Google search. We all use it, but few of us understand it. We just trust it to answer all our questions immediately. If you want to earn a spot on page 1, it’s important to learn how Google chooses what to display in search results. Check out this overview of the process.
First, a Googlebot “crawls” around the web discovering new or updated pages to add to the Google index. A Googlebot is also called a spider, if that helps you visualize the process a little better. A massive set of computers is used to crawl the billions of pages on the web using super secret algorithms to determine which sites to crawl, how often, and the number of pages to grab from each site.
The crawling process starts with a big list of web page URLs that it’s collected from previous crawls. The Googlebot visits each site, detecting links on each page and adding them to its list of pages to crawl. It also makes note of any new sites, modified sites, and dead links and updates the Google index accordingly.
All sites are crawled equally–you can’t pay Google to crawl a site more frequently (AdWords is kept separate from Google’s search process). You can, however, request a crawl from Google Web Master tools if you’ve made some updates you want Google to find quickly.
As the Googlebot crawls through pages, it builds a huge index of all the words it processes and where they’re located on each page. It also processes the information in key attributes and content tags, like ALT attributes and Title tags.
Whenever you type something into the search bar, Google scours its index and displays results it considers most relevant to you. More than 200 factors are used to determine relevancy, such as content, page loading speed, and location information. Another is PageRank: the measure of a page’s importance based on inbound links from other pages. Each link to a page on your site from another site boosts the PageRank for your site.
Since Google is all about user experience, it doesn’t treat all links equally — it prioritizes links with high quality content, and filters out any links with spam or shady practices intended to skew search results. The best way to up your PageRank is with backlinks from a variety of sites with high authority.
It all comes back to content.
The best way to score a top spot in search results it by creating high quality content and promoting it. This could mean regularly publishing blog posts on topics relevant to your target audience. The problem is, it’s often tough for small businesses to find the time to maintain a consistent blog, let alone promote it effectively. The good news? You don’t have to create all that content yourself.
Some of the best content actually comes from your customers themselves.
Online reviews are full of things Google loves: fresh content, relevant keywords, and images published on authoritative sites like Facebook, TripAdvisor and Google itself. The key is to get new reviews on a consistent basis. The more recent the reviews, the higher your page ranks. New reviews also give prospective customers more confidence in your company; a customer’s experience from last week is more relevant than an experience someone had three years ago.
While you boost your star ratings, you can boost your search ranking, too. Treat online reviews like you would blog posts. Share them to your social channels and company website as authentic, informative advertisements that customers know they can trust.
Some other tips:
– Claim your business on Google My Business to manage your presence across Google Search and Google Maps. Verifying and editing your business information helps you manage the information users see when searching for your business or relevant products and services and show up in local searches.
– After claiming your Google My Business account, make sure your business listings are accurate and up-to-date everywhere–not just on Google My Business–so Google knows you’re legit. Nearly one-third of mobile searches include a location.
– Enhance each page your business is listed on by including rich content like photos, videos, hours of operation, incentives, and reviews. Informative content like this increases click-through rates, moving your pages further up in results.
All this might sound like a lot of work, but it doesn’t have to be. BirdEye lets you collect new reviews from your customers automatically, on sites you care about most. As fresh reviews come in, BirdEye gives you the tools to promote them across the web and maximize the power of happy customer voices.
Creating a solid online presence is easy with BirdEye, too. From one place, you’re able to find every place your listings are inaccurate or missing, then fix them in real-time with one click. You can also add enhanced content to all your listings straight from within the platform.
Now that you understand Google search, you’re one step closer to making it your competitive edge.
With BirdEye, it’s easier than ever to get new authentic customer reviews, building trust that leads to more sales. In today’s reputation economy, BirdEye provides the eyes, ears and algorithms necessary to create the five-star customer experiences that keep your business at the top.