Google does a great job at making everything seem simple. If you want to know something, you go to google.com, type in what you are looking for and – boom – there it is. If you wrote your search clearly enough, your answer will almost definitely be somewhere on that first page and probably at the top of it. (Let’s all take a moment to appreciate the age we live in. That’s pretty cool, isn’t it?)

Go to google.com and conduct a search. Look at one of the first things on the page. It should say something like “About 23,300,000 results (0.43 seconds).” You may not have even noticed it’s there, but there is a lot happening in that split second that is important to understanding SEO. Let’s dig into what’s going on behind the scenes.

What Google’s up to in a few tenths of a second

After you type in your search and hit enter, Google basically has to do three things:

  1. Figure out what you’re trying to learn.
  2. Find the pages relevant to what you’re trying to learn.
  3. Rank the relevant pages.

Let’s take a look at each of these steps.

1. Figure out what you’re trying to learn

This might seem obvious, but it can get complicated fast. Suppose you type in “Columbus blue jackets” into Google. Before doing anything else, Google has to try to make sense of what you just typed in.

  • Are you looking for information about the Columbus Blue Jackets of the NHL?
  • Are you looking for blue coats in stores located in Columbus, Georgia?
  • Are you doing a research paper about the fashion of 1492?

This example is a little silly, but it shows how even seemingly simple searches can be difficult for Google to decipher. Although Google is doing all the heavy lifting here, it’s important not to overlook this step in the process because it is closely tied to the next step.

2. Find the pages relevant to what you’re trying to learn

This is where Google could use a hand. There’s a lot of stuff on the web. Google has to figure out what tiny portion of that big pile of stuff pertains to what you’re looking for. You can help Google (and yourself) by making it clear what your site and its pages are all about.

3. Rank the relevant pages

An unordered list of 4 million pages won’t do you any good. One reason why Google’s search is so useful is because it has always been good at ranking pages by their pertinence to your search and the pages’ quality. You wouldn’t want to use Google if the top results didn’t usually give you what you were looking for.

Where you come in

If you are working to increase your website traffic from search, then you are living in those second and third steps. All of SEO essentially boils down to how your site performs in those two steps that happen in just a few tenths of a second.

You want to make sure Google understands what your site is about so it will be listed when someone searches for topics you have content about, and you want Google to understand that you have quality content so your pages rank highly. In our next post, we’ll begin to look at what you can do to help Google understand what you have on your pages and make Google understand why your content is great.

If you need assistance improving your site’s ranking for Google searches important to your organization, NuGrowth Solutions can help. To find out how, contact the NuGrowth team at 800-966-3051 or fill out a contact form and we will be in touch.

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Author: Nick Kelly

Nick manages the development and maintenance of websites for NuGrowth Digital clients, as well as SEO initiatives and AdWords campaigns. He uses his background in writing and website development to keep websites focused on their users and gathering leads for clients.

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