When it comes to SEO, many business owners don’t take the time to educate themselves on how it actually works, even though it’s a vital part of marketing in today’s world. But understanding the basics of search algorithms can help you not only create a better SEO strategy, it can also keep you from spending money on tactics that don’t work or may even interfere with good SEO. It’s important to be educated so you can make effective decisions for your business that increase your revenue.
Let’s start by examining how the algorithm works. I’ve seen so many people floundering with their SEO, unable to improve their search rankings, because they’re overlooking simple principles about what Google’s search algorithm is looking for to rank your site and what it values. Are you overlooking simple steps that could boost your SEO?
Many details about Google’s algorithm are kept secret. Of course, there are other search engines to think about, but they work in similar ways. Google is the most important one to focus on. The algorithm is extremely complex and all of its criteria are not disclosed, so we can only rely on what we do know about how it works and what it prioritizes.
Google’s objective is to provide a good user experience. The company makes money through advertising appearing on web pages, so they want to provide relevant, useful, and interesting content to users when they search for something. This helps incentivize users to click on pages, keep browsing, and keep viewing ads.
When someone types in a search query, the algorithm scans all of the pages that Google has indexed and chooses the ones that best match the query. It’s not completing a scan of the entire internet; rather, it’s scanning a snapshot of the internet, which Google has captured and indexed. Essentially, Google maintains a copy of the internet, which it updates and monitors constantly. Then it uses the information it gathers to show a user this snapshot. So when you look at a search results page, you’re not seeing the internet in real time—you’re seeing a snapshot that Google has taken previously. That’s why it often takes time for some pages to appear on Google’s results page.
Even though Google is able to capture the internet in this way, it can’t monitor everything at once. Instead, it sends out programs called “spiders” to look at websites when they’re updated. This process is called “crawling.” Publishing new content tells Google to send its spiders back to your site to crawl through it and determine its place in the search rankings for particular queries.
Websites that publish new content frequently, such as news websites, are prioritized over those that publish less regularly. In fact, Google crawls news websites constantly, which is why you can search for news and get real-time results. While you’re certainly not going to publish as much content as a major news network, publishing new content regularly will increase your search rankings and bring more traffic to your site.
Additionally, it’s vital to make your website free of technical errors so Google can index your pages. Here are a few important aspects your website needs:
- Your website is secure and has a secure sockets layer certificate.
- It loads quickly.
- It has good server-level performance and loads without errors.
- Your domain has existed for a while and the registration isn’t about to expire soon.
- Your content is not plagiarizing other content already in Google’s index.
Remember that Google prefers sites with great user experience. They want people to engage with the sites, find what they’re looking for, and keep browsing, because this gives them more opportunity to place ads.
Here is a list of some of the most basic things Google is looking for on a website—you need these if you want to rank well:
- You publish content regularly.
- The content you publish is high-quality and relevant to the searcher’s intent.
- Your website loads quickly. (It’s best if the load time is less than 3 seconds.)
- The website is secure and safe for users to browse.
- Your website design is user-friendly and adapts well to both mobile and desktop.
Without these pillars of SEO, all the tricks in the world will not bring you the results you’re looking for—increased traffic that converts to increased revenue. As it crawls websites, Google also takes into account things like whether the page comes from a trusted, high quality source; how many links go to and from the page; how much time visitors spend on the webpage on average; and whether the keywords of the search query appear in the body copy, URL, and title tags. Ensuring your website hits those points will help it rank higher.
Understanding how Google’s algorithm works and the basic concepts of SEO is the first step in creating a strong SEO strategy. The goal is to increase your website’s traffic and explode your revenue. SEO is one of the best marketing tools available to you, so take advantage of it.
Searching for things online has become our way of life—don’t let someone else reach your potential customers just because they rank higher on a search results page. Implementing your SEO strategy takes work, but it isn’t as difficult as it looks. By focusing on these tips, you’re already on your way to a stronger website that draws in traffic and converts prospects to customers.