What is search engine ranking?

As a beginner you may be wondering what is search engine ranking? I would like to use an illustration of the olympics to make it simple to understand.

Olympics as an illustration of search engine ranking.

Search engine ranking is like the Olympics of online businesses. The more you train and perfect your game, the more competitions you enter and the more likely you are to win the gold medal, or silver or bronze. And sometimes you may not be on the medal list, but making it to the finals may be good enough for you to have a good return on your investment.

And the higher your ranking is, the more endorsements you will get, the more sponsorship you will attract and the more money you will make.

Many people would want to use your brand in advertising their products. Your nation will be proud of you.


Prerequisites for ranking

Before an athlete can compete at the highest level they have to start somewhere. You need to have some talent to start with. You need a coach or trainer. You need to become knowlegeable about the sport you are doing.

Same thing with ranking. You need to start somewhere. Typically this is where you must have a talent in the form of a niche. You need to learn what your customers want. Then you can build content that is relevant and useful to them if you are to be noticed.

There are proven techniques of training and applying yourself to be successful in the athletic group you pursue.

Preparation for ranking

With any sport, there is a lot of preparation and hard work that goes into it.

You need to do your keyword research before you write your content. You must do all the things required like

  • creating unique content regularly,
  • having a good organisation of your content,
  • having engagement on your website in terms of comments from your visitors.

This is like competing within your local area. You become known and you qualify for the next level of competition. The judge of these competitions are your search engines, for instance Google. Google will periodically check if you are creating new content, is it engaging enough, are people visiting your website and are they engaging with your content. Your ranking then improves if these elements are positive.

Progress towards the finals of the ranking competition

So as you compete at increasingly competitive levels, your ranking increases. You may look for sponsors to help you through all these stages. You have to do a bit more convincing at this stage as you are requesting companies and individuals to invest in what you are building, which is not yet popular.

In the online world this is where you will be going to your social networks to increase visibility of your talent and ambitions. Your followers will start visiting your offering and supporting it. The more they do it, the more points you will score in terms of ranking. Moreso if they visit and stay on the site, engage with your content and leave comments. The comments needs to be relevant to your content. If the comments they make are not relevant to your niche they will impact your ranking negatively.

Later on as your rank soars higher, you find that you eventually qualify for the Olympics.

The spectators are your customers

This is your audience, who will come and watch you race and win. They will either watch at home on public channels, or watch live on paid cable or streaming media channels or they will pay to come the venue where you are performing. If you have a high ranking in your sport then you will draw larger crowds who are willing to pay more.

Same thing with online business and affiliate marketing. The visitors to your website are your customers. They may look at your posts from afar on your facebook page and just like the page or just look, do nothing and go away. Some of them will come to the venue, which is your website but watch from the screens outside the stadium. Then eventually, if your niche game is interesting enough they may just decide to pay for the value you bring with your higher rank and buy what you are selling.

How ranking helps you get these customers is that, the visitors goes to google and sea

rch for the keywords relating to what they want, say “Where is the next Olympic games” The search engine will look through its index and rankings and list the top ranked related sites on the first page of the search results. Once the visitor sees this first page, then they will click on the link to go to your website if it is within those ranks. Otherwise if it is on a lower rank on page 2 or more, the likelihood for it to be clicked is very low.

And there are services willing to pay you per click made to a certain site say from your website. But that is a topic for another day.

Endorsements and affiliate marketing

Once your brand is established, especially with qualifying for the Olympics, you will find that there are many companies, interest groups and well to do individuals who may want to use the value of your brand to enhance theirs or to make money for themselves. Sometimes they wait until you have won some medal before they can jump in. But if you had been doing a good job along the way, you may just be fortunate to have caught the interest of lucrative sponso

rs and endorsers.

I am reminded of this illustration of wealth that Chris Rock made in one of his standup comedy sessions. He said Michael Jordan is rich, but the man who signs his cheque is wealthy. You want to be the Michael Jordan or the Hussein Bolt and get rich from these wealthy companies that have affiliate programs. So get your ranking sorted.

Within online business, these affiliates are companies like who sell products. You can either apply to join their program and some will be by invitation based on your ranking and activity on your niche website. You start earning money through these affiliates if you bring them traffic of people who buy their products and services. There are various forms this takes, which I will deal with in a later article.


The tools of the trade

Search Engine Optimiser

There are various tools that can be used to enhance the results of this race of search engine ranking. Same as how there are tool for preparing to perform and to enhance performance like training tools, sports gear, monitoring systems and apps.

The tools at a high level include SEO plugins that you can put on your website. These are used to capture the relevant data and settings that will help the search engines see your content and rank it accordingly.

Let me know what you think about the keyword search engine ranking topic that I just illustrated above.


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  1. That is quite an interesting analogy. So what happens when my website ranking is like a national champion but never qualify for the Olympics? Does it mean that I will not be able to make any money on the internet?

    1. If you are only a national champion in your search engine ranking it does not mean that you will not make any money. But it means that your chances are lower. If you are not listed on the first page of Google searches less people will clickover to the next page, worse still to any further pages. So you will have less traffic. Less traffic means less chance of people buying your products or affiliate offering. So you will need to work harder to qualify for the Olympics of ranking.

      You can also use your social networking to bring people to your website. You can pay for traffic but buying ads on goggle or other social networks like Facebook to increase your traffic. You can do email market ing to reach people who will then visit your site and hopefully become buyers.

      So the answer is that yes, you can make money, but not from organic (naturally/indirectly occurring) traffic.

  2. I have always wondered about the significance of Google and how they make money. What if I cannot rank by myself, can Google allow me to pay for the higher ranking on the first page.

    1. Google and its search ranking is now a critical driving force in the online world. Your ranking on google determines whether you earn money or not to a large extent. They make money selling adverts to people who want traffic based on Google’s brand rather than their own brand.
      For instance, Google is popular and you sell phones. You can buy traffic from Google through a paid advert that will be displayed whenever visitors type in keywords related to the phones you are selling. So it is a a targeted audience.
      So in other words you cannot buy the ranking but you can buy the traffic generated organically by Google based on your requirements.

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