Does Your Site Deserve a Top
Ten Search Engine Ranking? (Part 1)
Donald Nelson, copyright 2005
“Can you get my site a top ten
ranking in Google?” Many people ask this question to search
engine optimization professionals, but how many people have
ever asked them selves whether their site “deserves” a top ten
ranking in the leading search engines?
Look at it from the point of view of the search engines and
the users of the search engines. The search engines are trying
to offer the best possible matches for queries that people
make, and the searchers want to see the most relevant sites in
the first page of results. So, is your website really among
the ten best in your field? Before you answer the question
here are a few things to consider.
1. Are you an industry leader? Be Realistic. If you are a
one-man or one-woman outfit working from a computer in your
basement, you may not be able to provide the same services,
information and products as competitors who have larger,
more-experienced and better equipped staff.
Although, the search engine robots do not “know” that you are
a new start-up operation, the differences between industry
leaders and beginners is usually reflected in some of the
parameters that search engines measure, and more often than
not, the well established firms wind up at the top of the
2. Does Your Site Look Good? While robotic search engines
can’t tell whether a site is pleasing to the eye, the human
editors who decide which sites get listed in directories, such
as the Open Directory Project, are definitely influenced by a
site’s design. If you want to compete with the leaders in your
field, your site will have to measure up to the standards set
by professionally designed sites.
3. Is Your Site Content-Rich? This is one of the factors that
separate the top sites from the others. If you offering ten
gift baskets for sale, while your competitor has two hundred
items on display, then his or her site will have more
references and links with the keywords “gift baskets” and this
will certainly be reflected in search engine rankings.
If your competitors have pages and pages of information,
articles and reviews about their products, while you have a
skimpy brochure-like website, then which sites do you think
will have the advantage in the rankings?
4. Is Your Website an “Authority” Site? An authority site is a
site that is recognized as an important source of information
in a particular field. It is often mentioned, and linked to by
other sites. Such a site does not have to go out and search
for links. The websites of the World Bank, United Nations,
American Cancer Society and Greenpeace are examples. You don’t
have to be this famous to be an authority site, but you should
have an industry-wide reputation for excellence.
5. Have You Been Around a Long time? A site that has been on
the web since 1996 usually has an advantage in search engine
rankings over a start-up. A site that has been on the web for
many years will have acquired more links and will probably
have built up rich content, and this will usually give it a
better placement in search engine rankings. You can check out
your competitors by doing a “whois” search and see when their
website was launched. The whois searches can be conducted from
the websites of the large domain-name registrars like GoDaddy,
Directnic and others.
I haven’t written this to discourage anyone from entering the
Internet or with purpose of asking the small sites to fold up
and let the big guys monopolize the web. Despite the
obstacles, the Internet offers a tremendous opportunity for
anyone wishing to spread ideas or do business, and, if you
“pay your dues” and work skillfully, the day will come when
your website will be among the top sites in your field.
In part two of this series, I will outline steps that you can
take to make your site “deserve” a top search engine ranking.
Nelson is a web developer, editor and social worker. He has
been working on the Internet since 1995, and is currently the
director of A1-Optimization (http://www.a1-optimization.com),
a firm providing low cost search engine optimization,
submission and web promotion services.
(The article above may be republished on websites or
distributed in electronic newsletters, or used in print media
as long as it is left intact and the author paragraph at the
end is published attached to the article)