Episode 1 – How Google Works

Google
Google is the major player in the global search engine market.

If you are US-based it has a market share of about 70% but if you are in the UK Google has over a 90% share of the UK search engine market!

Those figures are replicated all over the English-speaking world!

This means that Google is where you need to put all, or most of, your online marketing efforts.

Probably the only major industrial countries which are not dominated by Google are China, Russia, South Korea and Japan.

Japanese searchers prefer Yahoo and in China Baidu and Qiuoo have reduced Google’s share to about 2%, whilst in Russia Google’s 25% significantly trails Yandex’s 60% share of the market.

If you are planning to do online business in those four countries you will need a different podcast!

This podcast focuses on the intersection between the WordPress website platform, Google’s search engine and basic English-speaking sales and consumer psychology to help business owners understand what they need to do to generate leads and sales through their website.

Although at Lead Generation Websites we work exclusively with WordPress most of the information in this pocast is generally relevant to all types of websites and local businesses.

How to rank in Google

How Google Works

Google is essentially a huge filing system that is ordered by relevance and trust.
When someone enters a search query in its engine – e.g. dog training tips – Google will serve up a set of pages based on over 200 different factors. Most of these factors will focus on the quality of the pages themselves but, these days, some will focus on any known attributes of the searcher.

Pages
The higher Google considers the quality of the page the higher it will rank in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).

The Searcher
With the advent of personalised and location-based search other factors are also taken into consideration.

Google considers some industries to be ‘local’ and so the users’ location will be used to establish which relevant businesses are geographically close to the searcher. If I am in London searching for a dog trainer, being presented with dog trainers from Manchester or Liverpool will not be helpful.

Google themselves have an excellent interactive page outlining exactly how their search engine functions which is well worth spending 5 minutes having a look at;

http://www.google.co.uk/insidesearch/howsearchworks/thestory/

How To Rank in Google

If you have a product or service then being number one in Google for relevant keyword phrases will almost certainly result in enquiries, leads and sales.

Being further down on the first page will have the same effect but to a lesser degree.

Unfortunately there can only be 10 web-pages on the first page of Google (more in some local searches), but fortunately there are generally multiple keywords that are relevant to a product or service and so you have multiple chances to get a page one listing.

The process of ranking well in the search engines is known as Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and this involves making certain changes to web pages to make them more relevant to specific keyword phrases and more visible to Google thus increasing the chances of a good placement.

SEO can be divided in to two aspects – on-page and off-page.

On-page SEO refers to, as you might expect, elements on the web pages themselves, whilst off-page SEO refers to external factors – primarily incoming links.

We will go into detail on both these aspects of SEO in the forthcoming episodes so for now I will give you a brief overview;

On-page
Keywords that your prospects are using to search Google for your products and services should be placed in strategic positions on your webspages;

  • URLs
  • Titles
  • Headings
  • Content

You should have at least 500 words of relevant and original content on your pages, together with an original image, a video and/or something interactive – map, lead-capture form, etc.

Google wants content so the more useful content in multi-media format that you can put on your pages the better. Augment that content by completing the page and site meta-tags correctly and you will have a good chance of ranking because Google will consider your page to be within their quality guidelines and also relevant for teh targeted phrases.

Once you have your pages set-up correctly it is time to look at off-page SEO.

Off-Page
Off-page SEO is about incoming links. That is pretty much it tbh. However the topic of incoming links is complicated and full of subtlities.

Here is a very simplified version;

  • Google considers incoming links – that is links from other websites or web properties – as a vote for the site receiving the link.
  • The more quality incoming links you have the better your site will rank.
  • Poor quality links will actually hurt your rankings.

Links can be garnered through other websites linking to your or built through various methods of content syndication. Content comes in various forms;

  • Text articles
  • PDFs
  • Videos
  • Images
  • PowerPoint’s/Slideshows
  • Podcasts
  • Infographics
  • Software

For example if you have a video uploaded to YouTube you can put your website URL in the dexcription box and that will be a live link to your website!

The more contextual links from high-quality, relevant websites pointing to your website the higher it will rank in Google.

But just like with on-page optimisation there are penalties for getting it wrong and being obviously manipulative.

But Local SEO is Different

Although local SEO was and remains different, recent changes by Google have meant that those differences have reduced and that traditional on and off page SEO factors have once more become influential.

As a local business you will need to claim your Local Google listing which will help Google make you visible in its local map listings.

As well as on and off page SEO that we have talked about the local maps listings also use citations and reviews as ranking factors.

A citation is an instance of your business name, address & phone number (NAP) on the internet, with or without a link.

NAP info is a very important factor in Local SEO.

Reviews can be completed on your businesses Google local listing page.

So to summarise;

To rank in Google you need a website that is;

  • Optimised for your relevant keywords
  • Full of relevant and original multi-media content
  • Incoming links from relevant and trusted websites
  • Citations and reviews (for local)

In upcoming episode we will look at these factors in more detail.

Action Steps;

Review your website for

  • Keywords in titles and headings – “Welcome to our website” is a crime against optimisation!
  • Content – is your content original, relevant and useful.
  • Has your business claimed a Google My Business local listing?
  • What links do you have pointing to your website?