The beginner’s guide to SEO – Part Two – How do search engines work?
In Part One of our beginner’s guide to SEO we explained how any web design company in NYC needs to build characteristics into the sites it creates that help Google and other search engines to understand what the site is all about. These characteristics must also demonstrate that the site provides a better answer to a given problem or question than other sites in the same niche. In essence, this is what SEO is all about. It is what those companies providing search engine optimization services in New York and beyond are working to do every day.
The first thing we need to get to grips with is how search engines “think,” and let’s do so by looking at an example. You use a search engine because you are trying to find something or to answer a question. Suppose that something you are trying to find is a “web design company in NYC.” Now it doesn’t take any great leap of imagination to guess that there are plenty of websites out there meeting that kind of definition. So how does Google decide which ones make the best results for your search?
Search and index – the continuing mission of the Google bots.
A little like the Star Ship Enterprise, the Google bots are on a continuing mission to explore new websites. It is easiest to picture them as spiders, crawling the world wide web – a web that is formed of billions of linked sites. The bots crawl your site and analyze its content, storing its conclusions in monstrously large data centers.
The search engine then has the even more complicated task of answering your search query – in this case, web design company in New York. To decide which sites offer the best solution to your query, and should, therefore, feature at the top of the results page, Google uses a unique algorithm. Like the recipe for Pepsi Cola or KFC’s crispy coating, its exact nature is highly complex and is a closely guarded secret, but we certainly know the essential ingredients. Two of the most important are relevance and authority.
Assessing relevance and authority
When you think about it, that makes sense. First and foremost, the search engine needs to find sites that are relevant to your search. You might think this involves keywords for example. This very article has mentioned the search query “web design company in NYC” more than once – does that mean it will rank for relevance? It’s certainly a start, but numerous other factors also go into the mix.
Once it’s dealt with relevance, the search engine will still have hundreds of sites that are all about web design company in NYC. Some of these will be web pages that have literally just been posted by kids in their bedrooms, while others will be from the most respected web design company in NYC. Clearly, then, Google’s next step is to prioritize the ones that know what they are talking about and are the experts in the field. This is what is meant by authority.
Again, many factors determine authority. For example, companies provide content writing services in New York specifically to address this issue and to help clients establish authority by delivering fresh, relevant and thought-leading content on a regular basis.
To take a step back for a moment, though, the broad assumption that Google makes is that the most authoritative sites are going to be the ones that provide the most useful information and will, therefore, be the most popular. Moreover, this is why traffic is considered so important a metric in SEO.
Traffic and SEO – a virtuous circle
Most people assume that increased traffic is an effect of improving SEO, but you can see that it can also be causative. It is a classic example of a virtuous circle. Improve your traffic and Google sees your site as more authoritative, improving your rankings, and this, in turn, sends more traffic to your site.
So how can you get that wheel in motion? We will address that question in the next installment when we take a look at some specific tools and techniques for improving relevance and authority in the eyes of the Google bots. If you have any questions our web design company in NYC is ready to help. Call Hummingbird Web Design at 516-883-3851.