What Do Search Engines Look For When Ranking?

If someone wants information on the internet, they have to search for it. That means search engines have a great deal of control over what information people interact with, including what they see about your business (or whether they see it at all). Plenty of people make careers by developing ranking strategies for businesses but understanding the basics of how search engines rank pages goes a long way toward coming up with your solid strategy. Below, you’ll get a glimpse at some of the components that go into search engine results.

#1 – Keywords

Search engines primarily want to show users pages that are relevant to their search. If someone searches for a “brown leather jacket,” they don’t want search results for white slippers. Once an engine determines what the user wants, keywords help determine which content is relevant to the search. A higher rank means more relevant content.

Keyword Placement

Keywords in the title, header, meta description, and other specific parts of a page rank more highly. Optimize keyword use by including them in those spaces. Search engines will pick up on them easier.

#2 – Quality

Throwing in a bunch of keywords isn’t a guarantee for a high search engine rank. Keyword stuffing negatively affects SEO rank. High-quality pages may include:

  • Original Content – Content should provide the information it claims and have no misleading titles or headlines.
  • Frequent & Fresh – Search engines notice frequent posting. Fresh, high-quality content results in better rankings, but excessively posting low-caliber material won’t help.
  • Length & Appearance – Longer posts rank more highly (think 2000 words or so). Additionally, including images and videos in the text help, too.
  • Expertise – Content determined to be expert-level is considered more relevant, as it’s more likely to have the information a user is searching for.

#3 – Usability

User experience matters to search engines. The longer people spend on a page, the more likely it is to rank highly. If someone clicks on a page and quickly navigates away, search engines may interpret that as the page being irrelevant or somehow not meeting user needs. User experience may be evaluated by asking:

  • How many people click on the page from the SERP?
  • How many people navigate away quickly?
  • How long do users stay on the page?


Search engine rankings are critical to success in an increasingly online world. Several factors go into result rankings, but keep these three major ones in mind when designing a page or creating content!. If you should have any questions, give the experts at Search SEO Austin a call today.

Published by
Andrew Sansardo

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