I try to get the hang of search engine ranking. What are the criteria they use to decide which sites rank where?
My understanding so far (and please correct me if I'm wrong);
Firstly, the different search engines uses different criteria, but I believe there are some criteria they all use.
1) Relevant keyword and keyword phrases.
There are a few keyword hotspots that are important
a. In the domain name,
b. In the title tags,
c. In the meta descriptions,
d. In the title of your pages,
e. In the headings and sub headings,
f. In your content,
g. in the links,
h. image tags
i. body content
2) High quality, relevant content
with correct keyword density (at least 5 related keywords or keyword phrases per page?)
3) The popularity of your site
The more traffic, the higher your site's ranking?
4) Links from high ranking related sites
these sites must have related keyword focuses?
the popularity of these links count as well?
don't fully understand this one...
Then a confusing point;
There seems to be a debate about the value of Page Rank. Some say it doesn't mean much, others say it does. The way I understand is that one of the factors in determining the PR, is the amount of quality links. But it is also my understanding so far that it is not so much the amount of links that matter, but rather the popularity of these links. Ex. A link (to my site) from a quality site (with same keyword focus) that get clicked on often (is very popular), will count more towards your rankings as say 30 other links (from non related sites) that are not popular. Is this correct?
If this is correct, then PR in itself does not count so much?
Just to be sure, what are the difference between a inbound link and a backlink?
And: Outbound links from my site to another, good or bad for ranking?
Please, is my understanding correct so far?
What other criteria is important to look at?
I'm looking forward to your replies.