Billy Heany's Digital Marketing Site

Google, your favorite search engine, and many others like it have been doing you a service for more years than you can remember. Always providing you with the answers you need at the top of their charts. The amount of effort needed in a single search is so low that it is often used for basic spelling, math, and even website URLs. Often referred to as just ‘Google it’, search engines have become the sweet sweet commodity we can’t just seem to do without.

But how do these searches always manage to know just what we are thinking, giving us the exact right link within a few results from the top? How can we misspell half the words in a sentence or type the lyrics to a song we randomly remembered and still find what we need?

The basics of search started off from two main factors, ‘relevance’ and ‘importance’; how close is it to what you asked the search, and how many people have viewed that result. This very basic algorithm sparked smart individuals across the globe, having them ask the question, ‘how do I get my page higher’, and thus, Search Engine Optimization was born.

People from everywhere wanted to have the highest ranked page when they search, whether it’s the tech company wanting to show their product or the teenager wanting their blog to be read.  Marketers monopolized on the idea that they could appear first, before anyone else, without having to pay for their searches (cough Google AdWords). That idea spawned a whole new age of myth and fact about “What makes a website appear first”. Hopefully we can provide some insight on how to really do that here. One of the largest problems in the fight for the top is the ever-changing algorithms for search engines. In this post we will primarily focus on Google because of some stats that are hard to argue with:

StatCounter Global Stats Reports the top 5 Search via 2012
Engines Sending Traffic Worldwide:
Google sends 90.62% of traffic.
Yahoo! sends 3.78% of traffic.
Bing sends 3.72% of traffic.
Ask Jeeves sends .36% of traffic.

So now, you may be thinking to yourself, ‘Well of course Billy! Google has been out so long of course how they find results has changed.’ But according to specialist MOZ.com, a comparison between just 2011 to 2013 has had some startling results.

1). Value – Are they getting what they came for?

As you can see in the bar chart, a few main things will be influencing how search engines will find you, with one of the most important being value; are the people coming to your website getting what they came for, and then some?

2). Analytics – Data driven results!

With a more heavy focus on the actual analytics of your page. This has some important connotations for marketers and web developers. START USING GOOGLE ANALYTICS! Google has graciously given to us the same tools they will be using to help rank our websites, at no cost. (They’ve got to be mad!)

3). Social Media – Yes, even Google+

Another important factor that you’re probably already doing helping websites you go on everyday is social media. Google+, shares, likes, and tweets can heavily influence how a browser will find your page. They are telling search engines that what you are talking about is valuable (Remember that word? Yes, social media is providing value for the number 1 factor in search).

4). Design – Make it prettier; more butterflies? 

So you have a people tweeting you and you’re using Google Analytics, but what next? Make sure your website is readable, designed well, and easy to navigate, it will actually help how a browser finds you. :)

Luckily for us, all of the things decreasing happen to be the things that were haaard and not fun. So don’t worry too much about paying for your links or adding anchors to your URLs anymore, just stick with those 4 things.

So we got the factors that will be growing most in these upcoming years, but here’s some final tips to help with getting ahead:

  • Use keywords – Tag everything!
  • Start using a Sitemap or Sitemap plugin!
  • Make easy to read URLs – Separate words with a hyphen “-“
  • Create consistent content – Don’t you just love alliteration?
  • Create a Meta File – Browsers will like you more.  ;)
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