According to Google, there are over 200 different criteria that goes into their search algorithm. So what should a small business website that wishes to rank high in organic search focus on? First things first – it’s important to have a well optimized site that is built with the search engines in mind. That includes ensuring that the site has proper title & meta description tags, search engine friendly URL’s, descriptive alt tags for images, and plenty of keyword rich content.
Ultimately however, there is only so much that on-page optimization can benefit a site’s rankings. Lots of quality incoming links are what is needed for a site to rank well for highly competitive keywords.
This applies not just to rankings on Google.com, but also on the other search properties of Google, such as Google Maps or the highly coveted Google Shopping. The number of quality incoming links to a site enable it to be ranked well across the board, and bring in high numbers of visitors and buyers.
Here’s an example: If you search on Google Shopping for the word “bed skirts”, you will see how most of the results are for Amazon.com. Amazon is the largest ecommerce site, with millions of incoming links. Especially helpful to their ranking are their huge network of affiliates who link to their site to direct buyers who will earn them commission checks. That is how Amazon can outrank so many other sites, even though many of the other sites are more relevant and have a larger selection of bedding and bedskirts.
Quality links are hard to come by, but they are what makes a difference to a site’s rankings.