Today I'm going to give you the philosophy behind Google's search engine so you can cater your internet marketing program to be found by more customers online.
In this post, I don't want you to see Google as a web search engine.
Instead, you are going to get a whole new understanding of Google, and its method for ranking websites.
Let's start with a little bit of an introduction into Google's Search Engine for people who are new to Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
Google's Search Engine 101
Part 1: The Glass
To understand the nature of Google's search engine, you need to understand why it is in place.
When you type in a word or phrase into Google, several million websites wish to reach you.
People pay Google to get their website ranked in the 1st-3rd spot simply so that you will click their site. This is called pay-per click (PPC) advertising.
However, if Google does not stay on top of the proverbial mountain as the world's #1 free search engine provider, then Google will see their profits inexorably decrease.
Google remains the search engine market leader because the widespread perception is that a query in Google will return the most relevant and user friendly results -- Google "delivers the goods" better than anyone else.
Every day Google's algorithm filters through billions of web-pages to return to users a custom-generated list of the most useful information related to a user's topic.
However, in order to truly understand SEO, we must first understand the nature of Google's method.
Part 2: The Kool-Aid
Here is a great exercise I use to get inside of Google's head. First, imagine you are Google...
Even better, imagine you are the mayor of a town that is one of the most picturesque beautiful, historic small towns in Italy.
Every day, thousands of people walk through your town in search of goods and services.
And, like most small Italian towns, there is but a single main street everyone must filter through. We'll call it, Via Principale.
In this small town, you, as the Mayor, call the shots, and agree to allow various merchants to locate on Via Principale
But, like any good administrator, you want to ensure that the places that will drive the most attention have the best locations on Via Principale.
No matter how charming and quaint your town may be, if visitors can't find what is important to them very quickly, they will get tired of walking and simply choose to visit other towns such as Yahooville, or Ask Angeles.
Here are some things I would consider when choosing who to let open a store on my main street:
- How often is the store open?
- How big is the store, and how relevant are their products or services to what customers are looking for?
- Is the staff courteous, knowledgeable and friendly?
- Is the store built well, or are people going to trip on warped floorboards or get caught on rusty nails?
- How many people visit this store?
- Is the store easy to navigate through?
- How many people have recommended this store to somebody else?
- Who is their competitor, and is their store better?
- How many other stores offering complimentary, but non-competing wares give directions on how to get to this store?
- How many people are talking about this store?
- Don't stop with my list; compile one for yourself as well!
Truly you must ask yourself: do I stand to gain more visitors to my town by having this store on the main street of my town, or should it be in some back alley?
Now let's interpolate our little exercise to the world wide web to help guide your website's design, navigation and content marketing program:
How often is the store open?
How often is content updated?
How big is the store, and how relevant are their products or services to what customers are looking for?
How much information does a site have, and how relevant and consistent is it?
Is the staff courteous, knowledgeable and friendly?
Are words misspelled, sentences too long/brief, and are there too many advertisements?
Is the store built well, or are people going to trip on warped floorboards or get caught on rusty nails?
Are there broken links, duplicate content, and muddled formats?
How many people visit this store?
Which are the most popular websites (and let's rank them higher).
Is the store easy to navigate through?
Are there sufficient internal links, headers that are relevant to users' needs, and navigation menus that are user-friendly?
How many people have recommended this store to somebody else?
How often is this site shared on social media?
Who is their competitor, and is their store better?
Websites are ranked, in large degree, in terms of popularity versus their competitors.
How many other stores offering complimentary, but non-competing wares give directions on how to get to this store?
How many other relevant sites have links that lead users directly to your site?
How many people are talking about this store?
How many times is this website being shared on Social Media?
Don't stop with my list; compile one for yourself as well!
If something has crossed your mind with regard to this exercise, than it is most likely contained in Google's algorithm.
We may have started with Google's Search Engine 101, but without really thinking about it, we have managed to capture some of the most vital elements of Search Engine Optimization.
When I study seemingly complex topics, I often use analogies with familiar components and relationships so I dissect them in order to get a better fundamental grasp.
I hope you've found this exercise useful for gaining a better understanding of the nature of Google's process, and how we can harness it to improve our search engine standing.
As you can see, the possibilities are limitless to interpret what Google wants to see, and what you should be doing, to get a spot on Via Principale.
Don't compete — DOMINATE.
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Matt Steffen was Listed by Forbes as the #1 Marketing Consultant Who Avoids the B.S.