Monday, March 23, 2009

Search Engine Optimization - Part II - Populartiy and Relevance

Why Google?
Google is the largest Search Engine in the world wide web accounting for 53.6% of searches compared to Yahoo!(19.9%) and Live Search (12.9%). Many other web search engines use Google’s technology, or have attempted to emulate it. For this reason we will focus our efforts on improving our ranking with Google. Our ranking on other search engines will also improve.

How Does Google Work?
Google uses two basic concepts to organize websites in search results, popularity and relavance. First, every page that Google looks at receives a PageRank, which reflects how popular that page is. Second, Google assigns a list of key words to designate what that site is about. Google will show your site if a search is relevant to the keywords on your site. Google combines these popularity with relevance with a user’s search to provide their search results.

Page Rank
PageRank is a mathematical model for gauging the popularity of any one web page, not an entire site. This distinction is important to keep in mind.

PageRank is calculated by giving each individual page on the internet an inherent "score". By linking to a second page, the first page “votes” for the second page, passing the PageRank value of the first page to the second page. If there are multiple links on the first page, the PageRank passed onto the second page is divided up amongst all the links.

Pages that have a lot of links to them have a higher PageRank. The higher the PageRank of the initial page the higher the PageRank of the receiving page. Sites with a large number of pages have an advantage because of the inherent value of each page in the site.

Google uses PageRank to determine which pages are more popular than others. Web pages with a higher PageRank are considered more popular than pages with a lower PageRank. These web pages appear higher in search engine results.

The goal is to increase the PageRank of the pages on your website. PageRank within your own site can be maximized by linking all pages on your website from all other pages. Increasing the number of internal links will increase the PageRank of all the linked pages. This must be weighed against having too many links on a page.

The other way to increase PageRank is to increase the number of links to your website. This way the PageRank of pages from other websites will be conferred onto a page on your Website. Conversely, it will be important to review the links on your site to external sites. If they are not necessary, get rid of them.

Google develops a list of key words for each page it looks at. These key words are words that Google believes are associated with this site, or hold meaning for what this site is about. The keyword list is based on two main factors. First Google looks at the words used on the page. Words that are used more often and words that appear closer to the top are given more weight. Second, Google looks at the text in links to your site, or links within our own site.

Search Matching
Google then takes a users search and tries to match the terms against the keyword list it has generated for different pages, and combines that with the page rank to generate its list of search results. A good page rank and a clearly defined keyword list are important for receiving a favorable search ranking.

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