Hello, my name is Sarah and I am an addict. A Google addict that is.
I am incredibly obsessed with Google because it is a safe place to ask a question and get answers from an official source or peer’s advice. Here is what I searched for in the last few hours:
- Pandora (My homework study-buddy. I Google it instead of typing the simple URL hence the addiction.)
- Sarah Howard (I know, I know… But my Facebook account disappeared and I was looking for it!)
- Organ Donation (research for class)
- Animoto (class)
- Gamma Sigma Sigma (my sorority)
- YouTube (fun/class)
- Ozark Fitness Festival (my race results)
- Random photos for my advertising project
And that doesn’t even include the random questions I ask that Google always answers for me like, “How do I train for a half marathon?” “What is runner’s knee?” “Why do the leaves change colors?” “Where is an earthworm’s head?” My brain works like this commercial for Google that aired during the 2010 Super Bowl:
I think about how often I search for questions throughout the day and wonder how Google is so smart and how does it return such applicable results?
A few weeks ago Kevin Grinder, of dotDIGITAL Studios, spoke to our class about search engine optimization (SEO) and how exactly Google produces such successful search results. SEO describes how a website designer produces valuable content so that Google, or other search engines, will refer searchers to your website.
In order to achieve a high-ranking on a search engine, it is important to understand how a website is evaluated. When search engines discover a new website, they send out a bot to ‘crawl’ to your website and explore it. If it helps, do as I do and envision a robot sneaking over to your website like a secret shopper to evaluate its content.
As the bot is reading the content on the website it looks for frequently used words and where they are placed within the page. Words at the top and words that are links are considered more important than the others. Bold words also gain priority status. Once the bot has reviewed the content, it reports back to its search engine by indexing the keywords.
For instance, a store that sells party supplies would have the word “party” frequently and at the top of the page. A bot would recognize this and tell the search engine that if someone searches for “party” this is a good resource to show them.
As an organization it is important to understand how this works because people often do not view the search results past the first page. Kevin recommended researching what your target market is searching for and use those keywords on your website. Knowing how to manipulating your website’s content in a subtle way can make a big difference in the number of visitors to a website.
Knowing how search engines work makes searching for things a lot more interesting and is very valuable when trying to drive traffic to a website.
Who knew search engines were so complicated and smart? I for one am addicted to their wealth of knowledge.