Why do people use search engines?
Usually to find out how to do something, where to go for something, find out what happened, who did what, when did something happen or why did something come about. A browser enters a search Word or Term and then gets 7 ‘Organic’ results plus a load of Sponsored Google Ads. Ignoring the 3 top Adverts, the browser usually selects the best looking option from the 7, usually the first or second.
In selecting one, the browser expects to get the best possible answer. The resulting page may have the answer, so the search is over. But, if the answer is not there or is not immediately obvious in the page navigation, the browser returns to the search page and selects a different choice. Typically this continues until an answer is found or a question can be asked in a Forum or site form. So, to be found at the top of Page 1 is vital. But just as importantly, so is having relevant page content and easy conversion tools. The search result descriptive text has to be logical, inviting and 100% relevant.
Getting visitors is a waste of time if they do not convert to customers.
When people browse they generally want to know something, go somewhere, do something or buy something. So, you want to be there, be useful, be accountable and provide outcomes by using tools for estimates or comparisons. This is why Google want you to use the See, Think, Do, Care Framework, to build brand awareness, drive consideration, acquire traffic and build loyalty.
Given a conversion rate of just 1% for a good well planned site, a lot of thought needs to go in to creating good content, presenting it well, keeping it fresh and making it easy for visitors to reach out with a question or make a purchase.
Plan your site to guide the browser through all the way to communicating with you. Most browsers will NOT enter your site through the Home page, so focus on the pages that offer answers to questions rather than just selling. Encourage questions, calls, emails and instant chat to engage with browsers. Add Newsletter, start a Forum, list Testimonials. Make every page Search Engine Friendly – SEO Search Engine Optimisation is a must and needs to be done by a competent marketer.
People who find your site for the first time, will NOT trust you, so prove that you are the solution provider that they can use with confidence, that you offer great service, good value, full support – in just the same way you would do, if the Client walked in to your office or showroom. Rather than wait in a side street waiting for potential Clients, use the web to get on to the internet Main Street, one that is full of browsers who are looking for what you have to offer.
Google Chrome – If this is your browser, you are effectively feeding google all your questions and it will start to give you answers that are bassed on your geographic location when you are logged in. The algorithms are set to give you the answers the search engine calculates are best for you. It is a good idea, but just be aware that your results could be different to your neighbours.
Search Engine Functions
Search Engines do a few things, they crawl content on the web and index it for relevancy based on their own algorithms, so that they can deliver results to specified queries. As time goes by they get access to books, documents, pdfs and much much more than just websites, so the Semantic Web will make a major impact on our futures. The Search Engine will cache or save the information it finds so that it can retrieve it when someone is looking for it. Indeed they will keep copies of the information in different locations to help deliver the information quickly. Then it ranks the value of the information based on relevancy and how well people react to it as an answer or something worth reading. This is what determines the make up of SERPs Search Engine Results Pages.
Crawl – this is literally that – where a search engine has robots crawling through your pages to determine which ones are worth listing. These robots look at your code, rather than the images or visual pages. It checks the code to see what terms are important, headlines, bold writing etc.
Index – once a page is deemed worth of listing in results it is indexed. Not all pages are deemed worthy of indexing
Cache – saved on a server or multiple servers in Datacentres around the world ready to deliver when the right question is asked.
Rank – Pagerank is the rating the page gets for relevancy, based on the indexing and how people react when they get it served up to them. Google will also check the speed of delivery of your page, so slow pages will be punished. The 200 Google algorithms have all been created to do the ranking as best as possible.
Link Building – Originally, in the early 2000s the number of links to your website was very important, until Google realised that some webmasters were gaming the system, creating doorway pages and false links, so they made changes in 2005. Link building may still work somewhat, but the sites that link to your site need to be quality relevant sites. In 2010 with Caffeine and again in 2012 Google got better at ranking based on links, so quality rather than quantity took prominence.
Keywords had been important, but again in the same way, some webmasters gamed the system, to add specific words to attract visitors.
SEO Search Engine Optimisation entails many parts, but the aim is to drive more pertinent traffic to websites. These parts include things like adding tracking code, relevant keywords per page, creating useful content, structuring the website properly and generating links, as well as managing connected any Social Media presence.
Web partners offer free guidance on how to manage your SEO, as it is not difficult, just time consuming. Google does the same and their Matt Cutts offers some great video snippets of advice. He does not specify every secret Google algorithm, but he does give great direction on how to create a site using best practice that will rank well. The main tip is to simply create good relevant content and present it in a logical easy to navigate fashion. The Target for success is to become a popular Authority site where content is relevant, well structured and easy to navigate & read. Every page needs to be easy to find, with user friendly URLs, have relevant keywords and description. The result should be desired Traffic, visitors who are likely potential customers which will generate interaction and ultimately increase sales. You can make this happen or employ someone to do it, once you identify your goals.
NB: In 1998 Larry Page and Sergei Brin wrote about how Google wold work. see here if you are really interested in reading the whole detail.
In 1993 Meta Data became the way websites were ranked. Up until then with AltaVista Keywords were enough to get sites found and this was easy to manipulate. In 1998 Google ranked based on backlinks, quality of linking sites and link text. By 2005, it became domain relevance and authority, how good was a site when it came to answering questions on a given subject. Then 2009 saw Social make a big difference, who is talking about your site and sharing your content. 2012 saw semantic web and SEO impact on ranking and by 2014, it became a combination of all these items, with a focus on quality of content, NOT quantity, so Google is determined to see that when a search term is entered that theywill deliver the best site for the answer, whether it is general or local, so that they stay the dominant search engine. Current revenues in 2015 would indicate that the plan is working well. This is good for the people searching and apart from the proliferance of advertising on the page, the search engine is getting better all the time.