As a web developer, I’m always paying attention to how new web technologies, such as social media, change the way value is created on the web. I was listening to a podcast from RadioLab the other day and there was an interesting analogy about how internet search engines rank websites.
Guessing the weight of an Ox in 1906
In 1906 Sir Francis Galton saw an experiment at a village fair where villagers were asked to submit their guess for the weight of an Ox which was on display. Almost 800 people submitted guesses but no one got the weight correct.
Galton decided to take all of the guesses and do some calculations. He discovered that, while no one person got even close to the weight of the Ox, collectively the 800 people guessed an average weight that was within 0.8% accuracy of the Ox’s actual weight of 1,198 pounds!
The idea of Galton’s discovery is that it’s very hard for one person or “unit” to provide an accurate piece of data, but together a large majority of people or “units” can be an incredibly accurate source of information (Wikipedia, anyone?)
So, back to search engine rankings…
The RadioLab podcast said that the Google Algorithm was created based around this idea. When a link to a website is posted anywhere on the web, it counts as a “vote” for a websites reputation. With a lot of votes, the ranking of a website goes up. However, while any one source of links would be an inaccurate representation of the web, polling millions and millions of websites provides Google with the “crowd sourced” accuracy that was seen in the Ox weight guessing experiment.
Google’s twist (to combat websites that try to cheat the system) is that websites with a higher “reputation” have more “voting power” – so for example, a link posted by www.WhiteHouse.gov is worth more than a link posted by www.JoesRandomBlog.com.
Furthermore, Google even looks at the context in which a link is posted. For example, a link from an auto dealership counts as a vote that a website might be related to cars, where as a link from a .edu website counts as a vote that a site might be related to academia (it get’s super complicated really fast because Google also identifies when these details might not be true as well).
Facebook & Twitter sharing = positive SEO
With the recent introduction of Social Media, the web has become even more tangled as search engines attempt to sort through hundreds of thousands of link shares daily. But the same concept applies – a link share on Facebook or Twitter is counted as a vote for a website to appear higher in search results. This system delivers the power to affect your brands image right into the hands of the consumers who are talking about your products and services daily.
Search Engine Optimization – everyone in business has heard the term and knows what it means, but only a few know how it can truly help their business. Here at Brandtailers, search engine optimization is integral to our clients’ online marketing strategies. Therefore, we’ve put together this primer to familiarize you with search engine optimization. In this article, you’ll learn: 1) how search engines work, 2) what search engine optimization is, and 3) how it can help your business.
How Search Engines Work
Google and other search engines works tirelessly to match the websites they return in their search results with the user’s intent. For instance, if a user types in “buy video camera,” Google knows this person is wants to buy a video camera. Therefore, Google returns websites that are useful to the user, such as video camera review websites and video camera stores. It determines the relevancy through three main criteria:
2. How many other websites link to the website (also called back links)? The more back links a website has from authoritative websites, the higher a search engine will rank it. Let’s assume there are two identical video camera review websites. The only difference is that one has no back links, whereas the other has links from major websites like New York Times, Huffington Post, Mashable, and AOL.com. Because the second website has back links from major websites, it will be ranked higher than the first.
3. Does the website have fresh content? Google will rank websites with new content higher. The content could be blog posts, articles, and videos. The main reason behind this is that a website that hasn’t been updated since 1999 will be out of date. But as the world moves faster and information spreads more rapidly, even a week can make a website out of date.
What Is Search Engine Optimization
In a nutshell, Search Engine Optimization is about leveraging your website’s assets in a way that encourages search engines to rank your website towards the top of their search engine results. There are two main parts of search engine optimization: on page and off page. On page optimization is more of the technical aspects. As we discussed above, a search engine looks for specific keywords to determine the subject of your website. But these keywords must be placed in key strategic areas. On page optimization is about placing these keywords in these strategic areas. Off page is about acquiring back links. There are numerous techniques to acquiring back links, such as encouraging sharing through social media, press outreach and content syndication.
How Search Engine Optimization Can Help Your Business
When a website ranks high in search engines, it receives a higher level of relevant traffic. For example, a video camera store that ranks in the first position for the keyword “buy video camera” will receive thousands of visitors a day. And each one of these visitors is actively looking to buy a video camera. The same holds true for your business. The higher you rank in search engines for keywords relevant to your business, you will get a greater number of valuable leads. Search engine optimization is the path to higher ranking and more business.
When businesses come to us looking for an online marketing strategy, one of the first things we discuss is search engine optimization. It is essential to a strong online marketing strategy. We’d love to discuss further how search engine optimization can help your business flourish. Feel free to contact us.
img class=”aligntop” title=”Google is Everywhere” src=”http://blog.searchenginewatch.com/blog/img/google-beta.jpg” alt=”" width=”486″ height=”187″ />
Android. Google Earth. Google Maps. Adwords. Adsense. YouTube. Ad Planner. Google News. Google TV. Chrome. Google Docs. Orkut. Picasa. Knol. G-Mail. Google phone (aka non-virtual hardware). Wave. Google 411. Google Images, etc., etc. etc. You get the idea.
Google. First of all, is Google a “them” or an “it”? For conversation sake here, let’s just call them/it Googzilla.
I just finished reading “Googled – The End of the World as We Know It”. Absolutely fascinating. The author, Ken Auletta, gave an interesting inside view of Google that I would say is mostly unbiased, and certainly daunting when you realize how many things Google has its virtual hand in.
The pervading message throughout the book was Google’s ability to abuse their power and knowledge if they ever choose to do the opposite of their corporate mantra, “Don’t be evil”. Yet this message is countered with the consistent theme from founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, also often chimed by Eric Schmidt (Google’s CEO), that they just want to help make interactive technology a great, user friendly, reliable, relevant, safe resource.
But here’s the twist – every step Google takes to be more useful is often because they’ve learned more about us. For example, search relevance improves via behavioral targeting because they’re watching us closer. Our continued diminishing privacy makes the web more convenient for us. Not to mention that opting out is a lot more complicated than opting in. The trillion dollar question is – do we really care?
It comes down to this simple dividing line. There are those who trust Google and those who don’t. And, as long as there are more that do, Google will continue to grow and own the online world. Could that change? Sure. If they mess up. If I had to bet, I’d say they probably won’t. But then again, in spite of all their algorithms, PhD’s, and rocket scientists, they’re only human.
What do you think
Subscribe to blog
Thank you For subscribing.
- A Typical Agency Work Day
- Automotive Marketing
- Brand Management | Brandtailing
- Consumer Behavior
- Events & Meetups
- Giving Back
- Interactive Marketing
- Internet Marketing
- Internet Protection
- Location Based Social Networking
- Marketing Strategy Research
- Marketing Technology
- Mobile Marketing
- Non-Profit Marketing
- Relationship Marketing
- Restaurant Marketing
- Retail Marketing
- Social Media
- Website Development