What exactly is the search engine rankings? By definition, it’s the position a URL gets on a search engine results page. The word ‘gets’ is significant here, because no other entity but a search engine itself decides this ranking based on what is commonly known as a search engine algorithm. And the URL has to literally pass through a litmus test to get a favourable position on a search engine results page (SERP).
Index: Basics of Search Engine Rankings
Every search engine, be it Google, Bing, Yahoo!, etc., uses its own unique algorithm which decides the rank of a URL. So a website that ranks at say position no. 3 on the SERP on Google may only get to position no. 7 on say the Bing SERP.
Moreover, different language versions of the same search engine may have different rankings for the same URL.
The higher the ranking of a URL on search engines, the more traffic it will get. Every URL strives to achieve that number one ranking on the SERP. Even if it manages to get to the top five results on the SERP it’s an achievement in its own. This is because, with countless URLs in the fray, competition is really tough up there.
According to various studies, close to 95% of traffic go to URLs that rank on page 1 of Google search results. And, as we know, Google is the king of search engines (it draws a whopping 89.43% of worldwide search traffic.). So every effort to get to that number one ranking on Google SERP for targeted keywords is worth the deal.
Well; search engines don’t leave much, so to speak, when it comes to how they decide upon the URL rankings. This is because algorithms are governed by intellectual property laws of the land and the world. However, for certain aspects that are assumed through sneak peeks, SEO experts play a significant role to sustainably influence these rankings.
As we know by now, almost all search engines use very complex algorithms to decide the SERP rankings. For instance, Google uses an algorithm that comprises more than 200 ranking factors. A few prominent ones of these factors are: number of back links, number of internal links, meta-descriptions, URL structure, page load time, keywords and the ultimate one, content.
You may as well go through the top five ranking factors article to know more about a few of the ones listed above.
Ranking of a URL is the ultimate quantifying factor to determine the success or failure of the SEO process. The most significant aspect to influence rankings is keywords used on the basis of understandings of the business. However, as the business evolves and products and/or services are updated, these keywords need to be updated as well, so does all the SEO elements based on these keywords.
Even if of-late there has been no significant change in the product portfolio of your company, relevance of keywords need to be looked into periodically. Review of URL rankings, on weekly basis, can be one such approach. A prominent factor affecting the ranking of URLs is algorithm update by search engines.
For sure SEO plays a significant role to sustainably influence these rankings. However, with search engines (most notably Google), introducing SERP features like Knowledge Graphs, Maps, Advertisements, Videos, Google Ads etc., organic results have moved down the organic results. As a result, ranking among the top 5 results alone may not be enough to get the desired traction.
So, what’s the solution for this problem? The solution is paid search advertising, popularly known as pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns. These results, labelled as ‘Ad’, occupy the most prominent of places on the SERP. This marketing technique can enlist the URLs of a site at the top tier of SERPs. Requirements are a high-quality ad campaign and at least during initial going, generous pocket of the web site owners. This is because search engines calculate ranks of ads in an auction with bids for the same keywords from various competitors.
Most notably, Google considers the following factors to determine the ad rank:
Rankings of URLs may change overnight. For a website to be sustainably successful, what’s required is a carefully thought-off strategy with which all its sensitive ranking factors can be examined and, if need arises, acted upon efficiently. The role of SEO and ad experts should be at the center of such strategy.