Search Engine Optimization or also known as SEO, is probably one of the least-understood services on the web today. As a web designer, I often get told in meetings how the website must look & function and right at the end, the client would add: “Oh, and yes – I also want my website to feature on the front page of Google…” And then my response would be: “Sure, I’ll just press the ‘Be-on-the-first-page-of-Google-button and then it’s sorted…”
My sarcastic comment is usually greeted with a stare of either unbelief or disgust… But if it’s not that simple, how does SEO work?
First of all the world wide web (www) consists of millions of webpages. Google has web-bots that crawl the ‘www’ and constructs an index of all the webpages it deems important and informative. When you use Google (www.google.com) to search for a key word or phrase, it uses the index to create a results page for you, ranked from most relevant to least relevant. So in essence this is the web according to Google.
Secondly, Google divides these search results into two main categories:
- Organic search results and
- Paid advertisement results
Organic search results are based apon a secret algorithm that gets updated by Google when they need to better filter the results of your search.
Paid advertisement search results get shown with the organic search results, normally at the top and the right hand side of the results page.
So, the next big question is: How then can I rank on Google’s first page of search results? Maybe the better question to ask is: What can I do to rank on Google’s first page of rank results? Because everyone knows that you can hide a dead body on the second page of Google’s rank results and no-one would find it for no-one looks past the first page…
The short answer is: Hard Work & time. And I know this is not what most people want to hear and that is why so many are trying to cheat their way up the results-ladder. But be warned – for this very reason Google keeps updating their algorithms in order to penalize those using methods to trick Google in placing their web keywords & phrases at the top of the page. This so-called “black-hatting” can cause your website to nose-dive into the webpage-abyss never to recover or be heard off again.
Even if you choose to go the paid advertisement route, the content of your webpages still needs to be good, organised and useful.
The whole secret to a well-ranked page on Google is simply to optimize your content and to satisfy the web-searcher’s need with the best you can offer. This is also Google’s mission: to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.
As long as we offer useful information on the web, we will always rank well.