How many search pages do you go?

By | April 14, 2006

The BBC(via Slashdot) reported on a study that says that not only do people generally stop after page 3 of the results, but that 62% click on a result from the first page.

I guess I didn’t see the results of the study as anything groundbreaking. I personally will very rarely go to the second or third page of a search. If I don’t find what I’m looking for within the first page or two, I usually revise the search terms and try again.

So what does that mean for businesses? Bloggers? Anyone with a webpage? Time to brush up on your SEO. That’s Search Engine Optimization for the uninitiated. It’s the method by which you optimize your website for best search engine rankings. Have you ever done a search where the first page was completely unrelated to the topic that you searched for? It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen. Each search engine has it’s own algorithm for search results, but it basically boils down to two things.

Content and Authority.

Content is exactly that. The content of the site. It is based on the proliferation of the searched keywords in the articles, titles, and links of a given site. Say you run a website on computer hardware and repair. Say you also specialize in corporate computers. Obviously, you aren’t going to write articles on the breeding habits of the greater American Snipe. Your articles and article titles are likely to contain certain keywords that relate to corporate or enterprise computer hardware and repair. The quantity and quality of those keywords will affect how highly a search engine ranks you for a given search on “corporate computer repair”.

So what is Authority? Authority is a search engine determined quantity. Again, each search engine determines it a little differently, but it basically boils down to a determination on how authoritive the rest of the world sees your work. A majority of the search engines weigh the number of inbound links to your URL heavily. The longer your site exists, the more links it will amass. The more informative your articles are, the more links it will amass. Doing a search for something like Apple, Microsoft, or something product specific where the product is generally only supplied by one maker will result in the maker for that product being the number one result in the search. A perfect example is Microsoft Windows. Doing a search with any of the Windows versions in the search terms will generally give Microsoft.com as the top result.

So how do you go about making your site appear in the first 3 pages of search engine results? It won’t be easy and there are other things that are taken into effect besides content and authority. But those are the best places to start. Add as much content to your site as possible on your topic. As your content volume expands, so too will your search ranking. Gain authority. Write informative content and links will start coming in. Ask for links from other sites that are in the same field but in a different specialization.

Take as many steps as possible. Do as much as you can without breaking rules. Hiding text(text the same color as your background) and keyword flooding(repeating the same keyword 13 times in a 15 word sentence) are no-no’s. Time is usually on your side. The longer your site has existed, the more likely your ranking will increase.

[tags]SEO, Search Engine Ranking, Ranking, search ranking, search, optimization[/tags]