How does Google work, exactly?

“I just want to be at the top of Google”

“I wish more people could find my business rather than my competitors”

We hear things like this a lot. “Google” has become synonymous with searching for information. In fact, most people in the UK now say “I’m going to Google it” rather than “I’m going to search for it”.

So, what does that mean for your business? It means you need to be at the top of that Google search, and you need to stand out from the crowd when you get there.

The perfect search engine as something which understands exactly what you mean and gives you back exactly what you want.

Larry Page, Google co-founder

Any time you search for something on Google there are thousands, often millions, of webpages that could contain relevant information.

Google, and other search engines such as Bing, need to figure out which is the most relevant to you. We’ll stick to talking about Google in this blog to make things a little easier – the concept is the same for the others though.

So how does Google know which is the most relevant? In the background, Google is always on the look out for new websites or new content.

It has a network of spiders which crawl the internet, going from webpage to webpage, organising information and webpage content in to its Search Index.

Matt Cutts, who was previously part of Google’s search quality team, explains how the search engine finds, indexes, and then displays search results.

How Search Works

In summary, Google uses a few different methods to rank pages in terms of relevance:

  • Page crawling – Spiders begin with a list of web addresses from past crawls and sitemaps provided by website owners and branch out, finding more and more pages.
  • Content relevance and quality – the words and phrases that people will be searching for, in context and as part of well written content.
  • “The algorithm” – Google’s custom ranking system that sorts through billions of pages in their Search Index. Google are very protective of their algorithm and often tweak the settings. Keeping on top of the changes are key to ranking highly.
  • Useful responses – Rich formats, such as images and videos, are deemed better for searchers so rank higher than plain text.

So in order to appear higher in the list of results there’s a few things you need to think about doing to your website. This is called Search Engine Optimisation – SEO.

Using strategy and creativity, implementing SEO helps the performance of your website and where it appears in search engine results, and is tailored to reach your audience and drive increased traffic to your website.

Five tips for SEO

Optimise your titles, descriptions and URLs

Examine your website and make sure every page has a unique, meaningful title and a catch description.

Descriptive, friendly page titles are more likely to be clicked on than pages that only use out of context keywords, or even worse – just the page filename.

Changing these titles is a great initial step to improve your rankings on Google.

Keep your content up-to-date and relevant

Blogs, like this one, are a great way to keep your content fresh and engaging for users. They also have the added benefit of being shareable on social media and on other websites, which means more places link to your website

If your website’s content is static, old or out of date then it’s likely your visitors will go away quickly and never come back.

There’s huge competition for every keyword you search and those websites that have the most useful and fresh content, have more chances of winning the race.

Register your website with Google Webmaster Tools

Google already knows everything they need to know about your website with or without submitting it to webmaster tools, however registering your website means that Google keeps an (automated!) eye out and lets you know if there’s ever a problem that’ll affect your current search rankings.

It’ll also show you the search queries that your website is appearing for, so you can improve the keywords you’re using in your titles and descriptions.

Speed up the loading time for your website

Google loves fast websites because people love fast websites. Having to wait even two or three seconds for a page to load before you can read it can switch users off and send them elsewhere.

Big images are the main cause of slow websites, so reducing the size of images is an easy win.

Make your website mobile friendly

More than 70% of website traffic now comes from mobile devices, so if your website doesn’t look right – or worse, just doesn’t work at all – on mobile you’re missing out on a massive proportion of traffic.

Google has started to weight search results in favour of mobile-friendly websites; using speed, accessibility and usability on average mobile devices – think last years’ iPhone.

So, what can you do about it?

We offer great value SEO support for your website, starting with a scan of your website to find common issues that are affecting your search rankings.

Once we’ve sorted the easy stuff for you we can work on proactively increasing your position in search results – because everyone wants to be at the top of the list.

Are you the best accountant in Macclesfield? We can get you to the top for “Macclesfield accountant”, “Accountants in Cheshire” and much more.

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