If you are a Small Business Owner you need to understand how Search Engines View and Rank Websites. Only then can you go forward with analyzing your site and methodically making improvements. Obviously, the better optimized  your pages, the higher they will rank, and the more visits you will receive.

Atlanta Web Pros | Website SEO Tips | Understanding Search Engines

There are two main parts to search engine optimization. These are on the page SEO and off the page SEO. Search engines will reward sites that have the right combination of ranking factors. Below is a list of the major items for on the page SEO. They are content, HTML, and architecture.

On the Page SEO


  1. Content quality – Getting quality content is the #1 key and it must be compelling in order to get your visitors to take action.  Get them on the site, then get them to take some action.
  2. Well researched keywords* to find your content. This must be researched before you even write the content.
  3. Actual words and phrases used where you would expect to find them.  Many people fail to do do this.
  4. Bounce rate* –  how much time people spend on your site.
  5. Freshness of quality – talking about hot topics. (Engaging and Useful Content)


  1. Page titles – do HTML title tags contain the keywords on the page that you want to be found for.
  2. Descriptions – do your meta description tags* reflect what the page is about?
  3. Headers – do your headers* and subheads use relevant keywords


  1. Can search engines easily crawl your site – your site layout needs to be logical, and have a good site map*
  2. Does your site load quickly – you need to be sure and optimize your graphics and images and not use really large files.
  3. Are your page names relatively short and do they contain meaningful keywords for your page topics

Off the page SEO


  1. Link quality – these are links that come from high quality and trusted websites*
  2. Text links – this refers to the content of the text that is linking to your site – using your relevant keywords
  3. Link number – are there a lot of sites referring to your website?


  1. Reputation – are the links to your site from high quality social sites like Facebook?
  2. Content sharing –  do a lot of your friends share your content on their social networks?
  3. Trust – do the links and social sharing come from trusted authorities, i.e. quality websites?
  4. History – has your website been around for a while operating in pretty much the same manner?


  1. What country are you located in?
  2. What city or local area are you located in?
  3. Do you have regular visitors to your site?

If you are a small business owner and you are not the webmaster, then understanding these very important ranking factors will help you communicate with your webmaster or developer. Any developer should understand the importance of these concepts.

If you have a quality website that is a content management sytem then you will be likely doing much of this yourself.  If you have a blog, then you are going to want to go through these steps before you post
your content.

Keep in mind that no one but Google and the other Search Engines know how these factors are weighted. For example, Content may count for 60% of the on the page SEO, while architecture may count for 20%.

*Keywords – these are the words that you want your site to found for.  For example “auto repair”.

*Bounce Rate – A measure which determines how long visitors stay on your site.

*Description Tags – These are coded into your website and do not show on the page.  They tell the search engines what your page is about.

*Headers – These are the paragraph headings that describe what follows in the next paragraph of text.

*Sitemap – This is a file in your directory that Google can go to and see exactly how your site is structured. Every site should have a sitemap.  There are tools to generate these for your site automatically.

*Trusted Websites – These are generally pages with a high Google Page Rank. Page rank is Google’s measure of their subjective view of your site ranging from 0 (no rank) to 10 (highest rank).  More than 95% of the pages on the web have zero page rank. You can search for “Google page rank toolbar addon” for your browser or you can check any sites page rank by clicking here.