Wednesday, October 8, 2008

How Google Works

Google, like other search engines, uses automated software to read, analyze,
compare, and rank your web pages. So you need to know what elements and factors
Google cares about, and how important these factors are in relation to each other.

Because this is an important concept, it will be repeated: Google uses automated
software to analyze your website – not human beings. Which means that visual
elements of your website that may matter to you – like layout, color, animation,
Flash, and other graphics are ignored by Google. The Google search engine is like a
blind person reading a book in Braille – anything that is graphical, spatial, or visual in
nature is simply not seen.

As such, you need to start thinking like the Google search engine.

So What Is a Ranking?

As stated previously, a ranking on a search engine is a web page’s listing and
relative placement on a results page (also known as a SERP) for a certain search
query. As an example, if you type “house plans” into the search box at Google, you
will get those listings displayed (10 listings per page by default) that Google deems
most relevant to the search phrase house plans, sorted in order of relative

The most relevant and most important web pages are listed in descending order.
For Google, page relevancy is dependent on how well a web page “matches” a
specific word search. Page importance on the other hand is dependent on the
quality and quantity of links that point to your web page from other web pages
(particularly from web pages on websites other than your own). The concept of link
quality is important and will be discussed in a later chapter.

If your site does not appear in the top 30 for your most important category or subject,
you might as well forget getting much traffic from Google or from any other search
engine. Because many people never go past the first page for a search result, you
really need to be in the top 10.

It can be debated how much more traffic a #1 gets compared to say, a #3 or a #10
ranking. Studies indicate that those listings “above the fold” on a results page (which
means anything higher than a #4 or #3 depending on your monitor size, resolution,
and other factors) do better than those below the fold as a certain percentage of
people do not scroll. Above the fold is anything displayed on the page before you
have to start scrolling.