Traffic…it’s what we all need to survive online and offline, and if you hear the words traffic, you’ll also hear the words, ‘keywords’ and ‘keyword phrases’.
What Is A Keyword?
When you target specific words or phrases, you have a better chance at making your website rank in the search results. The words you are trying to rank for are called keywords.
A keyword can be defined as a particular word or phrase which describes the contents of a web page. It effectively sums up the main topic of that page.
Think of keywords and keyword phrases as clues for the search engines (Google etc.) If you write your content well, the search engines can tell what your content is about.
They do this really well. Their software is incredible, so just take my word for it that they know what your page is about. So they will index (place in the SERPs – Search Engine Result Pages) along with all the other webpages trying to compete for the same keyword or keyword phrase.
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How Does Your Rankings Compare To Others?
In this way, the page of your website gets indexed and listed with other pages that discuss the same ‘keyword’. However, how do you get your web page ranking above others which are discussing the same thing? Well, your ranking improves, or plummets, due to a few variables, and one of those is backlinks.
Anyone who knows me well, would have heard me say, that starting a new website is like setting up a store in the middle of the desert. Until such time as there are ‘roads’ (backlinks – links from other websites using your target keywords helps) leading to the ‘shop’ there will be no sales…nothing. No roads = No rankings = No traffic. Simple.
What Is A Backlink?
- Backlinks are important if you want to rank your site on the front page of Google and the other search engines.
- They help determine the relevancy and popularity as far as particular keywords and search terms are concerned.
- Backlinks are incoming hyperlinks from one web page to another.
- These can be internal links (from one of your website’s pages, to another page on that same site), or external (a link to your web page from somewhere other than your site).
- Throughout this article I am using hyperlinks to my other webpages.
Have you ever clicked on a link on Facebook? I’m sure you have! Perhaps a friend of yours mentioned a movie trailer or preview that sparked your interest. They included a link so you could ‘Check it out!’ When you clicked on that link, you were taken off Facebook, and sent to the page where that movie trailer was located.
You followed a link to another website…it was a road on the web! Your friend created a backlink from Facebook to the movie trailer you watched.
How Does This Help Search Engines Rank Content?
When ranking nearly identical content, the page with more relevant backlinks will almost always outrank similar pages with fewer relevant backlinks. The most backlinks wins! (Usually….good quality ones do, not hundreds of spammy ones.)
Think of this as a popularity contest. Imagine an instance in which search engine spiders are crawling the web for content, and they come across 2 similar pages discussing the benefits of organic foods. They check out the code, text, images, videos, meta-tags, and everything else that makes up both of those pages. They compare what they found with the rankings they have already developed for other pages concerning the same topic.
If they can’t find some way to rank one of those pages higher or lower than the other, they begin to study the backlinks for those pages. One page may have 100 backlinks from social media sites and other websites talking about organic food. If the second page only has 20 back links from relevant pages, it is going to be ranked lower in search results than the page with more backlinks.
Search engine algorithms consistently prioritize backlinks as a very important part of the ranking process, including internal backlinks. This is important! Look at Wikipedia and see how they use keywords and keyword phrases to link internally…they are masters at it!
How Rankings Are Determined
Search engine algorithms change all the time. The people at Google will tell you they go through roughly 250 to 300 minor and major changes to their search algorithm every year!
So don’t try and workout the hows, whys or what happened or you’ll go nuts. Just keep doing natural steps…not tricks and schemes…keep posting good quality, original content…and get good rankings.
It can be difficult to keep a handle on exactly how rankings are determined, however, keep on track, stick to your keywords and keyword phrases and don’t confuse the search engines! If your website is about topic A, don’t start filling your site on topic B, C and D! Stay focused!
Although ranking algorithms can change over time, certain metrics are viewed as important year after year as far as search results are concerned. However, that’s another ‘keyword’ topic I’ll cover soon! 😉