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Top-10 Search Engine Ranking Factors

 By Hector Cisneros

Image courtesy Pixabay

If you’ve been working the web for anytime at all, you’ve undoubtedly seen some major changes in the landscape of search engine marketing.  Heck, you may have been one of those website owners who found their listing on top of Google one day only to wind up being lost in Cyberspace the next.  The problem with search engine ranking is it changes so fast it’s hard to keep up with every warp and weave to stay current for any length of time.  Of course, that’s just what search engine operators want, to make it as tough for you to generate organic ranking as possible.  This way you’ll be forced to pay to play if you want to keep generating significant amounts of traffic.  If that’s what’s bothering you, I thought I’d take the time today to teach you ten things you need to know to give your website a fighting chance to generate a page-1 organic listing.

       1.      Meta Tags – I know it sounds kind of old school, but meta tags still count when it comes to search engine optimization.  These are the codes that tell search engines everything from the keywords that are relevant to your site to identifying the images that are present on every page.  If your web designer didn’t take the time to fill in the blanks when it came to your site’s meta tags, you’re basically shooting blanks.  The best way to view the hidden code on any site is to right click before clicking “View Source”.  This will bring up the html source code on any page.  If you see open parenthesis where it reads Meta Description, Meta Keywords, <TITLE> & Alt=” “, you need to fill in the blanks to improve your SEO.

       2.      Which keywords are key to your business? – Take care when it comes to choosing the keywords that best describe your business.  That means you need to research long-tailed keywords as well as short.  If you own a real estate company, the worst key phrase you can choose is Real Estate.  Why?  Because this term is too broad to be of strategic use to you.  Use it and your chances of coming up on top of the page are slim to none.  Better to use terms like, Real Estate Jacksonville Beach, or Condos for Sale Jacksonville FL. Also make sure these keywords are part of your webpages content as well. If this is missing, it lowers the value of your Meta Tag keywords.

      3.      What’s in a name? – Another way to move up in a keyword search is to purchase a URL that’s keyword-sensitive.  By that, I mean if you own a business located in Atlanta that makes widgets, consider purchasing one of the following URLs:,, or It also makes sense to put these URL name in the content of your pages for consistancy.

Image courtesy Pixabay

      4.      There’s no law that states 1 url to a customer. – This means it’s perfectly legal, not to mention tactically savvy to create multiple websites for your business. Face it, unless your business sells only one product or service, your main website is way too busy to achieve a high search engine rank.  The best way to overcome this issue is to create a targeted website for each and every product or service you sell.  The trick to making this work so you don’t get penalized by Google is to make sure that each website is unique.  While you can use the same branding, you need to make sure you don’t carbon copy every site’s contents or they’ll all be viewed as serial sites which will hurt your ranking.

      5.      Are you taking a nap when it comes to your NAP? – Another big no-no to Google is failing to report your correct Name, Address, and Phone Number.  I’m not just talking about the info on your website either.  If you have listings on other directories where the NAP doesn’t jibe with that of your website, this will adversely affect your local listings on the world’s most popular search engine.  If you’ve recently changed your business name, address, or phone number, make sure you update the NAP on every directory your business is listed on.

            6.      How to literally put your business on the map. – When you do a Google search, you’ll notice a select group of businesses sometimes appear on a map at the top of the page.  This is called a local 3-pack listing.  The reason it’s important for your business to appear in the 3-pack is due to its drawing power.  The best way to put your business on the map is to make sure that your NAP is correct, your keywords are selected with care and your business is registered on Google My Business.

           7.      Google My Business – Unlike other SEO parameters that are gleaned from your website, you need to register your business on GMB.  The way to do this is to go to and hit the START NOW button.  This will bring up a form that asks you for the name and location of your business, as well as the kind of business you do.  The listing is free, but it works best if you fill out all the details completely and correctly.  Make an error in your URL or fail to activate options that allow Google to communicate with you or you with those surfing your site and you just shot yourself in the foot.

          8.      Is your website mobile-friendly? – Believe it or not, more people use smartphones and tablets to surf the web than they do computers.  This means your website needs to use html5 or higher code that allows websites to reconfigure their architecture for any size screen.  Since 2015 it has also meant that if your website isn’t mobile-friendly it will adversely affect your search engine ranking.  If you haven’t had your site updated in more than 5-years, it would be a good idea to look into getting a web makeover that will dramatically improve your ranking.  If you aren’t sure if your site is up to snuff, try viewing it on a smartphone.  If you have to use your fingers to scrunch the page down to read it, it isn’t using html5 (or it wasn't designed properly).

      9.      Everyone has an opinion. – That’s why online reviews are important to every business.  If your business has negative reviews or no reviews at all, this will almost guarantee your absence from page-1.  If you have precious few positive reviews while the competition has dozens, guess who’s going to come out on top in the highly competitive arena of search engine ranking?  If you want to make your business stand out on any search engine, you need to make it a priority to encourage your customers to post positive reviews.

     10.  Have your fed your social nets lately? – Being listed on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social nets is one thing.  Feeding them is another.  If your social nets have few followers, that’s probably because you aren’t posting enough information that’s relevant to their needs.  Not only do consumers rely on social media to communicate with business owners, they also use it to judge which businesses to do business with.  So too do search engines rely on a business’ social presence (and ratings) as one of their key ranking factors.  Want to see your business move up on the search engines?  Start feeding your social nets on a daily basis with quality, relevant, useful and authoritative content.

I hope you decide that your ranking is important because it is vital to internet marketing success. If you follow these ten tips religiously, your will move up in search ranking. Your success will depend on how diligently and consistently you exercise each rule. Failing to follow these tips will always lower your ranking, so roll your sleeves up and get to work.  If you find your having trouble implementing these tips, call our office or email me and lets see if we can help you out. 

That's my opinion, I look forward to reading your.

Hector Cisneros is COO and Director of Social Media Marketing at Working the Web to Win, an award-winning Internet marketing company based in Jacksonville, Florida.  

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