“Interact with Google search so that it can help you get the most out of search and direct traffic for important keywords to your site“
How does Google search work
Google search is a search engine that has the ability to find phrases or keywords across the entire world wide web. Google search is by far the most frequent search engine in Europe having a market share of 90% in many European countries. A typical search engine query can be compared to finding the stop closest to the London zoo. The World Wide Web (www) is like a network of stops in a big city subway system. Each stop is its own unique document. (usually a web page, but sometimes a PDF, JPG or another file). When a person searches for London zoo, it requires the search engines to do two things – first, return only those results that are relevant or useful to Google searcher’s query
– second, rank those results in order of perceived value (or importance).
So the query must return a prioritized list of pages that are both “relevant” and “important”.
Search engines first need a way to find all of the pages (stops) on the website (subway). To do this they use the best path available – the links. (like the lines of the subway)
The link structure of the web serves to bind together all of the pages that can be found.
Search engine’s automated robots, called “crawlers,” or “spiders” can reach the many billions of interconnected documents. Once the pages are found the code is split into small pieces from each page and stored on massive hard drives all over the world. Each piece is then indexed (like a book) so that they can be quickly found.
These monstrous storage facilities have thousands of computers processing unimaginably large quantities of information. After all, when a person performs a search they demand results instantaneously.
This is the basic functionality that all search engines must provide. Besides this, they also can provide space on the result pages for paid advertising. This is the business model which Google search and other search engines have. Of course, if the adverts are not relevant to the query then it will most likely not attract traffic and so not create the revenue that was intended. Google search must, therefore, balance this so that the customers still click on the AdWords and not only organic. In reality, many surfers already have some kind of aversion against online advertising and naturally would rather select the organic results compared to the Adwords. Researchers have found that between 80-90% of customers click naturally on the organic results rather than the paid ones.
One very important thing to remember is that you need to tell Google about what pages you have on your site and where they may be located. Again this sounds very easy but SEO-optimizers find it surprising that a large number of companies do not adhere to this principle. This is mainly caused when the update their site and pages get a different URL name. In the extreme case, the whole sites URL is changed. This informing of Google is mainly done using the sitemap.xml file which you can create and locate in the root directory of your site. You can read about sitemaps here. The second way to do this especially if there are only individual pages that are affected is through redirects. You can read about redirects here. If you have done all things correctly then Google should have a complete picture of your site without any holes. Let’s have a look at why it is so important to get this right.
Techniques to improve your SEO results
Below you can see the situation when a site is properly reported to Google.
A search word comes into Google and if it decides to pass the customer to your site it has the relevant page and can find it (This is called organic search). Also, customers can have your URL stored in their bookmarks in which case they will find the correct page through direct traffic. But now let’s have a look at what happens when there are some site changes made. In the new site structure, there are no longer 350 pages as in the old structure but as you can see 200 pages have been deleted and 100 new pages added. As these pages are not yet stored in Google’s system or indexed as this is called Google will not direct any traffic to them. Also, there are not yet any bookmarks pointed to the new pages so that there is no direct traffic generated. OK so simply tell google that there is a new situation without the old pages and with the new pages. Unfortunately, life is not as simple as that because there are several things that will happen.
1) Customers having bookmarks to the old pages which are no longer active will get a 404 error or page not found.
2) Google also will notice that there is no page where they thought a page was with the appropriate keyword. This will reflect badly on how Google perceives the quality of your site and you will get marked down on quality score. Most likely Google will next time point their customers to another website after which you can start again building the traffic. This gives an extremely bad impression and can seriously affect the customer experience. They might not make the effort to try to find the new pages which may have taken over the functionality of the old pages and not return to the site. Thus you will lose this traffic.
3) What is actually even more important is that you will lose all the page juice you have been building upon the pages that you have deleted. This is the sorriest situation of all because you have been working so hard to build up this juice on your pages and now in one fell swoop it is gone.
4) If you have installed a hierarchy in your pages then this too will be affected because of the changes. Especially how the juice flows between the different pages can be affected. You should therefore carefully look at your site structure and make the appropriate links to reconstruct the correct hierarchy.
So you can now clearly see the importance of informing Google about the changes you have made. To do this use a redirect from every old page to one of the pages that will still be alive. You will not recover all the juice but a large part of it will be intact. What is equally as important the customers will not experience the dreaded 404 error and will happily continue to surf on your site. If the above seems somewhat abstract the chart below describes the situation of a large multinational company. They had made a major restructuring on their site but had forgotten to do the redirecting. The results below clearly show the impact this had on their PR ranking. Only one PR7 rated page was left and also the PR rated 6 went down from 99 to 71. As a result, they have lost some of the organic traffic and also suffered a worse quality rating. Both these things will additionally affect the fee they should pay for AdWords.