In order to effectively search engine optimize (SEO) your website, it is important to know how Google works.
The Search Engine Process
- Google finds your site, usually by following a link to your site from another external site
- Google parses all of the content and information on your site
- Google creates a keyword density report to understand what your site is about
- Studying the anchor text of inbound links, Google understands how other people describe your site
- Google indexes all of this information into its databases creating a snapshot of your website
- Along comes a web visitor who uses Google for a specific search term to find relevant web pages
- Google (almost) instantly delivers a list of sites for that search term sorted and ranked by relevance
So, before a web visitor even comes along to use Google, your site must have already been found, crawled, parsed and indexed by Google if you expect it to be delivered in its search engine results page (SERP). Google does not perform this entire process, on-the-fly, the moment or instant that a web visitor first comes along to perform this query.
“Signals” that influence Google
Google looks for various “signals” that helps it label, rank, sort, and websites for relevance vis-à-vis various keyword phrases or search terms. Every web page of a site is usually indexed. All of this individual web page data is aggregated or rolled up to form a single snapshot of a particular site.
In order for a site to be relevant and rank high on the search engine results page (SERP) for a given search term, the keywords within that search phrase should be prominent within the signals that Google considers important.
Some of the most important signals include:
- URL of each web page on a site
- Title tag
- Content (words and text within the pages of the site)
- Links, buttons, and navigation within the site
- Anchor text (link text) of the links coming in from other external websites and blogs
Google will place positive and negative polarity and weight to each of these signals and then calculate a score that determines a website’s ranking factor for a particular keyword phrase.