers. Just as links express global link popularity, they also express information about the trustworthiness of URLs. Receiving links from sources which have inherent trust, such as the homepages of major university websites or certain governmental web pages, is a strong trust endorsement. By measuring the occurrence and frequency of these endorsements, mozTrust can quantify trust on the web.
Note: These 5 Key Ranking Factors are Courtesy of Seomoz.org click on the hyperlinks in each of the 5 points to get a more in depth explanation
Google and other search engine’s are constantly fine tuning the importance of different key factors that make search relevant.
One of the most recent additions to these key factors has been created by the popularity of Twitter with its real time search which has brought a new factor into play called “Recency”.
I don’t know if you have ever done a search for a phrase or a key word and an article from 2 years or even 5 years ago appears high up in the results and even on page one. This can be quite irrelevant especially in a world where information from 12 months ago be quite irrelevant.
Google has in recent months starte to integrate real time Twitter tweets in its search engine results as an option and sometimes as a default if the term or phrase is a high traffic term such as “Tiger Woods”
Real time search engine Sency has just announced that it has launched the capability to let users find out what people are saying right now from 13 major US Cities.
In addition to letting the user search for what’s being said inside an actual city for a given keyword, Sency for Cities will also show the 10 most talked about topics right now in a given city.
The 13 cities included in this launch are: Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, San Antonio, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington DC.
There are many potential uses for Sency for Cities, here are a few of them:
- Sports fans can now see, in real time, what people in their city, and rival cities, are saying about a given team or player.
- When a new movie, commercial, or product launches; businesses can now see how the sentiment from the public differs in each of the major cities.
- When there is an important event or breaking news inside a major city – anyone can see how people inside the city, whom are directly affected, are reacting. This can be compared with what outsiders are saying from cities not directly involved with the breaking news or event.
- The current hot topics for a given city can show what is happening and being most talked about in a city right now. This can introduce new events to users while highlighting the topics that a city is buzzing about right now.
More information can be found at Sency
Another factor that is starting to emerge as being important for search is location with Twitter making an important announcement about its direction regarding this at at its recent “Chirp Conference”.
According to Search Engine Land
“Twitter’s geo-location play is the Trojan Horse of local search. With Twitter’s points of interest feature, the game is finally afoot. Essentially this means that Twitter will need to create a page or profile for each local business. While it will be cool to see the Twitter stream and the accompanying links, photos, tips, reviews and other info that accompany these geo-tweets, sooner or later (methinks sooner) Twitter is going to want to add standard yellow pages listing data to these profiles to round them out and make them truly useful.
Of course these pages, like other Twitter pages, will be indexable by search engines and because of the amount of content they amass over time, they will start to command a serious presence in the SERPs (see Is Foursquare The Future of Local Search). In fact with the integration of real time results in the top search engines, Twitter pages could show up in both the real time section and the organic section for a query for a local business. Not a fun prospect for other sites that are vying for this traffic.”
So do you think that “recency” and “location” will become more important for you as a user of search engines in making search more relevant?