For the majority of small and medium-sized businesses, a large amount of traffic that you’ll receive on your website and other online channels will often come from search engines. The majority of this traffic will come from Google, which is the leader among search engines by a wide margin. That’s not to say that Bing or Yahoo searches aren’t worth the time, but studies have shown that the lion’s share of search traffic will come from Google.
What is search engine optimization? I think a better question is, “What is optimization as it relates to search engines?” What it isn’t is search engine marketing. That term is often used along with search engine optimization as though the two are interchangeable. However, in my opinion, there is no such thing as search engine marketing.
In reality, the search engines are the owners of the audience that uses their website to search the Internet. It’s basically their decision to send traffic to your website, meaning that there is little or no marketing involved as it relates to search engines, unless you’re buying advertising.
What is available, however, is working with search engines to provide their visitors the best search possible. What that means is you must identify what the main goal or purpose is for a search engine.
According to Google, their primary goal is to provide the most relevant authoritative search results to assist their audience. Meaning, if I search for a particular search term, I can expect Google to provide me with the highest quality information possible regarding that search term.
Therefore it’s essential to understand what Google is trying to accomplish. Marketers sometimes look at Google as being a competitor, or a riddle that they need to decode. Trying to reverse engineer the search algorithm has been a quest that many have tried in vain to accomplish.
But the proper tactic, and more importantly, the proper mindset, should be to think of Google, Yahoo, and Bing as your search partners. That obviously goes against much of what is written within search engine optimization discussion; however since this is not yet your audience, your best bet is to learn how to play by the proper rules and give the search engines exactly what they need to be successful with their job.
So if Google’s purpose is to provide the most relevant articles and the best results on each search for each consumer, then it’s your job to give Google whatever it needs so that your information and your expertise is available to them. That doesn’t mean you will be creating content and writing articles specifically for Google. But it does mean that you’ll be aware of the specific priorities and recommendations that Google makes so they can access your articles and information quickly and efficiently. Then when a search engine crawls your site, your content can appear for the appropriate search query in their search results.
Here’s another extremely important point. Search engines, and the algorithms that they use to help convert a search query into search results, are always changing.
Google search engine algorithms literally change every day. What that means is trying to create content or modify your website to reverse engineer a Google algorithm is a losing battle. A better approach is to find out what Google is looking for in general, and give them exactly what they need.
So what are Google and other search engines looking for? What are the points that they, as a business, need to make sure that customers continue to come back to Google, and not defect to another search engine? Here are some of the top recommended components that Google has shared with us over the years.
What Google Wants
Google looks for highly relevant, unique, quality, original content. First and foremost, your articles have to be new, and they have to be original. With the technology available to the search engines these days, copying someone else’s work is quickly and easily revealed. Therefore you need to be able to provide your own voice and your own expertise in your own unique and engaging way.
Whenever possible, it’s also a great idea to take a deep dive into particular subjects and topics that are within your expertise. The more in-depth information that you can provide within your range of knowledge, the better chance you’ll have of being unique and standing out amongst all the other potential information providers.