Increase your rank

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Q. Last month, you explained how a provider can pay for a listing on an Internet search engine like Google or Yahoo, but how does a company get listed for free?
A. Search engines are designed to display the most relevant Web sites based on a specific phrase input by the user. When determining keyword relevance (such as "home respiratory therapy" or "power wheelchair"), search engines use the latest technology to rank a Web site. While search engines do not publish all the methods used to rank Web sites, there are key factors known to impact your ranking:
Search engines use "bots" to visit Web sites and determine which key phrases are relevant to the site based on the words used in the text of the site. Content updates are also imperative, because bots will revisit a site periodically.
The more popular a Web site, the higher ranking it typically has.
Site design
When the search engine bots visits a Web site, the design is considered. Difficult navigation or poorly written HTML code will cause the Web site ranking to suffer.
Search engines track links to and from Web sites. If a popular Web site links to your Web site, the search engines are aware of it and will increase your ranking. Linking to other popular sites is helpful as well.
There are also negative factors that can hurt your ranking. Spamming or utilizing link farms to mimic site popularity will lower your ranking. Flash technology, which is used for animation on Web sites, can also be detrimental if used improperly. Most search engine bots are not advanced enough to decipher text within flash, causing your Web site to appear as though it has little or no content.
By reviewing your Web site content periodically, marketing your Web site to increase popularity and offering links to and from popular sites, it is possible to increase your search engine ranking.

Jeremy Kauten is general manager of VGM Forbin. Reach him at 319-235-7100 or