The following post is part 2 of 2 introducing the basics of how Google operates. Understanding these fundamentals is extremely important to knowing how and why Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is useful to businesses.
In part 1 I discussed more of the abstract theory and thought behind how search results are found for general questions. In part 2 I’ll discuss a little more about the mechanisms Google uses and how Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can work wonders for your business. To be sure, the following is a very simplified explanation of Google’s search engine but I hope it’ll be useful to your business.
Googlebots aka Spiders
Google is constantly searching the web for new sites or updated pages to add to its index and it has developed a special program to aid in that; Googlebots (also known affectionately as spiders) are the tiny programs designed to crawl (basically a search) the internet. The information most likely to be gathered are things like keywords, tags and titles, so it’s important that you optimize your site to be found easier.
SEO Tip #1
By using meta-tags (an HTML tag containing keywords or phrases), keywords and proper formatting for your website, it becomes easier and more efficient for Google to filter your site into a list of possible search results. That means you need to make it easier to be found by using common words people often search for.
Penalties and Filters
After indexing information like keywords, tags and titles, Google then starts filtering out results. Penalties are things like known spam sites that have been reported and government requests to take down pirated work. Google removes those from your search results.
Next, filters are applied. These are things like your location, current trending topics, and your past search history results. Google places more importance on information that is popular (current news and search terms that have exploded in use), local to you (in your geographic area like country, state, city, neighbourhood, street) and you have a history with.
SEO Tip #2
Links to your website (Facebook page, Twitter account, Instagram, etc) not only increase the chances that you’ll be found by Googlebots quicker, but more links to your website increase the validity of your site. In other words, Google doesn’t think you’re a spam site because legitimate websites are linked to yours. That means your business needs to have a well-rounded and in-depth web presence.
Obviously Google is in it to make money, and they’re very successful at it. According to the website, The Motley Fool,
In the first quarter of 2015 Google took in $17.3 billion in revenue, up 12% year over year. Nearly all of it — $15.5 billion — came from advertising sales.
That means that the answer to your question comes with a healthy dose of ads. Now, to be fair, Google does use its search program to give ads that are directly related and correspond to your search terms. For example, our previous search in part 1 of this blog was “Where is the best taco restaurant in Sacramento”, and gave us this result. Notice what’s front and centre at the top of the search results.
Results that show up because of a paid ad are referred to as not being “organic” in that they were purchased and pushed to the front and weren’t actually as a result of being the “best” answer to the search query. It’s generally considered better to be found organically although having a paid ad on Google does work and is effective in driving traffic to websites.
I hope you enjoyed this blog post and that you learned a little bit about how Google works. You can see just how important being optimized for search engines is. According to a 2011 report from the Pew Research Centre, 55% of adults say they actively search out news and information about local restaurants, bars, and clubs and when they do 51% turn to the internet, including
- search engines – 38% rely on them
- specialty websites – 17% rely on them
- social media – 3% rely on social networking sites