Optimizing the content of your website is a crucial part of getting your site ranked high on search results. To create that content in a manner that will satisfy the search engine's criteria, it's important to understand how searches work. In this article, we'll give a basic overview of how Google's search engine analytics work to help you create better content for your site.
To populate the most relevant search results, Google uses its Rank Brain algorithm to analyze a query. Rank Brain is built off an improvement to the Hummingbird algorithm, which essentially looked at a query as a string of words and tried to match that string to content in various web pages. The problem with this model is that these strings of words can often be arranged in many ways and they are not associated with a relevant context. For example, in the Hummingbird model I could search for John Doe North computer technician North Vancouver BC and be given different results than if I searched for the same string of words in a different order (such as "North Vancouver, BC computer technician John Doe").
Rank Brain looks at things or elements, instead of a string of words. It will also try to extrapolate context. So for example, it could take location into consideration to produce the same, most relevant results when looking at two queries: the ones above and "John Doe computer technician near me".
Rank Brain will also look at associated content of various web pages. So, if John Doe's name appears on other pages that link him with laptop repair in North Vancouver and that page is often associated with computer technicians, it may also populate that "laptop repair" page in the results.
There are quite a few variables that Rank Brain takes into consideration that you cannot optimize for in your content per se. Things like, location, personal preference or device type are some examples. The fact is, your content is more likely to be relevant to someone in your own city than it is to someone across the country. Or that your grass-fed beef products are not likely to rank high to someone who consistently prefers vegan products.
The takeaway is to optimize your content for the user, not how you think Google will rank your results. Algorithms are consistently changing, and Google is forever tight-lipped about the specifics of how it is currently programmed. So, while your keywords and key phrases should be thoroughly researched and compared to that of your competitors, improve your content so it improves user experience and is tailored to what your potential customers are looking for. Don't worry so much about fitting "best computer repair shop in North Vancouver" into your content, but perhaps improve your content to include a description of what kinds of repairs you may offer to solve which problems. Given your business profile, Google will already be populating your results to your given area, but it will need to know which of your products or services to feature in search results when a query is submitted. Focus on the questions, problems or needs the users might have when looking for your site and specify how you can solve their problems or satisfy their needs.
Remember, that SEO rankings take time! There are a lot of companies competing for the top spots and a lot of queries happening every second of the day. Keep striving to improve your content for the user and be patient as your site climbs the SEO ladder.
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