If you, or your business, maintains a website on the internet, your goal, assumedly, is to have that page seen, and more importantly, clicked, by as many people as possible. These visitors to your site are, of course, potential clients or customers and are vital to the success of your company. Google, not surprisingly, is the most popular search engine by far and will be serving the majority of your potential clients with page results when they perform a search on the services you offer or the products you manufacture or sell. Google, in fact, handles over 80% of the market share among search engines, with Bing and Yahoo in a very distant second and third place handling 8.76% and 7.77% respectively.
Even on Google, users are not likely to scroll or click past the first page of results, making it essential to acquire a high page rank for your site in order to reap any real benefits from the hard work and money you have invested into your website. How then can you ensure that your site will be ranked highly on Google’s Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs)? Optimizing your site to Google’s standards is the only way to compete with other sites offering services and products similar to your own.
Google employs three key processes in returning results to user’s search queries:
1) Crawling: The process by which Google (using Googlebot) discovers new and updated pages to be added to their index. Using an algorithmic process, Googlebot decides which sites to crawl at what frequency and how many pages to fetch from each of those sites. The Google index is constantly updated through this process of crawling.
2) Indexing: After performing the initial crawl, Googlebot compiles an index of all the words, and their locations, which have been found on each of the pages. Additional information, like content found in title tags and ALT attributes, is also processed. Do your research before creating content for your site as Google cannot process all content types.
3) Serving results: When your potential clients enter a search term or query, Google searches their index to find matching pages with results that they determine are most relevant to the user. The level of relevancy of your site is determined by a multitude of factors. In order for your page to rank well within the search results, however, it is absolutely essential that Google is able to crawl and index your site correctly.
To research ways to improve your SERP ranking, and to learn about the most common SEO mistakes websites make, check out Google’s Webmaster Guidelines here.