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Search engine ranking factors: place your keywords smartly

There is a lot of stuff written about doing your keyword research and writing quality content, but not much about where you need to place your keywords. So what are the factors you need to know to get better search engine rankings?

What factors?

Basically, there are several kinds of search engine ranking factors that control how high your site rises in the SERPs. They can be called as internal and external factors. (Factors listed below follow in a relatively precise order of weight with the search engines.)

Internal ranking factors

Internal (or on-page, on-site) factors are the ones that you can change on your website. On-page factors are:

  • page titles
  • body text
  • anchor text
  • headings (<h1>, etc)
  • page (site) URL
  • emphasized/italicized text
  • external link anchor text

There may be additional onsite ranking factors, such as alt and title attribute, etc., but it is doubtful they play a significant role in positioning your pages. At any rate, it should be wise to use alt and title attributes for your visitors, while simply keeping your main keywords in mind.

External ranking factors

External (or off-page, off-site) factors are the one that are outside of your website. Some factors can be controlled, such as anchor text (the link text) on some of the links, pointing to your site, but most of them can not be controlled or are static, such as website topic. Off-page factors include:

  • anchor text
  • weight of an incoming link
  • relevance of a linking page to your page (site)
  • link position on a linking page (in context or not)
  • age of your page and site
  • whether a site you link to uses unethical optimization tactics
  • your hosting server IP (helps to target local audience)
  • your domain TLD (country specific domain extensions help for local language targeting)
  • age of a linking page and site
  • age of a link
  • amount of traffic to the page from Google
  • time spent on the page when clicked from Google

As with onpage factors, there may be factors, which exist, but are still less relevant than those listed above. Though they may be important for those seeking the extra edge, it is worthwhile spending your time and money on website content, usability and accessibility than chasing a blue bird.


While it is helpful to position your keywords when they can help the search engines rank your site, you still need to think of your visitors as well. A thorough keyword research will help you to use the words your customers use when thinking about your product. Positioning the keywords in key page areas (title, subheadings, body text) will help them understand what the page is about.

Ideally, a page should be about a single topic. This will allow you to write a nice piece of information about a single thing, which will have all the necessary information. The article will be focused on one theme as well, which will help the visitors and the search engines understand what the focus of the page is on.

In a way, you simply need to remember your main keywords and place them in site copy naturally. This will keep your text optimized both for your customers and the search engines.



Thank you for nice information.
My self dealing a "Indian local search engine" site.
Can u check my site and give suggestions, Please
My site is It is one of the local search engine site

I'd suggest the following:

  • make a text link for adding a new listing more prominent
  • describe what the visitor can do on the homepage (search for local businesses in India, I presume?)
  • perhaps, making listings static (with the title tag accurately describing them) as well as with reviews posted about a business might help
  • start a blog and/or a forum about local businesses in India. Let others contribute and share freely.

Honestly, I haven't worked on a search engine before. But starting thinking of how you can help your visitors search better might help.


I sell cell phone on my website for over six years. Every year my website ranking seem to be going lower and lower. Can anyone give me some good suggestion? Thanks.

You may want to improve your ecommerce page, if you want to increase your conversions.

Your rankings are probably dropping, because:
- you have previously exchanged links
- are selling links to unrelated sites on your site
- you weren't active in getting good quality links

So first, you need to:
- stop exchanging links
- remove links to sites, unrelated to cell phones
- don't buy or sell links

To rank high, you need to get good links (think quality, not quantity). To get the good links to rank, you need to:
- know your customers
- create useful articles for them (you can try creating well researched, useful top 7-50 lists for them)
- promote them on social sites

Essentially, you can start a blog. You can read more about blogging in my recent article and also read about:
- creating content
- creating link worthy content
- improving your website usability


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