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My post yesterday discussed how if a site was more useful and had a bigger brand presence than all its competitors, Google really should be ranking it higher.
The problem is that most of the time it doesn't.
The way Google works is it uses a model known as PageRank to decide which sites are the most important.
PageRank is a system of counting links to a website as votes - in general, the more incoming links a site has the higher its PageRank and the more Google will trust the site.
Once Google has decided how much your site is trusted, the algorithm looks at the content of your pages.
If you want to rank highly for a search term such as “News” you would need to include the word “News” in key areas of your page such as the page title, h1 tag, page content and maybe in the alt text of certain images.
Another signal Google uses to rank pages is the anchor text of the links pointing at your website.
For example, if E-consultancy wanted to rank highly for internet marketing, it would need a lot of incoming links with the anchor text “internet marketing”.
Including all the elements to rank highly for your target keywords is quite straightforward and you can often look at the content of pages that already rank highly for clues as to how they are structured.
The difficult aspect of SEO comes from attracting enough incoming links to reach trusted status with Google.
Of the hundreds of ways a site can attract links, the best are natural citations from other trusted sites.
For example, if your company was to carry out some research linked from the online versions of all the major newspapers, the trusted links you gained would have a huge effect on your rankings.
Conversely, if you were to build your links by submitting to low quality general web directories, the chances of you ranking highly would be extremely slim.
The lesson to be learned is that once you understand the signals Google uses, it as almost a matter of online PR rather than technical SEO ability that will determine your sites rankings.
Of course, technical SEO ability will always have a place but if you can successfully and consistently market your site using the press and even popular blogs your chances of ranking are very high indeed.