Google can be a valuable source of traffic for your website. Googlers who search for a specific keyword or keyphrase benefit from Google’s curated results. These results, separated into Search Engine Results Pages, deliver the best quality content that makes sense with the query entered. Behind the scenes, Google goes through a number of steps before displaying (or serving) the queried content to the user. These include: Crawling, Indexing, and Serving.
Crawling refers to the GoogleBot, Google’s web crawling bot (or spider), that “crawls” or discovers new and updated pages by following links from site to site. This is why the “nofollow” attribute (rel=”nofollow”) was created, to prevent GoogleBot from following a link.
Indexing refers to the process of sorting which GoogleBot conducts to organize different content types. Information processed to help GoogleBot sort a page includes tags and attributes. Some rich media files or pages with dynamic features are not able to be processed, which is why it is best to try to simplify coding on your website if you find that a page is not showing up in Google’s Index.
Serving is the end result, the displayed snippet when a Google searcher enters a query and results are “served” to the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). Google strives to serve the most relevant pages to a search query and it is a very complex process algorithm which weights results and orders accordingly.
If you are not already familiar, we urge you to read Google’s Webmaster Guidelines to learn Google’s best practice suggestions for helping find, crawl, and index your website.
What goes on behind Google’s gates? Many a person in the search engine optimization field has dreamed of getting an inside look, much like Charlie did of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, and that is what the inner workings of Google are like to an SEO — fascinating and often awe-inspiring. There are a few videos available that give a visual behind the scenes look at how the great minds at Google convene together and the process through which they tweak the algorithm.
The following are three videos that will make you feel like you have a front row “golden ticket.”
1. Search Quality Meeting: Spelling for Long Queries
This is an eight minute look at the Google team discussing whether to launch an algorithm change that relates to spelling for long queries. The annotations are insightful and sometimes humorous, but seeing the sparkle in the eyes of those there paired with the quick-witted dialogue is well worth your time.
2. How Google makes improvements to its search algorithm
This four minute long video is a must for every SEO. It gives a high level explanation of how Google implements hundreds of adjustments to the search algorithm every year. It is also a quick look at some of the Google greats who are behind changes in search.
3. 8.3.11 Inside Google’s Search Office: Matt Cutts, Ben Gomes, and Amit Singhal
Danny Sullivan, editor of SearchEngineLand.com, interviewing Matt Cutts, head of the webspam team at Google, Ben Gomes, Engineer at Google, and Amit Singhal, a Google Fellow and software engineer at Google, in the first of its kind Google interview at the Churchill Club.
In addition to these videos, make sure you are keeping up-to-date with Google’s Inside Search blog which posts a number of different kinds of updates including a monthly blog post highlighting search changes.
The last three search update blog posts were:
February 2012: Search quality highlights: 40 changes for February
January 2012: 17 search quality highlights: January
December 2012: 30 search quality highlights (with codenames!): December
Making sure to understand the basics of how Google evolves the search algorithm over time, how potential changes are tested before launch, and where to find which changes have made the cut is important for webmasters, marketers, agencies, and business owners. A seemingly small tweak at Google can increase or decrease your site’s organic traffic. Feel free to contact MoreVisibility if you have any questions about organic search.