The Impact Of Website Content Characteristics On Search Engine Rankings

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“Most users usually examine only the top 10 websites in a search engine results list and only 1% of users check beyond the third page of a search engine results list” – Zhang & Dimitroff, 2005.

The characteristics of webpage content are factors that need to be considered when seeking to improve a website’s ranking in search engines. When considering a website’s efficacy, some website moderators may split hairs over font types and colours, while neglecting the fact that there are many more features that extend beyond the visual properties of a website and these are the ones that have a far greater impact on the page’s ranking. With reference to the results of Zhang & Dimitroff’s 2005 study, an analysis of their work can give guidance as to which areas to focus upon in conducting a successful SEO campaign. In their paper they explore content characteristics of webpages (such as keyword position and duplication and layout, and their combinations) and how these factors may impact webpage visibility in a search engine. Each category that was selected was identified as a factor that may affect the return position of a search engine.

To understand the results, the details of what these categories represent must be understood. Our next SEO TV video, and article focusing on building successful landing pages, explores in greater depth the importance of keywords and how exactly they can affect your search engine ranking.

Having an example of a keyword and highlight its position in the page
Keyword optimisation and placement on a website is very important as it is a determining factor when Google ranks your website. As we can see from Travelfish’s website – a popular travel site for South-East Asia – we can see that they have optimised the keyword ‘travel’ in a way that is not distracting for readers. They’ve included the word travel not only key in the URL and in their name, but also in their logo, which means that the picture is optimised with the word ‘travelfish’ and ‘travel, but also in a short description and in their body content. By including the word travel many times in different areas of the website, Travelfish is one step closer to ranking on google

Highlight a combination of keywords on a page
When thinking of your keywords to optimise, also consider various combinations of your keywords both in the title and the body. As we can see from popular website ‘Intrepid Travel’ they have incorporated their keyword ‘travel’ in many different ways. While they have done it in the standard way of URL, heading and body content, they’ve also created multiple keyword combinations – including ‘small group travel’ , ‘connected by travel’ ‘travel deals’ ‘love travel’ and ‘travel inspiration . By doing this, they are now even more likely to match with more search queries, making it more likely for them to rank on Google. 

Highlight visual cues listed below
When designing and optimising your website, also factor in the layout of your homepage. While search engines are ‘blind’ to the visual aspects of your website, it is important that the layout is user friendly. Visual cues like the logo, primary navigation and a hero image are also important aspects to consider. Furthermore, including teasers and links to more content is also important to include – not only does it make it easier for users to find additional content, but it also increases the time spent on your website and more than generates more page views.

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