Search Engine Rankings For Dummies

Is SEO just supposition and hypothesis?

Much of what is surmised as being important about search engine rankings is hypothesis and supposition and experience. Test, Analyse, Repeat. Test, Analayse, Repeat.

And that is what makes it hard if you are new to SEO, or you are responsible for your company website and you don’t know anything about SEO.

So what I would like to do is break it down into simple terms and apply a dose of common sense and help you come up with an action plan to improve your Search Engine rankings and maybe even get you to that magical number one ranking.

What factors really matter in SEO?

It is my experience that there are really only 2 factors that matter when it comes to rankings – RELEVANCE and AUTHORITY.

Now the trick really is, is how do the search engines decide what is relevant and how do they decide what has authority?

STEP 1: SEO is about having relevant content


Content that is relevant to what your likely customers would type into the search box when they are looking for you or your product. In SEO terms these are keywords. Alot of my clients that have had existing websites have suffered in their search engine rankings because their content is only vaguely relevant to what searchers are looking for.

The biggest hurdle to overcome with content is to take the content that is relevant to your business or product, and make it relevant to what searchers are looking for?

Where do you put the Content?

Lets just say for a moment that I am a search engine robot and I am crawling your page to find out what search terms it might be relevant for?

The first thing I might look at is the url (page address). And I find that this is ‘yoursite’ might give me a clue as to what is relevant, but all those numbers don’t really relate to anything that a searcher types into a search box. However if I was to find, now I might have a better idea what your site is about.

Now (in my robot role) I am going to scan through the content on your page. Oops, I can’t read any of it. It is all images and javascript and flash and I can’t see any of that. Sorry but I can’t really help you with that. And I have lots of other sites to visit so I’ll come back later.

Oh, hang on there is text and html code here and I can read that. So in terms of important things, page headings are pretty important, bold text is pretty important, text that links out to other pages is important, and finally general content is important. These are the places that you want your keywords.


OK, so there are lots of theories as to how a website gets authority, but let me ask you another question.

In real life, how do you decide if someone has some authority?

  • If you knew they had a large amount of knowledge in a particular area that would give them authority.
  • If you knew they had a large amount of general knowledge that would give them authority.
  • If they were wearing a uniform that would give them authority.
  • If they were recommended by a large number of other people.
  • If they were recommended by someone you thought was important.
  • If they had lots of experience (age) in a particular area that would give them authority.

In my experience it is not much different as to how a search engines decides which sites have the most authority.

Does this site have a lot of relevant content that relates to this search?
Does this site have a lot of content, some of which relates to this search?
Is this site recommended (linked to) by alot of other websites?
Is this site recommended by anyone important?
Is this site older? (more experienced)

So, in terms of authority the best ways to make your site more authoritative in the search engines eyes are to get more links to it (expecially from important websites) and to create more content for your site.

Action Plan for Search Engine Rankings

  1. Research what is relevant to searchers and decide on your keywords.
  2. Create content around these keywords
  3. Incorporate the keywords and content into the important parts of your website
  4. Make sure the robots can read your content
  5. Get more links to your website
  6. Create more content around your keywords.
  7. Rinse and repeat.