The popularity of a website is usually understood as a function of the number of regular visits it receives. Such a number can be correlated for instance to a one-month period or to a geographical region. One of the most important ways to measure a website popularity is to check the website ranking on search engine results regularly and compare such results over the months. Optionally you can also consider the region or other feature of the visitors.
Depending on the number of web pages listed on Google or Yahoo!, for instance, after a search based on a specific keyword or search term combination, a certain web page can be positioned either: a) as the first one of the list; or b) at least among the items of the first results page; or even c) in such a position that hardly anyone might see it. Such a ranking will vary in function of the specific keyword combination. This means that the results based on one search term or phrase will show the webpage at a position x, while the results based on a different search will show the same webpage at a position y. Other than that, the results may include just one or quite more pages of a single website.
This said, someone who has or wants to have a website may ask for the criteria that set a website search engine ranking. Another good question would be on what keywords a website should be based on.
This part of the article starts answering the first question. The two main conditions for a good ranking position are not only rich consistent updated content, but also the timespan the website is on line. So, if one site is regularly fed with a lot of unique texts related to each other and to its general theme, it is strongly inclined to rank high on search results, as long as it also satisfies some further conditions, to be here briefly discussed. And if two sites have very similar contents, consistency, and size, the older one will probably be ranked higher.
Besides these essential conditions, there are some additional ones, such as keyword optimization and quality backlinks, which are both correlated. First of all, you should know a little bit about some HTML tags, that is, some of the elements composing the source code of webpages. HTML stands for HyperText Markup-Language.
The text that shows up on the browser title bar when a specific webpage is loaded is encoded in an HTML title tag. All pages of a web site should have a title tag tightly connected to their contents, which implies that in choosing each page title you should bear in mind possible keywords used as search criteria on search engines. The same goes for the headings of each page section, which should properly be HTML-encoded as heading tags (‘h1’, ‘h2’..., ‘h6’). Furthermore, all images should include in their HTML code an alternative-text tag (‘alt’) containing a description based on possible search terms. All keywords used in the title, heading or image tags must be consistent with the site contents and also with the so-called HTML metatags.
The keyword optimization consists to a large extent of these instructions concerning the source code of the website as well as of the number of other pages properly pointing to it. The second part of this article will develop this topic and treat the question about being competitive in choosing keywords.