If your traffic numbers are dwindling and SEO remains a mystery to you, don't despair. Let's review the basics of Google and what you're trying to achieve.
When you perform a search on Google you're not actually searching the web - you're searching Google's index of the web. Search engines like Google write automated software programs referred to as "spiders" or "bots" that crawl the hundreds of billions of pages and URLs on the web.
What's Behind the Search?
When you perform a Google search, you enter keywords and hit "search." This activates software to search the index to find every page that includes those terms. To deliver the most relevant pages, Google's software asks more than 200 questions in less than a second.
According to Google Engineer Matt Cutts, these questions include:
- How many times does this page contain your keywords?
- Do the words appear in the title, in the URL, directly adjacent to other keywords?
- Does the page contain synonyms of those words?
- Is this page from a quality website or is it "spammy"?
- What is the PageRank?
Crawling and Keyword Gathering
The bots start by fetching a few pages and finding links; they follow those links to new pages and continue to branch out across the web.
As the bots "crawl" the web, Google uses the information found to build an inverted keyword index (basically a huge database of information sorted by keywords).
By categorizing information by keywords, Google can deliver relevant results without wasting time searching its entire database.
Making the Google Search 'Golden Triangle'
Aiming for the 'Golden Triangle'
Much attention has been paid to research that tracks the path of users' eyes and where they click on any given web page. These eye-tracking heat maps show visual patterns of where on the page people look and click (see photo). What do the studies show? On the Google search results page, people tend to focus on the top organic (unpaid) results that fall into a triangle at the top left corner of the screen, also known as "The Golden Triangle."
According to Hubspot.com, you want to get your website link as close to this Golden Triangle as possible, since top organic results translates into more web traffic.
To learn how to further increase your page rank organically and get closer to the golden triangle, watch for my next article, SEO: Writing Keyword Rich Content to Increase Google Organic Ranking.