Video still from the video How Google Works ft Matt CuttsFor mere mortals it can be pretty hard to understand the technical aspects of what goes on when you search in Google. Yet, as a marketer, you need to understand a bit of this process.

Once you do, a big marketing chance will dawn on you.

So, hang in there for a bit. I’ll first explain the process. Then I will highlight the big opportunity for marketers.

Indexing

Have you ever asked yourself this question:

How does Google search the entire web in a quarter of a second?

Well, the answer is, they don’t.

They search their own copy of the web. Their cache. It’s called the Google Index. This index is continuously being updated by spiders that crawl the web, looking for updated web sites and pages.

The spiders take information from the web page back to the Google mothership,  where it gets stored in the Google Index.

Searching

When you conduct a search, Google presents you with a list of relevant search results. We now need to ask:

How does Google decide which web pages to show, and in what order?

This is where it gets complicated, because this has all to do with Google’s Algorithm. This is the big box of misty magic that no-one has the specific recipe for. It’s their secret sauce.

So what DO we know of Google’s algorithm?

Well, what we do know is:

  • there are over 200 factors in play that influence Google’s alogrithm
  • some of these factors are more important than others.

Which factors are most important?

A major factor for getting high Google rankings, is the number of links you get from other websites. Providing your website has great content on it that other sites love to link to, you will eventually start getting these links. But this takes time.

Fortunately, there’s more factors into play than just links. Factors you can influence TODAY!

Your big SEO chance

When you look at a web page, you might think it’s all about the content (your copy, videos, pdfs and so on). And you’re right. For users of the world wide web it is all about the content.

But in the eyes of Google a web page contains a lot more than just content. It contains headers, URLs, tags, titles, descriptors, and much more. Let’s call this stuff meta tags for now. ‘Meta’ simply means it is hidden to the ‘naked eye’ when you read a page on the web. ‘Tags’ means it is a bit of code that tells Google where to scan to find the content.

You can optimise your web page by putting the right keywords in these meta tags. By doing so, you are tremendously helping Google know what content is on your page. So it can figure out how relevant your page is to the search someone has just done. The process of making sure Google can easily find and assess your content is called On-Page SEO.

The amazing thing is that many of your competitors don’t even bother doing this!!! We know, because we can read this for any of your competitors! When I meet with clients I often do a quick competitive analysis for this stuff. To show them what their competition is up to.

Your Big Marketing Chance

For the moment, don’t worry if your competitor’ websites have lots of links (Google likes lots of links, remember?), If you sort out those meta tags for your content first, you can often still get higher in search results – and beat your competition!!!

How?

On this blog I am talking about how you can become a better marketer on the social web. For this, basic SEO knowledge is mandatory.

Next week, I will publish a couple more posts about basic SEO knowledge – from a marketing perspective. After that, I will publish a series of posts that explain how you develop a Keyword Strategy.

And now for dessert

Here’s a video of Matt Cutts. Expert software engineer to the max, at Google. He explains the Google process in clear language too. It’s a 3 minute video and really nice to watch.

See you soon!

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