Websites that land on Page One of Google get over 90 percent of Google’s search traffic. So how do search engines decide which websites get to be placed at the top?
While the topic is one of mystery and debate, the concept is not that complicated. Search engines rank websites based on authority.
How Authority Works
In the real world, a person who’s an authority or expert is more likely to be recommended over someone who’s not. Such expertise is based on certain qualifications:
- Years of experience in a field
- Recommendations from others
- Endorsements from top industry experts
- Depth, breadth, and quality of knowledge
The online world works the same. When someone types a search query in Google’s search box, they are asking Google who she recommends. And Google will use the same criteria I listed above. Here’s how it works.
Years of Experience
This equates to the age of your website. The longer you’ve been online, the more authoritative you are in Google’s eyes. Even details as minute as how long you’ve had your domain name doesn’t escape Google’s attention.
In other words, the longer you delay, the harder it will be to catch up with competitors who’ve been online longer.
Recommendations from Others
Establishing yourself as an expert requires a healthy mix of self-promotion and endorsements from others. The content on your website is what you tell others about yourself. But when other websites link to yours, that’s the equivalent of an online endorsement.
Obtaining links from related websites and social media sites should be a key strategy of any search engine optimization campaign.
Endorsements from Top Industry Experts
The last point refers to quantity of links. But a high-quality link from an authoritative website is like getting your book recommended by Oprah.
If Dr. Oz had been endorsed by Phil Donahue rather than Oprah Winfrey, he would not be considered the authority he is today. When a high-authority website in your industry links to yours, some of their authority rubs off on you, giving you a boost in the search engines.
Depth, Breadth and Quality of Knowledge
Posting informative articles on your site is more than just a means to showcase your expertise to potential customers. The size of the website and amount of information found there is another “authority” signal to Google and the other search engines.
In a nutshell, Search Engine Optimization is everything you do to cause Google to recognize your website as an authority or expert in its field and recommend it to its users, by ranking it higher than your competition.
It’s a daunting task for the average small business owner. Which is why companies like ours provide search engine optimization services.
Want to know more? Here is a Google video explaining how search works: