What have you Googled today? What determined your search results?
Updated: Aug 16, 2019
We live in a world where you can instantly obtain information on about anything you want, Google receives over 3.5 billion searches each day. If we want to know or need something, we just have to do a quick search and we have more options and information available to choose from than we could probably ever read through. I was traveling a lot recently and in each place I went I found myself googling all kinds of different things from closest gym, best place for lunch, best pizza in Chicago, to what's the pedestrian death rate in Costa Rica : ) (in case you are wondering, it's actually quite high which didn't surprise me too much)
You can instantly find almost anything you want with a quick Google search, but as you probably know there is an algorithm to how those results are presented to you. When you do a search query you enter certain phrases (keywords) based on what you are searching for and your search engine generates a SERP (search engine results page). The SERP you are presented is based on a wide range of circumstances beyond even your search terms, such as your browsing history and physical location. All search engines use programs called spiders or crawlers that help to determine search results. Those spiders crawl through the internet to read through all of the text, meta tags, links, codes, etc within each site to better understand each page and then it provides a profile to the search engine. I am not going to go into spiders in too much detail, but when you hear your site should be optimized, it's because those spiders are going to better understand your site if you provide them with as much information as possible, hence the reason it is so important to have links and meta tags on your site and for other sites to have links that lead back to your site. (the more links from highly ranked credible sites back to your site is one of the biggest contributors to your overall ranking). These spiders are what generate those keywords you hear about being so important to your SEO ranking. They scan your site and generate catalogs of keywords and as they continue to crawl from site to site the search engine is given a more comprehensive understanding of each site and relevant keywords. Having informative, unique, and substantive content helps your SEO ranking as Google wants to provide it's users with the most relevant information. So if someone searches for "best happy hour near me," and they land on a site that never mentions happy hour at all, they will quickly leave that page. Be informative and provide high quality content and you will attract more customers and will have a much better ranking.
Search engines have an enormous index of keywords that help to generate relevant search results so that when we search we are given the information we were seeking without having to try very hard at all. One of the things that sets Google apart from other search engines and why you hear people say "just Google it" rather then "bing that" is how they rank those results. Google definitely wins with most users when it comes to obtaining information. They remain competitive with other search engines because they don't share their algorithm or PageRank system which assigns each web page a relevancy score. SEO specialists and marketers spend a lot of time trying to master and understand this ranking system because as an advertiser being at the top of a SERP is one of the most important and crucial elements to reaching consumers. Google obviously benefits from it's advertisers, but they put their users needs above all and therefore strive to give the best and most accurate information in their search results.
Understanding keywords and how to place them within your website and the ads you are running is an ongoing process and there are many factors to be considered when thinking about the relevant keywords to your brand and the frequency they are used. Think about how people are searching for you, we as consumers are becoming far more specific in our queries and expect to find exactly what we need when we search.
You've probably heard of organic searches vs direct searches and for the most part understand what that means based on the terminology. But just in case, an organic search is when someone finds your site from somewhere else by doing a search for something, and a direct search is when they directly type in your web address into their browser. When it comes to keywords you are focusing on those organic searches whether branded or unbranded. You should consider what a customer would be interested in when they do a search for your company. This is often what you are showcasing or hoping they will find when they search for you. If you are a restaurant that is great for business lunches, you will want your keyword phrases to feature that. It is also very important to have accurate information across your site, specifically contact and location information. Quite often I use the term "near me" in my search queries and if a business doesn't have their location and hours accurately displayed, not only on their own site but across any other sites they are located on, Google (and other search engines) won't know to find that business and report it in my search results.
As consumers become more and more accustom to finding everything they want and need with a quick search, it is becoming more important and pertinent for advertisers to evaluate and understand how their websites and the keywords they use represent their brands and how to utilize them to maximize their exposure and land at the top of search pages.
Do you need help understanding how to optimize your website or researching and analyzing keywords to improve your SEO ranking? firstname.lastname@example.org