More search engine ranking factors

We've included a list of some features of html that can influence search engine rankings. But remember:

"To rank well in Google, or any other search engine, your site must be useful and relevant."

Write your pages for your visitors, use appropriate html markup, and your page will be favored by search engines. Over-doing things for the sake of search engines may result in a lower ranking.


The page title appears as the title of the search engine listing and is still the most important on-page factor. The first 10 listings in Google nearly always have the search words in the title. Make sure you include your major keywords.

The title should accurately reflect the content of the page. Your visitors will decide whether to visit your page based on the title that appears in the search engine listings, so spend time to getting the wording right.


The <h1> heading will normally appear at the top of your page in large bold headings. You use this heading to tell visitors what your page is about. Search engines use this information, with the title, to decide which search words your page should be associated with.

The <h1> heading should only be used once on the page. Use <h2> or <h3> for sub headings.

Other content:

Text on the page should primarily be aimed at being readable and useful to the visitor. You should mention your keywords, but not repeat them too often.

Pages written with visitors in mind could naturally repeat the most important key phrase so that it comprises up to 5% of the text. Try not to go any higher than that as it makes a page unreadable, and also reduce search engine rankings.

Outgoing links


Outgoing links help a search engine determine the theme and relevance of your site. Sites that link to computer sites are more likely to be about computers than sites that link to clothes shops.

It's OK to link to a few unrelated sites, but it more useful to link to related sites.


Page names are likely to reflect what a page is about, so search engines use the URL (the internet address) to help them establish the content of a page.

The internet address of this page is " /search/ranking-factors.htm". There are a lot of useful keywords in there that help search engines determine the theme of this page.

bold and italics

Use bold and italics to emphasize words on your page. We've highlighted useful and relevant at the top of this page. These are important words on this page.

Meta tags

Early in the life of the internet search engine robots were too basic to analyze the content of a page, and meta tags were used to tell the search engine what the page was about.

Search engines have moved on a long way, and meta tags are now largely ignored by Google. It is still advisable to add keyword and description meta tags to help in other search engines, but like other invisible elements, these will become steadily less important.

Accessibility aids

There are a number of accessibility aids in html. image alt attribute, no-script tags, etc were used to provide alternative content for visitors who chose not to download images, or did not have JavaScript.

These, like meta tags, are largely ignored by search engines, but they should still be used for their original purpose. For instance alt attributes are useful to blind users who use speech readers to view web pages. A speech reader will read image alt attributes and will give the blind user an idea of what that the image represents.

Next > Accessibility for robots


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