When you build your own website, there are a number of essential factors to consider. These are not limited to the brand messaging, products or services to be featured and other content included on the platform. However, if the website is not optimized for search engines, users will have a very hard time finding – let alone visiting – the page.
For this reason, it is incredibly important that e-commerce firms, as well as businesses in every industry, pay close attention to their online presence. Understanding how Google finds and ranks your website in its search results can make all the difference. Taking this a step further with content marketing specifically geared for search engine optimization is a smart move that every company should consider.
First things first: Googlebot
Before the optimization process can begin, business leaders and website administrators must have a clear understanding of the steps taken by Google to examine and rank the website. Google uses three strategies for its search: crawling, indexing and serving.
- Crawling: According to Google, crawling is when Googlebot - the program that fetches or crawls the billions of websites on the Internet - discovers pages that will be added to the Google index. Googlebot, also known as a robot, bot or spider, leverages an algorithm created by Google that specifies what pages the bots will crawl, how often, and how many pages will be fetched from each site for the index."Google's crawl process begins with a list of Web page URLs, generated from previous crawl processes, and augmented with Sitemap data provided by webmasters," Google explained. "As Googlebot visits each of these websites, it detects links on each page and adds them to its list of pages to crawl."
- Indexing: The next step is indexing, where Googlebot creates a list of words, content tags and attributes, as well as their locations on each page. Some content, such as rich media files or dynamic pages, cannot be processed.
- Serving: This is the phase where the search results are offered up to the user. Google takes into account more than 200 different factors to determine a website's relevancy, and therefore its search ranking. One of these considerations is the website's PageRank."PageRank is the measure of the importance of a page based on the incoming links from other pages," Google noted. "In simple terms, each link to a page on your site from another site adds to your site's PageRank."
Best practices for SEO
Armed with an in-depth understanding of how Googlebot works, website administrators can then utilize certain best practices to ensure that their pages are optimized for high search result rankings. These include:
- The use of proper links: Google noted that its bots do not treat all links equally."Google works hard to improve the user experience by identifying spam links and other practices that negatively impact search results," the company stated.For this reason, decision-makers must be careful about the incoming and outgoing links included on their websites. For instance, Google frowns upon links that lead to spam pages or don't add anything to the content being presented. The firm recommends leveraging links that enhance the quality of the content.
- Consider your robots.txt strategy: Feedthebot pointed out that every website uses the robots.txt file to manage how Google connects with its pages. In a nutshell, webmasters can use this file to specify what content bots should crawl, where they shouldn't go. This can be used to a website's advantage."The less Googlebot is spending time on unnecessary sections of your site, the more it can crawl and return the more important sections of your site," KISSmetrics noted.
- Update and add new content: While PageRank determines the frequency of crawls, Google will likely place a higher importance on websites with newer content when pages are similarly ranked, KISSmetrics pointed out. Keeping this in mind, including fresh content can mean the difference in search ranking."You win if you get your low PageRank pages crawled more frequently than the competition," noted online marketing expert A.J. Kohn.