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Search Engine Optimization: Information Pages for Good Search Engine Ranking

by Terry Plank


To determine search engine ranking, search engines ("SE's") use complex and proprietary algorithms, specific criteria to determine rankings. However, they keep their algorithm secret for competitive reasons and to prevent people from spamming them.

What all this means ?

What are some criteria SE's use for determining your search engine ranking?

  • Prominence of the keyword searched in the viewable text

  • Frequency of the keyword searched in the viewable text

  • Site popularity; how many other sites link to a particular page

  • "Weight" of the keywords: the % of keywords to the total # of words

  • Proximity of keywords to each other

  • Prominence & frequency, keywords in the <TITLE> tag(s)

  • Prominence & frequency keywords in the <META NAME="DESCRIPTION">

  • Prominence & frequency of keywords in the <META NAME="KEYWORD">

  • Keywords in the first full sentence of the page with more weight given to a <H1> tag

  • Keywords in the <A HREF=""></A> link tags

  • Keywords in ALT tags (Make sure they accurately describe the graphic or it's spamming!)

  • Keywords contained in the URL or site address, e.g.,

  • Grammatical correctness and natural-sounding word patterns

  • Use of formatting, repetition, and word arrangement that could be considered as spam.

  • Each engine has lower and upper limits for each variable and criteria. This protects it against spammers, and it's why simply repeating keywords will not work!

Other factors that influence search engine ranking:

  • SE's have different agreements with directories and other programs that affect your ranking. And, some Web sites use techniques that are not acceptable to search engines but still get a higher ranking for their sites

  • Overture and a few others place sites according to your bid.

  • Some SE's rank sites higher that are in Open Directory Project and Yahoo.

  • Serving a special page to the engine and a separate page to the viewers (cloaking) is considered spamming a search engine.

How can you learn more about these criteria for determining search engine ranking?

Begin your research to improve ranking by evaluating your competitor's sites, look for the ones that have good ranking and study what they have done to get it.

If you want a more systematic approach to learn about optimization use software like our optimization software GRSeo Search Engine Optimizer.

By studying the search engine ranking of a website, it's possible to come very close to knowing how a particular search engine ranks pages and then be able to create pages that rank well. But, it's not possible to know the exact formula with 100% accuracy and there are other factors that cause a particular page to be ranked high for the chosen keyword phrase.

Next, you'll want to create Web pages for your site that are "organically" optimized from the beginning with an eye to how SE's rank sites. Then test these pages on the web and see what search engine ranking you can product.

In the end, organic optimizing of your pages is sometimes not enough to deal with differing SE criteria use. Creating special pages to rank well for keyword phrases and for specific SE's may require some special pages. These are commonly known as doorway pages or gateway pages. We prefer to think of them as information pages, more about that later.

What are information pages?

An information page is simply a page that targets a particular keyword phrase that is also search engine friendly. An information page can be used for many different reasons:

  • To optimize for an "appropriate" keyword phrase that the text of your site can't accomplish adequately.

  • To provide good text pages for a site that uses Flash or graphics instead of good text pages.

  • To explain to a specific SE that you are relevant for a particular keyword search, appealing to the particular idiosyncrasies of each search engine's algorithms.

Let me explain more fully.

A good Web site is designed to attract visitors to the site and influence them in ways you hope will inform or cause them to respond. However, what's good for communicating with people is not always good for communicating with a search engine.

If you have a Web site that relays primarily on graphics and uses little text, uses a database and creates dynamically generated pages, has highly competitive keyword phrases, or that deals with a wide variety of general topics, chances are that your pages will rank poorly on search engine rankings.

This creates a serious dilemma. How do you make Web pages that are both pleasing, useful, and logical to humans, that work for your development and maintenance of the site AND that presents your keywords to SE's in such a way that they will recognize the relevancy of your page for these keyword phrases.

Creating good content Information Pages are one strategy for solving these troubling dilemmas.