Among tech TV comedies, “The IT Crowd” stands out as a stereotype of the stereotype. Besides being British, the series is also about a four-person IT department located with offices at the basement. (If you are familiar with the show, think about it and you will be able to count all four members of the department.)
The head of the department is Jen, who doesn’t know anything about computers. One quotable quote sprung on Jen is that searching for “Google” on google can break the internet.
The reference, of course, is to the reach and power of Google the search engine. If you think about it, if Google for any reason suddenly disappears, it would seem as if the internet suddenly went balls up.
Google has become one of the biggest internet companies, and one of the most influential companies in the world. But what is search, really? How does a website get itself on Google’s search results?
First off, search is a service where an online user would enter a keyword, and the search engine would provide a list of websites which fit the parameters. To come up with a list, the search engine crawls the web and indexes websites according to the keywords it finds on the individual pages. Google has created a set of rules and guidelines for websites, which would help webmasters and web developers to comply with Google’s search algorithm. When a search is requested, Google matches the keyword with the index to provide a list of results. However, Google has also implemented some changes to improve the user experience and enhance the results. Google has filtered spam sites, and those with low value add. If a website does not have original content, the page gets a lower ranking. These and other considerations are part of Google’s commitment to provide a relevant search service.
If you have a website, and you want Google to rank your site, the first step you need to do is to see if your website follows Google’s guidelines. Download a copy of the Google Starter Guide and understand the philosophy behind it. This is a link to Google, where you can begin reading on search engine optimization (SEO).
Search engine optimization is not magic. It is based on rules and how a search engine implements these rules. Each search engine would have their own algorithm, and rules. Google just makes better and faster search.
If you are in the market for a web developer ask your candidates about the Google Starter Guide, and if he has implemented it before. If you already have a website, ask your developer if your website follows the guidelines outlined in the Google Starter Guide. You would be surprised at how many website developers don’t know about the Google Starter Guide, which would explain why a lot of websites are not search engine optimized.
Only after you have audited your website, and ensured on-site SEO compliance, then you can begin thinking about off-site SEO strategies and techniques. I will discuss various aspects and strategies about offsite SEO in later posts. Suffice to say, that there is a lot of discussion and points of view about how to do off-site SEO.
If you need any help or any questions, please feel free to leave a comment.