Reverse Engineering Google

 

In his book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” Stephen R. Covey repeatedly talks about a specific principle.  The verbiage he uses is “seek first to understand, then to be understood.”  It’s a brilliant principle that is often easier said than done when it comes to human relationships.  As humans it is in our nature to always ask what’s in it for us and forget about what’s in it for everyone else.  This same principle applies not only to human interactions but to nearly everyone and everything.  We’re going to use this principle to put ourselves in the shoes of Google and understand them first so that we can then make decisions accordingly.

Everybody knows that Google is a search engine.  The reason Google is Google is because when you go to their search engine asking a question, you know with absolute certainty that you are going to come away with a satisfactory answer.  Think about opening up a new page inside Chrome or Safari and asking what local restaurant options are available and having all the results come back with food joints in a city two hours away.  The results wouldn’t be relevant to you and therefore would hold no value.  If this happened once or twice you may be forgiving and think nothing of it.  If this repeatedly kept happening you would undoubtedly never return to Google with another question and would begin exploring other options like Bing and Yahoo.  

Google is successful because it is relevant.

 

Relevant Search Results

If you know that Google makes their money because you and I keep going back again and again to have our questions answered, you also know that Google must do everything in their power to serve the customer the most relevant result first.  The more likely your site is to contain the answer that I as a customer and as human being have, the more likely it is to appear at the top.  You often hear that content is king.  That has always held some weight because truthfully told, the site with the most relevant and authoritative content will also be favored in Google’s eyes.  The word favored is used because content isn’t the only piece of the puzzle, but it definitely does play a huge role.

There are millions of sites live on the internet right now as we speak.  Each of them is gunning for the top spot on page one of Google for as many terms as they can.  Respectively each company and website is pulling out all the tricks in an effort to get to that top spot, grab the traffic, and convert that traffic to dollars.  So how does Google go through each site to determine which ones are the most authoritative and relevant?  Obviously it would take a literal army of programming and computer geniuses to go handpick what sites are the most relevant, so Google has instead employed a small army of robots that go and “crawl” websites.  These robots are built and programmed to read each word and piece of text on your site.  The robots cannot see what your site looks like, so the only way for them to determine what kind of a photo you have on your site is to read the file name and make an educated guess.  There’s your first nugget of advice.  When adding photos to your website, it is a good practice to first save these files names as keywords.  Don’t overdo it and save the files as 15 different keywords and put a “.jpeg” on the end.  It won’t work and could actually hurt more than help.

 

What This All Means To You

What this means to you is that every piece of content you create is under Google’s microscope.  They have to serve the searcher with a relevant result or they are no longer who they say they are.  Whenever you go to make a decision on your website, think from Google’s shoes and ask yourself if the content on your site answers the questions you and I may be asking.  

In his book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” Stephen R. Covey repeatedly talks about a specific principle.  The verbiage he uses is “seek first to understand, then to be understood.”  It’s a brilliant principle that is often easier said than done when it comes to human relationships.  As humans it is in our nature to always ask what’s in it for us and forget about what’s in it for everyone else.  This same principle applies not only to human interactions but to nearly everyone and everything.  We’re going to use this principle to put ourselves in the shoes of Google and understand them first so that we can then make decisions accordingly.

Everybody knows that Google is a search engine.  The reason Google is Google is because when you go to their search engine asking a question, you know with absolute certainty that you are going to come away with a satisfactory answer.  Think about opening up a new page inside Chrome or Safari and asking what local restaurant options are available and having all the results come back with food joints in a city two hours away.  The results wouldn’t be relevant to you and therefore would hold no value.  If this happened once or twice you may be forgiving and think nothing of it.  If this repeatedly kept happening you would undoubtedly never return to Google with another question and would begin exploring other options like Bing and Yahoo.  

Google is successful because it is relevant.

 

Relevant Search Results

If you know that Google makes their money because you and I keep going back again and again to have our questions answered, you also know that Google must do everything in their power to serve the customer the most relevant result first.  The more likely your site is to contain the answer that I as a customer and as human being have, the more likely it is to appear at the top.  You often hear that content is king.  That has always held some weight because truthfully told, the site with the most relevant and authoritative content will also be favored in Google’s eyes.  The word favored is used because content isn’t the only piece of the puzzle, but it definitely does play a huge role.

There are millions of sites live on the internet right now as we speak.  Each of them is gunning for the top spot on page one of Google for as many terms as they can.  Respectively each company and website is pulling out all the tricks in an effort to get to that top spot, grab the traffic, and convert that traffic to dollars.  So how does Google go through each site to determine which ones are the most authoritative and relevant?  Obviously it would take a literal army of programming and computer geniuses to go handpick what sites are the most relevant, so Google has instead employed a small army of robots that go and “crawl” websites.  These robots are built and programmed to read each word and piece of text on your site.  The robots cannot see what your site looks like, so the only way for them to determine what kind of a photo you have on your site is to read the file name and make an educated guess.  There’s your first nugget of advice.  When adding photos to your website, it is a good practice to first save these files names as keywords.  Don’t overdo it and save the files as 15 different keywords and put a “.jpeg” on the end.  It won’t work and could actually hurt more than help.

 

What This All Means To You

What this means to you is that every piece of content you create is under Google’s microscope.  They have to serve the searcher with a relevant result or they are no longer who they say they are.  Whenever you go to make a decision on your website, think from Google’s shoes and ask yourself if the content on your site answers the questions you and I may be asking.  

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