Search rankings aren’t all about PageRank. Even Google will tell you they
have many, many "signals" that are measured to rank a page. The same is true for
other search engines — and has been a fact of SEO life for years and years. But
what are all these signals and factors? Some are known, some are speculated on,
and some change all the time.
Engine Ranking Factors now up from Rand Fishkin at SEOmoz is a diligent
rundown on factors that could influence how well a page does.
Rand stresses that
exactly what is used and how important is impossible to know. That’s crucial to
remember. I skimmed his list, and some of the stuff makes a lot of sense that
I’d agree with. Have good title tags, absolutely. Have good use of the terms you
want to be found for in the body copy.
Other things, I’m not so much in agreement with. I don’t think external links
are crucial for a page to do well, but that’s my view and experience. Keyword
use in the URL is a extremely minor factor to me — I’d give it half a box or
even less, if that was an option. He also stresses too much to me the idea about
links coming in to your TLD or your root domain.
Search engines by and large still say they are (and seem to be) operating
under the notion of looking at pages individually. They don’t really seem to try
and understand what your entire site is "about," though Yahoo did say about a
year ago that having many links at your root domain could help boost your
It would be fun to see all the factors listed so that a community of SEOs
could rate how important they are deemed to be. Overall, it’s fun to look down
and certainly will give you plenty to think about. But you’ll also realize how
difficult it will be to get exactly every piece "right."
In fact, you won’t. You’ll get many things wrong. So how do you win? I still
fall back on making sure you have some of the best content you can offer, built
in search engine friendly manner. Build it — and don’t put up search engine
barriers — and for many people the traffic will indeed flow.