Before the internet existed, where would you go to find the kind of information that today—thanks to Google—is just a click away?
For example, assume you wanted to know the difference between the legal principles of actus reus and mens rea. If you were a student, you might have considered asking your parents, but that probably wouldn’t have been the best call—unless your father just so happened to be an attorney. If you had a law firm nearby, you might hunt down a seasoned lawyer for the answer. Conversely, you could head to a library and peruse the shelves for an introductory law book. In each of these examples, you’re weighing the credence of a given authority. The closer the connection of your knowledge source to an intimate understanding of the law, the more likely your answer is reliable—or, in other words ‘authoritative.’
Determining Authority—From a Search Engine’s Perspective
Fast forward to the modern day, where search engines do all of the aforementioned legwork for us nearly instantaneously for virtually any topic you can think of. They accomplish this herculean feat using intricate algorithms to locate, analyze, and evaluate the content of countless websites. They then match the most relevant—or authoritative—pages with users’ search queries.
Google and its competitors utilize numerous of independent data points when weighing authoritative quality and content relevance. The search engine’s software first reads and analyzes the content and associated features of a webpage and then associates relevant keywords with page and the underlying search term. Next, the search engine’s algorithm will review the page’s language, format, and structure to determine how close of a fit it is with the search before analyzing external signals it uses to validate and quantify the page’s level of authority on a certain topic. These external signals are called “links” and are the equivalent of scholarly citations when it comes to search engines—meaning the more links, the better.
Google got a leg up on the search engine competition by developing an efficient link analysis algorithm to establish a workable ranking system. The main principle behind this groundbreaking advancement was that the internet is premised on the idea of countless documents interlocked with each other by links. Theoretically, then, the more a given page is linked to by third-party sites, the search engine’s algorithm considers it more authoritative and lists it at the top of its search results.
Link Relevancy Carries Weight
But not all links carry the same weight. One of the primary factors that influence how big of an ‘endorsement’ a link carries is relevancy. Consider a page on a site that is selling running shoes. Imagine that it receives an external link from Runners World magazine. That link would be considered highly relevant and carry a lot of weight when it comes to search engine rankings. On the other hand, imagine a link to those running shoes from Food Network magazine. Is that a relevant link? Not so much. Accordingly, this link wouldn’t influence the running shoe’s site ranking factor nearly as much.
Anchor text also plays a big part when it comes to a given search engine’s evaluation of a site for the purposes of ranking it amongst results. Anchor text is the highlighted portion in a link that can be clicked on to open the target web page. It assists Google’s algorithm in confirming what topic the content on the page receiving the link concerns.
Trust is Earned—Not Bought
In order to attract relevant links and thus increase your website’s ranking amongst potential search results, you need to garner trust from sources that will want to link to your website. You can accomplish this by assisting others on social media channels, responding to inquiries on your company’s social media posts, attending conferences, and providing informative presentations (not thinly veiled sales pitches).
Don’t know where to start? Don’t worry—the experts at Geraci Media have you covered when it comes to upping your search engine ranking. We’re a full-service marketing, communications, and design agency created for the purpose of enhancing your company’s brand. Our dedicated team of experts will work with you to create the perfect SEO plan custom-fit for your business in a hassle-free, efficient manner. Get in touch with us today online or give us a call at 949-379-2600.