SEO Fundamentals That Rank Your Website
The easiest way to understand SEO is to relate everything to everyday life. Normal, regular, logical stuff. While trying to explain what a search engine – alright, Google – considers as SEO fundamentals that rank your website, I thought of the encyclopaedia. (Or, as some say, encyclopedia.)
When I was kid in junior school, a guy came around the house trying to sell my mom the Encyclopaedia Britannica. She fell for his superior sales pitch – or maybe because she thought the salesman had the cutest dimples – and bought the thing. All volumes.
And because we only had state-run TV with educational programming about agriculture, I read the “EB”. All volumes.
We – everyone that is – believed everything we read in the EB. Why? We knew it was run by educated and authoritative people who researched everything they wrote about.
And because the volumes were arranged by the alphabet, it was easy to look things up. If you wanted to know more about “woolly mammoth”, you went to W and there it was.
So, what are the SEO fundamentals that rank your website?
Let’s reduce that to a set of attributes:
- Relevance: you could get to whatever you needed to look up, in a linear, logical manner.
- Trust: The Encyclopaedia Britannica was something you trusted. You could quote them in an argument and win; and also make yourself look good for having been able to quote them.
- Authority: They reeked of authority. You never once thought to yourself, “Ah, what do they know about Aztec basket weaving? They’re only a blog.”
There you have it… relevance, authority and trust are the SEO fundamentals that rank your website.
This is what Google looks for in a site. The point is that Google wants to be seen as someone that people trust. So they look for websites that they can send their searchers to that they can trust.
But Google is a piece of software that needs to make judgement like a human, so they have all sorts of basis and formulas (called “algorithms”) that help Google classify what a website is about and if it can be trusted. So, if you Google “woolly mammoth”, Google will serve up a number of search results of practically all websites that have some information on the subject. The sites that Google’s robots have given high marks to, will get served up on the first page and it’s all downhill from there for any other websites that are not on Google Page 1.
So, all savvy website managers will optimize the sites for Google. They try to make sure that site is relevant and that:
- the information about the site which is contained in the title, the keywords, the page descriptions, etc., explain themselves to Google
- the content in the site is top notch (these days, Google even checks for grammar, usage, reading level…)
- the technology used on the site is good so that when Google sends people to the site, they don’t have a bad experience
This is called SEO.
How? Let’s outline how Google and other search engines check for each of the attributes.
Authority: They determine this by reading the content on the page and links. Once they have read the content and checked it for relevance and language quality, they check to see how many other websites have links to it.
They believe that if other websites link to yours, your content must be worth talking about.
But to make sure that you don’t get lots of links from a bunch of nonsense sites, they check how many other websites have links to the ones who link to you and how many to them and it goes on infinitely, they would have us believe. Also, links from authoritative places, like .gov or .edu websites will give your site higher marks than regular .com websites.
So no matter what people say about SEO – and unless there is a seismic shift in everything – links rule.
Relevance: If your website is all about sprockets, you are never going to rank when people search for Kim Kardashian’s soulful selfies, no matter how hard you try to say it. Likewise, links. If your website is about ball bearings, if you get a link from Industrial Materials Times, it will be considered a high value link.
But the way, Google also reads the text that links to your site. This is called “anchor text”. For example, if the link to your ball bearings website is contained in a sentence that reads, “…this interesting expose on ball bearings by Joe Bloggs really takes the lid off the mystery of smooth mechanical movement…”, and this sentence appears in a website about mechanical things, you will receive high marks for relevance.
So, zap your resident SEO genius by asking her about anchor text and be a dude, not just a CEO.
Trust: It’s a little of all of the above. The more a site that links to you is trustworthy, the more its value to you.
So, there are your most desirable attributes : fame, money and power. I’m kidding… the key SEO fundamentals that rank your website are: trust, relevance and authority.
(SEO for CEOs resources: Domain Authority and Page Authority from Open Site Explorer Citation Flow and Trust Flow from Majestic SEO, Domain Rank and URL Rank from ahrefs.) And there’s this interesting tool that helps you determine links to your site. According to their site, Linkio is a link building management platform that helps SEO teams use data to plan their strategy and provides workflow management for monthly activities.