What Do Search Engines Look For?

When optimizing your website for search engines such as Google, Yahoo and MSN, it is important to know what they are looking for. If you spend a lot of time developing a web page without considering what search engines are looking for, you are potentially wasting your time.

While search engines evaluate many criteria, the two main factors used when determining a website’s importance are content and links.

Content is King

One of the most important things you can do to improve your website in the eyes of the search engines is have fresh, unique content. In order to keep their customers happy, search engines need to provide the most relevant and up to date information. If the search engine results pages (SERPs) are filled with spam or low quality sites, users will not continue to use that search engine.

As a result, search engines want to make sure you have fresh unique content on your site before presenting it to their users.

When a search engine spider crawls your page, it is looking at the frequency and amount of keywords on your web page. It is looking at the amount of repeated content as well as duplicate content. It also looks for any new content that has been added since the last time your page was spidered.

To keep the search engines happy, you should avoid duplicate content on your website.

Make sure the content on your website is not found anywhere else on the Internet. You can check this by using a site such as Copyscape. If you are using content that is on someone else’s webpage, you can be penalized in the search engine rankings.

The frequency with which your site is updated is also an important factor to search engines. If your site has not been updated in several months or even years, there is a high likelihood that the information presented is out of date or no longer relevant. If you consistently update your website with new, unique content, you will gain an advantage over other sites that update less frequently.

Links, Links, and More Links

It’s no secret that search engines look for links to your website when evaluating it’s importance.

Simply put, the more links you have coming into your website the better. There are other factors even more important than quantity however. The quality of the sites that link to you as well as the type of links that are found (one-way links, two-way links) and also important to search engines.

If you want your website to rank highly in search engine results, make sure you are consistently updating your website with new, unique content and are continually getting other quality websites to link to you. Slow and steady wins the race.