If turning to Google to find information has become a daily, if not hourly, activity for you, every now and then do you sit back and ponder how it actually works?
You may have heard recently that Google has in fact changed the way it works.
You might have heard the words algorithm, page rank, spiders, hummingbird, penguin and panda.
Google Hummingbird AlgorithmYou probably switched off at this point thinking that the topic of conversation had changed to your local zoo!
However, those 'creatures' are in fact an integral part of the 'Google Zoo' - the behind the scenes workings of the search engine giant!
Google has come an incredibly long way since the domain www.google.com was first registered on 15th September 1997 and has in fact become the forefront of the internet; 12.9 BILLION google searches are made each month.
So what actually makes Google work so well?
Is it quite simply magic? It would be a lot easier to explain if it was!
In super-simple terms, Google has little virtual robots called spiders that are constantly scouring the internet looking for new and updated content.
Given that at the end of 2012 there was 634 million websites on the internet those little spiders have a big job to do.
(That's 634 million sites, not pages, and each site can have anything between one and a thousand pages, sometimes more!)
The spiders can therefore take a long time to get to, for example, your newly launched website. It could take weeks or months before you're crawled.
(There are ways to speed this up- ask us!)
What happens when the Google spiders crawl you? Does it tickle?
You won't feel a thing! You won't even know, unless you have access to Webmaster Tools... Or a sixth sense!
The purpose of the spiders crawling is to gather various data to report back information on what your site is about and what content it contains.
Useful keywords and well optimized content helps these spiders to determine what your page is about and how relevant it is more easily. (Helping out the spiders and making your site be found more easily is what is called Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO)
The data is then fed back in to Google and they use an algorithm to determine how reliable, important and relevant your content is, compared to other sites on the same subject.
This then determines whether you or a similar website down the road, at the other end of the country, or even the other side of the world, comes up first when someone searches for particular phrases.
How does the Google Algorithm work?
It's complicated. And Google don't give the whole game away. But they do give a list of acceptable rules to help us know what is allowed / what will benefit your ranking.
Key learnings include:
The latest update, Hummingbird, relies more than ever on the sharing of content.
If your website has been shared on Facebook, Twitter and/ or other social media - then Google deems your website to be more credible than one that hasn't been shared as well or at all.
If your website has been referred to by other websites or bloggers, that again gives you credibility. Impartial web authors linking their site to your site to create genuine back links is an excellent way of showing Google you're a worthy website.
Manipulating this by plastering your own link all over the internet is not 'allowed' by Google and you will be penalised when they catch you; you will disappear down the search rankings.
Linking out where relevant is a positive move. Linking to high profile sites where appropriate again shows Google that you are credible and legitimate.
Well optimized content is absolutely key. The use of Meta titles and descriptions combined with making sure your keywords are reflected well within the actual text on the relevant web pages is pertinent to ensuring a good Google presence.
Improve your Google SEO
A careful combination of the above methods gives Google a good snapshot of your website and the thousands of similar websites. When someone then Googles a particular phrase, within milliseconds the database brings back popular, relevant results, linking to the user's previous history and location.
How to optimise your content and ensure Google picks you up?
Contact us at Aware Communications and we can talk you through this in more detail, give you a helping hand to start you off, or if you're petrified of spiders or hummingbirds (or even computers in general) we can do the whole thing for you.