Making On Page Ranking Factors Work For You
The way your web page is structured, particularly in regard to how you use your key words or phrase on the page (called on page ranking factors), is important for the search engine assessing your site. A site that is well developed for high search engine rankings has a far greater chance of being successful and having thousands of visitors find the page through search engines. That’s a great way to market your site.
On page ranking factors are part of that.
There are numerous ways to show your page in the best possible light and to realise the potential within that page. Let’s take a look at a few on page ranking factors:
Key Words In Headings
The usual on page ranking factor search engine optimisation technique right off the bat is using the key words or phrase in the heading tags. The heading tags go from h1 down to h6. I’d suggest using the key word or phrase in the main heading (h1) and then sprinkled throughout some of the sub-headings.
Having said that, always be aware that people as well as search engines will be reading what you write on the page – so not only does it have to be effective at what it is doing in terms of search engine optimisation, but it also must be reader friendly. Keep that factor in mind.
Google assigns a percentage weighting to each word in the heading – so keep your heading short and sweet. A page being optimised for the term “mini ipods” should have an h1 heading such as “Mini ipods Sale”. 66% of the words within the h1 header are the target term.
If you made the heading “We have a great sale on mini ipods here at Joe’s Store. Visit today for the best deals on the planet. Buy today and save!”
- That’s 25 words.
- Only 2 are the target term.
- That’s just 8%.
Remember, the shorter heading had a weighting delivered of 66% for the h1 header. That’s much, much more effective and will affect the search engine ranking of that page.
On Page Ranking Factor – Key Word Density
Key word density refers to the number of times your key word shows up within the page. Let’s say you have 100 words on the page and 8 of them are the word “ipods”. That’s a key word density of 8%.
The theory being with key word density is that the search engines, to a certain extent, use key word density as a way to assess the relevancy of the page. So in theory a page with a key word density of 20% is more relevant for that key word than a page with a key word density of 15%.
Sounds pretty basic right? Well, not quite so simple in practice.
If that was the case, then all you’d need to do to improve your page ranking is to have a huge key word density – heh, why not just optimise a page for the term “ipods” and have nothing but the word “ipods” on the page!
Nice in theory, but not so hot in practice. The search engines needed a technique to curb this key word stuffing of pages and use various ways to stop it. Think of it like this, a search engine will look at a web page and say to itself, “Okay, we’ll make the key word density limit for this term 8%. Any page that goes over that gets a penalty.”
That’s one easy way to stop key word stuffing of pages.
My recommendation: anywhere between 2-8% is usually good. Your key words or phrase need to sound natural otherwise your search engine placement will be for nought anyway. (I’ve seen successful pages with key word densities of 18%+.) On page ranking factors are important, but so is the end readability for your visitor.
Key word density isn’t a biggie for search engine analysis these days. Just put your key words throughout the page and make you copy sound as natural as possible. That’s the best thing to do.
Key Word Positioning
But does the position of key words within a page impact on its rankings? My firm answer is a “Maybe just a fraction.”
I used to worry about key word position, but over the years have come to believe it plays a very, very small part of the assessment process. I’d use the key word or phrase as the first words in the first line and repeat a few times in that first paragraph. I’d then sprinkle the key word throughout the body copy a little, and then move on to the end where I’d finish off by mentioning the key word in the last line.
I didn’t do that entirely for the search engines – though at the time I believe it helped rankings. I was doing it because I believed it made more sense to the visitor finding that page. My thinking was that to have the key word used strongly at the start of the copy would make him read on safe in the knowledge that he/she is on the right track. He/she would then find the key word in the middle and then at the end.
All pretty natural and all pretty easy.
But I don’t believe that key word position makes much of a difference for the search engine assessment… if any at all. After all, most sites have a left side navigation which means that within the source code the copy containing the key word is pushed further down the page.
(And yes, I’ve tried using the key word at the top of the left side column with no difference in the rankings of that page.)
And then there is…
Key Word Proximity
This refers to how close your key words are together and, naturally enough, does impact on the page assessment.
For example, let’s say you were searching for that term again “mini ipods”. If the word “mini” appears at the top of your page and 324 words later the word “ipods” appears, then the search engine is probably going to decide that this is not really a relevant page for the term “mini ipods”.
But if the words “mini ipods” are together, then the search engine will see that as being relevant for the person searching for mini ipods.
If you are optimising a page for numerous phrases then things get a little trickier. For example if you’re optimising for “gold coast accommodation” and “gold coast hotels” then you might like to mix up your copy a little.
Let’s say you write something like this:
“Gold Coast accommodation here at XYZ Resort is just great. The sun, the surf, the good times. Hotels like ours have all the facilities you need for a great stay.”
That’s good, but keeping in mind key word proximity it may be a little more effective like this:
“Gold Coast accommodation here at XYZ Resort is just great. Gold Coast hotels like ours have all the facilities and accommodation you need for a great stay on the Gold Coast.”
See how we’ve got the phrase “Gold Coast hotels” closer together. You might also notice I’ve managed to get a secondary go in there with the term “accommodation” and “Gold Coast” fairly close together in the second line.
Like key word positioning, key word proximity isn’t a big aspect of page assessment, but every little bit helps.
Boldly Going Where No Others Have Been Before
This bit isn’t really going boldly where none have been before but it made a good heading!
There’s long been a debate amongst search engine specialists regarding the use of bold, bullet points, italicised text and underlined text and if doing those things to text actually impacts at all on page assessments.
I know that bolding text used to have an impact and I’d assume that making text stand out – and thus give it some increase importance over other text on the page – is an indicator for the search engines that this word or phrase is an important part of the page.
I’ve always bolded, italicised and
text purely from the readability perspective.
It’s simple. When you break your page up with
- bolded text,
- italicised, and
- bulletpointed text
your page is far easier to read.
And if something is far easier to read the visitor will be more likely to stay and read. And if they like it they might read something else. Then they’ll start to trust you and your site. Then they’ll be more likely to take the action you desire – whether it’s a sale, a donation, an newsletter subscriber… etc.
Use your keywords in bold, use them in italics, use them in bullet-points. Don’t overdo it because your focus needs to be on the readability of the page. And remember, if it sounds silly to the reader he won’t continue reading.
(I very, very rarely underline text in an effort to make it stand out because my experience is that most people will assume that underlined text is a link. I know I do. And I also know I get frustrated when I click on a ‘link’ to discover it’s just underlined text.)
Naming Your Page
Naming your page seems to have some effect on search engine assessments – it used to be a lot more. Remember that search engines don’t recognise the words when they are together like this: onpagerankingfactors.htm. But they do recognise on-page-ranking-factors.htm as seperate words.
Having a key word rich name – such as www.on-page-ranking-factors.com – used to be very useful but the relevancy has diminished significantly these days. And not having a key word rich domain name can be offset to a large extent by naming your pages the proper way anyway.
Again, not a major aspect of page assessment these days by the search engines but it is worth naming a page with the key word because:
- it doesn’t take any extra time,
- it makes sense to the person reading your site, and
- it may be slightly advantageous for your search engine ranking.
Okay, that’s the basics of on page ranking factors. Hope you’ve found it useful.