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Google's algorithm and why content is king

Unless like us you're involved in Search Engine Optimisation, you may think that Google's secret formula, otherwise known as "the Google algorithm", isn't anything of great importance.

OK, so we know it's the clever stuff that determines which websites we see in our search result pages. But guess what? It plays a much larger part in your life than you may think. Particularly if you're a business owner looking to navigate your way through the stormy waters ahead for the UK in recession.

What is the algorithm?

It's a complex library of computer code that's applied to all web content that Google has found as it crawls around the internet. Firstly, as they retrieve your web pages and analyse their meaning and content, Google adds structure and intelligence and stores it away in their humongous databases.

Later, as people make content requests through the Google search box, the algorithm pores through the reams of content that they have indexed to find just the bits that are likely to be most relevant for you.

Google strives to ensure the best user experience and instantly delivers the most accurate possible results for a query. So, this combination of algorithmic computation, plus numerous other ranking factors, ultimately decides just how high up the search results your website appears. The algorithm is designed to provide a level playing field for businesses to compete in the marketplace of online advertising.

How do I make the algorithm work for me?

SEO specialists work hard to hoodwink Google into thinking that their content is better and more relevant than the next whenever and wherever there are phrases of business value. So, although you'll never understand the algorithm technically, by appreciating the sentiment and objectives behind its creation and development, you have a much better chance of second-guessing how to make it like you. That's what SEO companies do. Or what they should do at least. Too many break the rules and cause untold damage to their client accounts. But work smart, work hard, pretty much follow their rules and over time Google will give you their rich rewards.

Content is king

It always was and it always will be. Google loves well written, informative, structured content. So, add lots of that about the subjects close to your business and you're on the right lines. Do it regularly, at least weekly if you're in a competitive marketplace. Make it local if most of your clients are nearby. Add images and give the images descriptive captions. Do everything you can think of to make it appealing and wonderful. Importantly there are two more factors that are frequently overlooked.

1. Search Phrases

Aim the content at a search phrase for which you would like to appear. If you have a butchers stall in Timbuktu market selling black puddings, write "the best black puddings in Timbuktu". Then link to it from your social media and anywhere else you can think of.

2. Metadata

You'll need to find out how to do this within the system that you use to add content to your website, but make sure you think about what you want people to see in the search results. Don't leave it to chance. If you do nothing then Google will decide what to say about your article. By fixing an appropriate and compelling page title and meta-description you get to decide what appears on that search result page.

After that make sure that you have a way to ensure that Google finds the article. Sitemaps are a valuable tool and we can advise further if you're in the dark on that one.

So, keep Google happy, understand that the algorithm is there to make sense of your content to allow Google to serve it into the search result pages correctly, and write yourself silly.

For further information or to discuss your own situation please email us or call us on 01625 613 633.