Early information retrieval systems were fairly simple—they attempted to understand search terms and then provide matching documents where those terms were found. These “on-page” clues were paramount in the ranking of documents in search results.
With the advent of the web, additional “signals” arose, giving rise to additional “off-page” factors that were combined with on-page factors to determine relevance. Google popularized the best-known of these off page factors, link analysis—simplistically, counting the “votes” for each page represented by links from other web sites.
Today, hundreds of on-page and off-page signals are considered by search engines when ranking web pages. Today’s Search Illustrated graphic illustrates this concept:
Graphic by Elliance, an eMarketing firm specializing in results-driven search engine marketing, web site design, and outbound eMarketing campaigns. The firm is the creator of the ennect online marketing toolkit. The Search Illustrated column appears Tuesdays at Search Engine Land.
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