Google SEO 101

Google’s goal is simple: to return THE most relevant match to a search query.

It delivers this is several ways – through websites, advertising, images, videos, products (in its shopping options), maps, news and so on.

It stands to reason that if Google keeps its search results relevant, people will continue to use it, so there isn’t much in the way of rocket science in the thinking behind it.

The question everyone wants to know is how do I make my web presence a relevant result? Like everyone else, your website is put through the Google algorithm, a continuously changing mathematical equation that calculates about 200 factors to decide who ranks at the top, then second and so on.

(And no, Google doesn’t tell you what weighting it applies to the various factors. Life as a SEO would be way easier if we knew.)



When a user searches for something using Google, they are searching Google’s databases, not the internet itself. Google is just another website many people visit to get access to information. Behind the scenes, though, Google has three types of software that together create the search engine functionality and these three software are:

SPIDER SOFTWARE: The Spider software requests pages from a website in a similar way to browser software (such as Internet Explorer or Firefox). Spider software looks for the domain name, text and links. It loves links because they lead to more pages with more text and links.

INDEXING SOFTWARE: It’s job is to process the information that is caught by the spider and try to make sense of it. It uses an algorithm (a complex mathematical formula) to look for word combinations, and to analyse pages and links, and then it assigns scores that allow the search engine to determine how important this website or page might be for the person submitting a search query.

QUERY SOFTWARE: – and this is what you see when you visit the search engine. It is a small box through which a searcher enters a search phrase and the database (through its indexing software) retrieves and presents matches to that phrase.

Essentially all major search engines are constructed the same way (including Yahoo and Bing) although proprietary algorithms may vary. This includes search engine applications used internally within intranet environments. The key is to construct your website (internet or intranet) to suit search engine applications so that your search results will be relevant.



How long does it take to rank organically? The answer is, it depends.

It depends on many factors including how well your site is optimised, how well competing websites are optimised and how much traffic they are receiving, how popular certain keywords are, the age of your domain (URL), the type of domain and where the domain is hosted. The bad news is, if you’ve built your entire site using images or Flash, its unlikely to rank at all (except for your domain).

New domains may be subject to the Google Sandbox Effect – which essentially means that new domains are quarantined for a period of time to allow Google to monitor the website’s behaviour online. While debate rages as to whether this effect actually exists or whether the algorithms Google deploys are responsible for the delay, it is widely accepted in search engine optimisation circles that in practice new domains tend to wait longer.



  1. Follow the Google quality guidelines.
  2. Make sure you keep your site fresh with new interesting content.
  3. Every page is an opportunity to rank, so if you’re competing for a spot, construct with ranking in mind.
  4. Add an xml sitemap to your site, it will dramatically improve how many pages get saved into Google’s index.
  5. Talk to a reputable web developer and add schematic markup.
  6. Work on your keyword density, it should sit around 8% for important keywords. Don’t go higher, you’ll be spamming the engine.
  7. Don’t do shifty stuff like join link farms. You’ll get caught.


Want more?

Check out more of my posts on Google and digital marketing.


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