Google is a fascinating tool.
You’ve probably used it already today. For directions, recipes, news updates and more, a simple Google search gives you what you’re looking for.
But how can you put Google to work for your small business?
Our mission is to simplify technology so today we’re decoding the mystery of the Google search algorithm. We provide SEO services in Iowa and today we’ll take you through the process of how Google finds, indexes and ranks content on the web.
By understanding the basics of how search works, your small business will be able to transform Google into a tool for your business. Understanding the algorithm is the first step in improving your website and bringing in more visitors from search engines.
Read our guide to indexing, on-page and off-page elements within Google’s system. If you want more information, learn more about search engine optimization –a marketing strategy attempts to increase your visibility in search results.
Let’s get to work helping your business realize its potential.
Step one: Indexing
Throughout the day and night Google –and other popular search engines– have automated bots called crawlers working to index all the web’s information.
Googlebot attempts to navigate every link on the internet and report information back to the Google index.
Website indexing is vital to a small business and its presence on the internet. Errors in the web design process can prevent Google from discovering and indexing your website.
These errors have a devastating effect on organic traffic. Essentially, without taking the indexing process into consideration, your website becomes invisible to search engine users.
For example, Google recently switched to a policy called “mobile-first indexing.” This means websites unfit for mobile devices might not be indexed. Luckily, there are strategies that are essentially guaranteed to get your website indexed.
Step two: On-page ranking factors
So, thanks to the indexing process, Google has a database of just about every relevant page on the web. Now, once someone types in a search the ranking process begins.
Google uses its index, the search query and other information (location, search history and cookies) to determine the web pages that are the best match.
This brings us to the on-page ranking factors. These are very important to Google rankings and are the easiest to control. Once your small business is sure your website is in the Google index, it is important to take a look at the on-page ranking factors.
The Google search algorithm is incredibly complex and constantly updating. There are about 200 total ranking factors and the public doesn’t know them all.
However, using Google’s own information and research from the SEO industry, many of the most important guidelines are well known.
Luckily, many of these factors are simple– impactful changes can be made with proper research and expertise.
The keywords used on a page are an important ranking factor. Let’s say a Google user has searched for blue hats. It makes sense that websites that frequently mention blue hats will match the request.
Adding impactful keywords to a web page is an easy yet helpful way to increase search engine rankings. Proper keyword placement and keyword density will positively impact your success in Google Search.
Understanding the common keywords used by your target audience is important. Avoid technical jargon and terms only your team would understand. Use keywords that match your business and set yourself up for success. Don’t target search terms that are too competitive or won’t bring in quality traffic.
For example, blue hats is a broad search. Generally, the more specific a keyword the less competition and more potential for traffic. For example, blue Chicago Cubs baseball hat or blue fishing hat for sale in Iowa are more specific keywords that might be better suited for your strategy.
It’s also important to use keywords common in your area to increase your local SEO.
Pro Tip: Including keywords in certain html elements creates a bigger impact. For example, the title and description elements are more important. Add keywords here to see higher elevated Google rankings.
Content is king.
Google evaluates the quality of your website content when determining search engine rankings. In general, websites that cover a topic thoroughly and honestly will rank higher.
When you are writing website content, including more information for the reader is going to make your page appear more valuable. Google will attempt to serve the best quality result for the search.
So, be informative and thorough on your website. Site your sources and provide evidence to back up your arguments.
Consistent updates on a company blog is a great way to build useful and informative content on your website. Remember, Google is going to crawl almost all of your website pages. So, if you have expansive resources with a wealth of information for users, Google is going to take notice.
Again, including impactful keywords in your website content is going to help rankings. And creating specific content that fits your business will give you the best chance for success.
Google wants to give users a great match for the keywords and content they are searching for. They also want to give users the best possible user experience.
User experience is key to gaining a strong presence on Google Search. Poor page speed and website usability are serious problems for website users. Google will take this into account when ranking websites.
Improving page speed and designing a great user experience will help your website gain more visibility in search results. Working with professional web designers is a great way to ensure there are no user experience problems on your website.
Pro Tip: Using a free SEO audit tool can identify user experience issues on your website.
Step three: Off-page factors
Google evaluates the pages on your website and your online presence around the web.
Backlinks are a very important factor for search engine rankings. Backlinks are any links to your website on other websites. In Google’s eyes, a backlink is a vote or an endorsement of your website. If another organization has linked to your website, you must be a reputable source of information.
The more backlinks the better. And backlinks from other strong websites have more value. Therefore, having a strong social media presence, doing outreach in the community and other forms of digital PR are great ways to increase your website visibility.
Considerations for search engine optimization
Since you now understand the basics of how search engines work. Let’s talk about important considerations for search engine optimization as a digital marketing strategy.
SEO can be a very valuable long-term marketing strategy for a business of any size. Because of the complexity of Google’s algorithm, the value of a top result is unique.
Once a website earns a strong position in search results, website traffic is guaranteed to follow. Plus, if you’ve selected the right target keywords, the traffic will certainly be relevant to your business.
Users also tend to find organic results more valuable. The top three search results receive more than half the clicks. Getting to the top of search results is the most reliable way to capture users’ attention. Even paid digital advertising at the top of Google search don’t receive as many clicks.
Therefore, SEO is a great long-term strategy to grow your business. The return on investment is greater than other traditional marketing strategies.
We hope you found our overview of how search works helpful. We’re excited to be a part of your increased visibility online.
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