Put Yourself in Google’s Shoes

Written By: Darby Higgs

There is lots of advice around on how to improve your Page Ranking with search engines. In fact, there is a whole industry of sharps who call themselves Search Engine Optimisers who spend lots of time and other peoples money trying to outwit Google. Thats why we see so much contradictory advice and over inflated hype about SEO on the web. This article aims to help small business achieve a profitable outcome from their investment in a website.

If you are running a small business with an internet presence you need a way of sorting the treasure from the trash in this. The famous thinker Edward de Bono uses the Six Thinking Hats as a tool to help us with clear thinking. I prefer to start from the bottom, so Ill concentrate on shoes, in this case Mr Googles shoes.

Mr Google the most successful internet company on the planet. Everyone who uses the web knows about the Google search engine. But have you ever thought through how Mr Google works and how he makes all of that money? A couple of minutes of clear and focused thinking about this could make a big difference in how successfully you attract visitors, and potential clients, to your website. So come with me through this little thinking exercise.

Who pays Mr Google? Advertisers pay Mr Google. You see their ads on the side of your search results page and in the Adsense boxes on a growing number of websites.

Why do advertisers pay for Google ads? Advertisers pay because Mr Google can get millions of searchers to see their ads. So in effect Mr Google is selling the opportunity to gain searchers attention to advertisements. For the past five years Mr Google has had this field all to himself. But watch out, the competition is starting to hot up.

Who is competing with Mr Google? For the last few years, the answer is nobody much. Although there are thousands of search engines available on the internet Google has held the majority share. Over the past year or so two serious challengers have emerged, namely Yahoo and MSN. The business is quickly becoming competitive, but Google is still ahead by a country kilometre.

How does Mr Google get and keep so many searchers in spite of the competition? It does so by consistently delivering quality results. Most searchers get the information they want fairly quickly in spite of the best efforts of the spammers and other sharp operators. Google does this by employing lots of very smart search engineers to make sure that their algorithms or formulas deliver quality results to the searcher. The searcher wants information rich pages. Google wants to give the searcher what she wants so that she will keep using Google. There is a synergy between the Google and the searcher, they are both paddling in the same direction.

How does SEO fit into all of this? The basis of SEO is to get more hits to a particular page or site. At one level it does this by making search engine friendly pages, which is fair enough. But an increasing amount of SEO time and money is being spent on trying to simulate reality, in other words pretending the page is an information rich page, while in fact it is a sales page. The SEO does this by second guessing Googles algorithms and trying to deceive them. Some new clever trick is employed to exploit the boundaries of Googles algorithm.

What happens next? The trick sometimes works for a short period of time. Of course the visitor sees the page for what it is and hits the back button immediately. And Mr Google reacts by changing the rules to try to give the searcher what they really want. The SEOs will then try a new tactic. Their clients will have to modify all of their pages to conform to what the SEO think is the new algorithm.

What does all this mean to the small business trying to get a presence on the web? You can use the SEO approach or the content based approach. You may have gathered by now that I favour the latter.

The SEO approach means that you are constantly trying to outsmart Google. You try to trick Google that your page is what searchers want. Google discovers the trick and changes its rules overcome it. The SEOs need to invent a new trick and you need reengineer your site to use it. But Google will soon find you out and change the rules again. The dog keeps chasing its tail.

The content based approach avoids all this hassle. You provide information rich pages which is what Mr Google and his searchers want. You join the synergy. Google is working for you, not trying to foil your latest trick. Paradoxically the SEOs are helping you as well by putting more pressure on Google to get your information rich site in front of more searchers, and more searchers on to your site. As Yahoo and MSN start competing for searchers the content based approach will become even more effective.

So give Mr Google what he wants – informative content. He will give you what you want – targeted traffic. A win-win situation.

About the Author

Darby is a Melbourne based web author who has created http://www.ozarticles.com as a service to Australian small businesses who wish to use articles to improve their web presence.

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