You are trying to remember the name of that 1980s movie starring Tom Hanks and Shelley Long. Perhaps you were wondering who won the Women’s World Cup in 2015. If you are like the other 1.7 billion people who conduct online searches, you “Google it.” When you perform a Google search, what really happens? How do they come up with so many hits for you in just a few seconds? Welcome to the world of Google’s algorithm, their leading technology.

Google's Algorithm

We have become so accustomed to going online to find information, it’s now second nature. Almost no one uses dictionaries and encyclopedias anymore. But how much do you understand SEO and Google’s algorithm? Once you learn more about it and how it can help your business, you may never search the same way again.

A brief history of optimizing for Google’s algorithm (SEO)

Google was started by two men in Stanford University’s Computer Science Department. In 1996, Sergey Brin and Larry Page sought to create a search engine that would crawl through websites and index the Internet. Other similar services of the time included Webcrawler, with its 4,000 servers and Yahoo, which still used humans to power its research.

Google released the PageRank algorithm, which ranked websites based on the number of incoming links. The more popular the site and the more links it had meant it would rank higher. It is still considered a key factor in how a page is ranked by Google and other search engines today.

How Google’s algorithms work

On the actual page, there are a variety of factors looked at to move up in the ranks. The subject heading, meta tags and page heading, content, and keywords are also important factors.

From 2003 to 2005, technical components were added to help the search engine figure out more about the site. This included anchor text, keyword density, and topic modeling. Doing so allowed the algorithm to highlight topics contained within content, and tries to locate the documents that have most likely generated this certain search term collection. As a result, the more pertinent a page is to the question, the higher it will rank in the search results.

At this time shady Black Hat SEO practitioners developed underhanded ways to try and beat Google’s system. Things like web graffiti, invisible text, and cramming blogs with search terms began to give the profession a bad name. It also led Google to sharpen it’s tools and create better ways to gain consumer trust, the birth of Google’s algorithm.

This led to domain authority and link diversity. The result?  Differentiation between serious sites and the fly-by-night sites that are here today and gone tomorrow. If your site had high authority, you were pushed to the top of searches.

After 2011, Google has been making periodic changes to its algorithm to prevent spamming and minimize the ranking of content farms. Panda, Penguin, and Hummingbird, versions of Google’s algorithm have continued to change the way searches are conducted and has driven the website design and development industries since their inception.

The global dominance of Google

There are over a billion websites on the internet today. Billions of customers now access these sites from hundreds to even thousands of types of smart devices today. Who is at the center of it all? Google.

Other search engines exist. Sites like Bing, Yahoo, and Ask.com have never always existed, but have never risen to the level of Google.

The algorithm used by Google controls the look and content of most websites. After all, they say that if your business can’t be found on the first page of a search, you may as well not exist. Sites that don’t adhere to its rules about links, architecture, and volume are pushed to the side and ignored.

Why SEO is so vital for your business

How do your customers find you? These days, a majority of them find you online, by performing a keyword search. Prospects go through more than half of the sales cycle before even talking to one of your representatives. They must find you, discover that you have what they’re looking for, and trust you enough to make a purchase, all without setting foot in your business.

Google has found a way to take what someone types into a keyword search and generate a list of best possible candidates for the answers. Numerous studies have found that approximately 75 percent of searchers never venture beyond the first page of hits. That’s what makes SEO so crucial. Your website must contain the right keywords for the Google algorithm to find you and put you at or near the top of the list of what your ideal customer is searching for.

Top facts every business owner needs to know about SEO

Your website must be accepted by both customers and Google. Keywords, phrases, and tags on your page are what Google algorithm uses to rank your website. Once customers are directed to you, you must then have the information in an easy-to-find, mobile responsive format.

Only use White Hat SEO techniques. Many companies may try to trick you with false promises and guarantees they can’t deliver. Often, they do this using “illegal”, spammy tactics. These results will only be temporary and Google will penalize you when they find out (and they will find out). There are effective, legal methods to drive human traffic to your website, such as link building, content creation, and keyword analysis.

SEO should be seen as an investment, not as a price tag. The process entails giving your target audience the highest quality content with the right keywords. This is essential for engaging customers and developing brand loyalty and should be part of your overall plan.

How an SEO company can improve your bottom line

SEO specialists conduct extensive research and use their data to help clients move to the top of Google searches. With changes happening all the time, it’s imperative to have the best SEO company to ensure you are making the most of your online presence to find customers and increase your profitability. They will help you keep your website fresh and constantly improving.

You could have an outstanding product, exceptional service and wonderful content, but these things mean nothing if customers can’t find and learn about you. Trust the experts at 9Sail to continuously optimize your site for reliable, long term results.

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