What does Google want from a website

To cut a long story short, google wants killer content.

There is no magic way to instantly get to number 1 on Google’s regular results overnight, using a highly competitive or popular key phrase for any length of time. Let me explain why I think this, I may be wrong, but this is how I understand it, and I am open to correction.

Google, Yahoo, MSN and other good Search Engines all have a top secret formula that they use to calculate the results for search topics. That formula is constantly being improved upon, changing results from time to time, and differs from engine to engine, as they all try to be better than the other. All these big search engines have one thing in common, they want to deliver RELEVANT RESULTS to your search term. The all compete against each other to deliver the most relevant results, so sometimes you get similar results across all the big search engines, but similarly you can and do very often get completely different ones.

All these search engines pay your site a visit every so often, to check for changes. If you have a high page rank, they like to come back more often than if you dont, but generally they visit around once a month or so. Every time a spider comes to ‘check’ your site, it is re-evaluated against the current formula the search engine is using. This is when your site will either move up or down in the search results against your competition websites. The interesting thing to note, is that while this is happening to your site, its also happening to your competition’s websites, but not necessarily at the same time. Each search engine doesnt visit everyones sites at exactly the same time, or at the same frequency, so while your site may move down two places today for a specific search term, your main opposition site might move down five places for the same term tomorrow. If you can imagine a magician shuffling a deck of cards, and each card representing the top sites in the results of a search engine, you will realize that your site and your competition’s websites all move up and down on a constant basis.

Search engines are clever! Remember that! Their mission is to deliver the most relevant results at that specific time. These results are influenced by the formula the engine uses, and some, like Google, are a bit too clever, the formula is dynamic, and changes from person to person. If I search for a specific term on google.com, I will get relevant results according to what google thinks I want to find. These results could be completely different from the results for exactly the same search term on google.com, but from a user sitting in Germany, the UK, or the USA. With this in mind, you have to then conclude, that all your checking and optimizing etc is more than likely for your own local search results. If your website is targeting the search results of web surfers in a foreign country, you have to rank high on their results, and not necissarily on the same results locally. So not only do you have to ask yourself “who is your target audience”, but “where is your target audience” too. Now you can understand why many websites offer their visitors a choice of language to view the site in. This is one way of targeting the same audience, possibly in a different county, or using a different language, effectively increasing the web footprint of the website. You can understand then that its quite possible that the german version of a website, will more than likely rank better in google.de, than the english version of the same site. Now think about where your site lists in google.com as opposed to yahoo.com, or msn.co.uk!

So if the formula for search results is extremely complex, and delivers ever changing results for the same search terms, influenced by many elements such as ip address and location, links, domain age, and search trends, to name a few, you will understand why it is not easy to get to position 1 all that easily, UNLESS, your site is the most relevant for that search term.

This brings you right back to the basics of website building, information. What information is on your website? Is your website an authority on its content? Old school marketing always asked “who is your target audience”, many people have forgotten this when building their websites, but this, combined with relevant information is key to having a website, and having a website that WORKS. If your site offers original, relevant information specific to your target market’s search phrases, then you are half way there. Just don’t forget about your competition’s website, if you think they are not all sitting around trying to figure out how to beat your site in search engine rankings, you are sorely mistaken!

I think if you want to get ranked well, you need to really deliver when it comes to your content, target market and your target key phrases you want to be found for. If your site can pass all the ‘checks’ needed, to be ranked at the top of search results, then you have done well. One thing almost every site that ranks high on google has is GREAT CONTENT, have that on your site, and you WILL do well. Dont forget to put yourself into the shoes of your web visitor, be objective and take a hard look at your site, ask yourself a few questions like:

  • would you as a customer be satisfied with the information on your site?
  • Would you come back to the site for more?
  • Is it good enough that you want to refer it to a friend?
  • Is it that informative that you would want to bookmark it?

Once your site has killer content, and you can begin to market your site online, to boost your google rankings.