In a fast-paced, data-driven world, the last thing content providers on cyberspace can afford is to merely do the hard work and leave the visibility slugfest to chance. An uphill battle that is potentially excruciating in the short term, the long-term rewards of this slugfest are much more profound.
Boosting the visibility and discoverability of webpages is practically impossible without ticking the proven boxes of search engines; the word “proven” being used in a slightly hypothetical sense because search engines, like proverbial magicians, do not exactly reveal the tricks of how their search algorithms work in all their glory. By implication, the data outsourced by search engines play a crucial role in search engine optimization, on-page and off-page. Digging deeper into this goldmine, the spotlight will be cast on Google – the quintessential search engine.
How Google creates its index
For starters, the truckload of data and information spread out across the search engine results pages (SERPs) of Google are outsourced by Internet bots known as web crawlers. These crawlers, otherwise known as spiders or spider bots, scour the World Wide Web with a list of URLs as launchpads. These crawlers follow the provided hyperlinks on the launchpads before continuously crawling various new webpages. The end result is an immense hive of information, which is sent to Google’s servers to be included in its search index. Hence, when an end-user initiates a Google search, Google makes recourse to its indexed information and retrieves the web pages that are the most in tune with the most crucial boxes of its search algorithm.
Google SERP data and SEO
As stated earlier, the exact workings of Google’s search algorithm remain unclear. It is thus safe to say that Google uses over a hundred factors to determine what is relevant in their algorithm. Discoveries on how the algorithm works hinge on businesses that reverse engineer by scraping Google data. There are several business layers on how the reverse engineering is performed. Certain businesses provide Google SERP scraping services (such as SERPMaster). Other businesses utilize the data provided by SERP scrapers to build tools that can analyze the information gained to develop conclusions on why certain pages rank better than others.
Over time, a few key insights were developed. The most obvious pointers, which are primarily hinged on the keywords employed in the content of the webpages, boil down to the keyword relevance and site utility. It goes without stating that keywords play a significant role in SEO. On this premise alone, webpages which strategically include the most popular expressions in a particular context are the most likely to appear on the first page of Google search results. On the other hand, it may be said that the utility of webpages largely boils down to the user’s preferences at the moment of search.
Another pointer, which is sometimes enough to comfortably place a webpage in the top tier of the first search results’ page, is the reputational pull of the brands behind web pages. For example, if one runs a Google search on “latest sports news”, the first entries would be links to the websites of leading newspapers and news services – Sky Sports, NewsNow UK, The Sun UK, Euro News, The Independent UK, BBC News, CNN, Straits Times and NDTV. These are the sites of globally renowned news authorities with generations of influence, which makes it nearly impossible for the webpages of less popular brands to find their way into the top cadre. Fortunately, high reputation websites can raise the reputability of others by providing links to them. By utilizing scraped data from SERPs, it has been discovered that Google discerns the value of a page by not only looking at the relevant keywords but how many high profile websites link to it.
Furthermore, a user’s physical location and browsing history also have a measure of influence on how a webpage fares in Google searches. In a loosely similar fashion with webpage utility, content providers have absolutely no control over a user’s location or browser history. The best they can do is to define their target audience within a specific geographic location, as the case may be.
Using Google data to enhance visibility
Apart from the need for the right tools to help you succeed with Google SERP rankings and hands to be deployed, the slugfest must be properly defined, and reconnaissance must be carried out. This simply means that the brands behind web pages must accurately define the content they intend to consistently provide, the space they are operating in and the needs of their target audience. With this in mind, brands can effectively craft their topic headers and slug texts to boost visibility.
Tying into the reputational pull of the brands behind web pages, brands behind web pages must strive to adhere to Google’s quality pages’ filter, which demands expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness. This means that the content must not brandish the infamous strategy known as clickbait, or simply sprinkle keywords over the webpage. The information must be verified, accurate and well-tailored to suit the purpose it purports to serve. In the long run, the increased reputation of a brand leads to increased off-page SEO. Organic reach can only go so far before wildcards inevitably have to come into play.
Lastly, brands behind webpages with a limited geographical reach must strive to fully understand and factor in the nuances of their target audience. Thus, hotels, restaurants and recreational centres must properly define and solidify their digital presence for improved discoverability, especially in the relevant location.