Secrets of Googles Search Engine
Secrets of Google's Search Engine
Google is the most used search engine on the planet. Any merchant selling online needs to understand exactly how Google works and how this understanding can be used to make your website appear in its rankings above your competitors.
However, Google's algorythm is its secret sauce. Google don't say how their search system works, and from time to time, they change the way that it works which does not make it easy.
It's interesting to look at it from the point of view of the creators of Google. At the time they started Google there were a number of search engines. These search engines spidered web pages looking at the content of each web page to try and work out what the page was about. Crucial to this were the tags used in the formatting of a web page. Most notably, the title, meta description, meta keywords and h1,h2,h3 tags.
With early search engines when a page was properly laid out it had the best chance of ranking highly as the search engine would look for keywords and the amount of time those keywords were repeated throughout the site.
The problem with early search engines, was that it was easy to manipulate. Web designers would cover pages in keywords but hide them from normal web browsers by making the colour of the words white so they could not be seen against a white background. There were many other tricks but it became usual for a web search to return completely unrelated and usually unwanted results.
Google changed all this and solved the problem what is undoubtedly the most most financially rewarding simple idea in history. The creators of Google (Larry Page and Sergey Brin) decided that a much better way of working out what a website was about was to look at the quantity and content of hyperlinks pointing to that site. Specifically the anchor text in the hyperlink. To further improve the accurace of this, Hyperlinks on websites with higher visitor numbers would be taken more seriously than hyperlinks on websites which had no visitors. In addition to this, Google also recorded how important a website was by the number of people clicking on it in its search results.
That is really it - and it's exactly the same way that Google works now. Interestingly the method Google uses caused one notable problem which also handily exposes exactly how it works. The problem is called "Google Bombs".
The problem with Google's method is exactly what makes it a good system. It relies on third parties to decide on how important a website is.
When a number of influential websites all put a hyperlink on their websites with the text 'Miserable Failure' pointing to the George W Bush page on the White House website, the most famous Google Bomb was created.
When users searched for 'Miserable Failure', Google would return the George W Bush page as the top result.
Another example of a Google Bomb is "French Military Victories" - This would return a page with the message "Did you mean French Military Defeats"
There are also many other examples of this - however the Miserable Failure example gets more interesting...
Google came under pressure to sort this out, as it was making their system look a bit silly. However, how do you sort it out if that is simply the way that the system works. Initially they simply blocked specific terms, however it would be a full time job for someone at Google to keep tracking new Google bombs and manually block them and some would invariably slip through the net.
After a while, they provided an update to their search engine which blocked Google Bombs altogether. However how is this possible, when that's simply how their system works? The answer was provided in 2007 when 'Miserable Failure' suddenly started working again. The reason for this was because the White House had included the word 'Failure' on their Home Page. This revealed that the only fix that Google could put in place to stop Google Bombs was to make sure that at least one of the words in the hyperlink anchor text actually appears on the website that it is pointing to.
So what can we learn from this?
To promote a site, you simply need to get hyperlinks back to your site on as many influential websites as is possible (backlinks). In addition, make sure that the text in the hyperlink is actually on the web page that the link is pointing to.
It is important to re-iterate though that Google is counting the number of clicks on each website in its search results and giving priority to those with higher numbers of clicks. Therefore, if you get lots of backlinks your site will be promoted higher, but if there is an existing website in the results which is getting more clicks than you then it may not be possible to overtake that site.
The most cost effective marketing than you can possibly do is to work on a link building campaign to get links on other websites pointing back to your website. This will give you a constant stream of free traffic that can reap huge rewards for a business.
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