What Factors Do Search Engines Use to Rank Content?

Smart-Reputation employ algorithms with hundreds of factors to determine how to put results on search engines. However, there are a few main factors you should always keep in mind:

  1. On Page SEO Factors:

These are factors within the actual page. The good news is, if you own the content, you have direct control over these:

    • Frontend & Backend Structure/Architecture: Any content on the web is supported by a number of frontend and backend computer languages or code—things like HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, and so on—which communicate information to the search engine and your computer. However, problems arise when people create great content, but it is so poorly structured that search engines are unable to properly communicate with the website and therefore have no idea what the page is really about. There are many things we do with Smart-Reputation to be mindful of as you structure your code–the sitemap or navigation of the page, the history of the domain, the placement of headings and dozens of other things. It can seem daunting, which is why Smart-Reputation exists to walk you through the most important parts. Smart-Reputation can also help take you through the steps of this process.
    • Relevancy: This one is simple—keep your content updated. If your content hasn’t been updated in a long time, search engines start to view it as irrelevant.
    • Keyword/content: When a search engine visits your page, you want to make sure it quickly understands which words and phrases are the most important—what we call keywords. For example, if you want to rank for “Your Name” (i.e. John Smith), but “Your Name” isn’t written anywhere on the page, a search engine would have no idea to rank it for that. There are two important elements to keep in mind:
      • Placement: There are certain places on the page that search engines consider more important than others, so that’s where you want to include Your Name. These include outwardly visible areas (the URL, page headings, bolded words and anchor text) as well as areas in the backend (title tags, heading tags, meta-tags, and descriptions). You want to include Your Name in all of these places.
      • Density: Search Engines also take into account the density of these keywords throughout the site, to make sure any content on the page lines up with those words. This way, you can’t simply stuff keywords, like Your Name, in those important places if the page is about something entirely different.
  1. Off Page SEO Factors:

These factors aren’t directly tied to the content on your page and are meant to gauge the page’s outside credibility. Since you can’t directly control these factors, it’s important you dedicate time to the most important ones:

    • Incoming Links: Search engines consider each link to a site as a “vote” for that site to show up higher. The more places that link to your site, the higher search engines will rank it. However, the credibility of the link is also important. For example, a link from CNN.com is weighted more heavily then a link from a random no-name site. This is one of the most important factors in SEO.
    • Social Sharing: Sharing a page across social networks is one of the easiest ways to build credible links. If you share a relevant, valuable page, people will pass it around, signaling a great deal of credibility to search engines.


While all of this may seem daunting, you can start one step at a time and know that just by understanding the above you have a far deeper comprehension of how search engines and SEO function than the average person. Now that you have an understanding about how search engines work, let’s tackle how to start with Smart Reputation to creating a positive online presence.