SEO and Search Engine Rankings: What you should know

The phrase “search engine ranking” refers to the position at which a website appears in the results of a search engine query.

As part of SEO, keywords that a website would like to have high search engine rankings for are identified and optimised for. The intention is that the website will move to the top of search results when the targeted keywords are searched.

Search engine rankings can give an indication of how effective an SEO strategy is. A common misconception is that search engine rankings are a direct reflection of the success of the strategy in place, and that any change in rankings has an easily identifiable (and reversible) cause. In reality, a variety of other factors can affect search engine rankings, and it is important to be aware of these.

When Rankings Fluctuate

Fluctuations in search engine rankings are totally normal. Google, Australia’s most popular search engine, adjusts its search algorithm nine times a day. The search algorithm is the formula used to determine how search results are ranked. On top of this, search engines are continually adding and removing websites to their search database, and competitors for keywords are continually adjusting their SEO strategies. So fluctuations in rankings are to be expected – some months they will go up, some months they will go down.

When Rankings are Poor

Search engine rankings that are continually poor are a concern. But once again, this is not always because of the SEO strategy, although that is a possibility. It is really important to look into what else could be causing poor rankings prior to a complete strategy overhaul, as there may be other issues with the website that will make it extremely hard to achieve good rankings whatever the strategy is.

First and foremost, if a website is competing only for very high competition keywords, then search engine rankings will probably be poor, especially to start with. It is best practice to use keywords for which rankings are within the scope of achievement.

It is also important to remember that to prevent undesirable websites from ranking well, Google (and other search engines) penalises websites which don’t meet their guidelines. Three of the most important things to avoid are explained below:

  • Dead Links: It’s irritating and confusing for a user when they are directed to pages that aren’t active or are broken. It’s important to monitor the links on your website to make sure they are working, and going to the right place.
  • An Unclear Structure: The linking structure should indicate the hierarchy of content on the website. Additionally, if some of the pages on a website aren’t accessible from at least one static text link, site users can’t reach them.
  • Slow Load Times: Nobody likes to use a slow website. According to Google, “Fast websites increase user satisfaction and improve the overall quality of the web”. There are a variety of online applications that check load times for a website, such as Page Speed.

If your website has some of the problems above, or if you have any other concerns about your website performance and SEO, please contact Bang Online Marketing today.