We are often asked this question not long after a new website has gone live. To answer this question we first of all need to explain how Google works…
Google employs some of the world’s greatest minds to continually develop the complex ranking process which ensures that the top results of a user's search are of the highest relevance and quality.
This is of course what makes Google the world’s most popular search engine.
Google is constantly looking for new websites and updated content on the Internet using automated programs known as 'spiders' or 'robots'.
These robots use links between websites to travel around the internet and find new websites. If your website is not linked to the rest of the web, the robots will not be able to access it. And Google will not be able to find it.
When Google finds a new web page, it will analyse the content, known as 'crawling' the content. It will then transport the information back to the Google data centre, where Google stores it, known as 'caching'.
Once Google has a copy of your website in its index, it will send out the robots to check for new content on a continual basis. If the robots find new or updated content Google will add it to its index. The period between visits will vary from site to site, but the robots are intelligent and they will not waste their time visiting websites regularly if the content does not change regularly.
Once Google knows about your website, it then needs to calculate the 'relevancy' of each page to a user's search term. So when a user performs a search with Google, Google calculates the relevancy of search term to the web page. If the search term is not relevant, or the search term does not match the content of the web page, Google will not list the page in the results.
Google also uses geographic location to help match a website to a user's search query. Google will try to serve web pages that match the users geographic location.
Relevancy is just part of the equation. Remember there are likely to be hundreds, thousands or millions of other websites that are 'relevant' to a user's search query. And only a few spots on the front page of the search results. Therefore, the next thing Google does is calculate the 'quality'. This allows Google to position the web pages that are most relevant and of the highest quality at the top of the results page. This is of course what makes Google the world’s most popular search engine.
Google uses a very complex 'formula' or 'algorithm' to calculate the relevancy and the quality of a web page to a user's search query.
This formula uses many factors to help calculate the relevancy and quality of a web page, including and not limited to:
Google awards ranking for a page based on how often the keywords appear, how prominent they are on the page and the location of the keywords on the page.
Therefore, the more focused you are on a certain topic, the better you will rank, as Google will believe that you are an expert on the topic.
Let’s say you have a website focused on photography services in Wellington. Let's say a user performs a search using “photography wellington”. Google, at the time this article was written, lists 411,000 web pages that match this search term. That is 411,000 different websites that are relevant to this search term.
Google has a tough job to order this list to ensure the websites at the top are the most relevant and of the highest quality.
The top listings are websites of photographers based in Wellington. If we look further down the list we will see websites with less relevant content, for example photography equipment suppliers, etc..
Now we know how Google works...lets apply this knowledge to our website...
Now that we have a greater understanding for how the search engines work, we can turn our attention to finding our website on Google.
The quickest way to find out is to perform a 'site' search. You can do this by entering Site: [your website address] into Google as shown below:
There are various techniques you can do to improve a web site's ranking in Google's organic search results for chosen or targeted keyword phrases. This process is known as Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and is a large topic that requires another article.
Or... you can get your website to the top of Google for targeted search terms using Google’s advertising program, called Adwords. By setting up Google Adwords you can create a listing and choose search terms that will trigger your listing or advertisement. The good thing about Google Adwords is that you don’t pay unless someone actually clicks on your ad and visits your website.
You might pay as little as 5c per click, especially if it is your own business name, which will be less competitive.>Learn more about Search engine advertising