I was talking to someone recently about helping them create a website for their business. We ran into some difficulty when we started talking about the search engines - how your website shows up on Google. I made an incorrect assumption that everyone understands what the search engines do, but not everyone does. How do search engines work?
One of the things I do in my business is help people create their own website. Ideally they are people who join my network marketing team, but sometimes they are existing distributors from other teams. I'll help anyone who wants to put in the work because we all win if we play together.
If You Have a Website, You Need Traffic
When you have a website you want people to see it. That's pretty obvious. Whether you are sharing your thoughts, educating people, or trying to sell a product or service, you need people to see what you write. Without it you're wasting your time.
So how do you get this traffic to your website?
I get most of my website traffic for free from the search engines, and most of that comes from Google. That's where I put my focus.
There are many other ways to get traffic as well. There are other search engines, like Bing, Yahoo and DuckDuckGo for example.
A lot of people put a lot of their effort into getting traffic from social media. There are more social media platforms than you can count. The most popular ones right now are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, and so on. You can get a lot of traffic from those sites if you really know how to engage with people there.
Still others, especially bloggers, get traffic by engaging with other bloggers in the comment sections of their blogs. For example, after I finish this post, I will visit other blogs and comment on what they have to say. Then they and other commenters may come back to my blog and see what I have to say and leave a comment. I know at least a few bloggers who are very successful with this technique.
Here though, I'm going to focus on the search engines, and specifically on Google. In my experience your positioning on the search engines takes less effort to maintain than through any other means.
How Do Search Engines Work?
How do search engines work from the user's perspective? That's where we should start.
Go to Google and search for alkaline water filter. The results I received look like this:
I received three kinds of search results from Google for my keyword phrase and I placed arrows next to each so that you can see them. The top one on the left is a Google Adwords pay-per-click ad. You notice that there is a green box around the word "Ad" in front of this result, and the first 4 results in the listing.
To create these, you set up a Google Adwords account, give Google a budget, bid on the keyword phrase (in this case "alkaline water filter") and Google charges you your bid amount every time someone clicks on your listing. When your budget runs out your listing will no longer show in the results. This is one of the many ways that Google makes money.
I don't do pay-per-click. It can get expensive fast. I actually did some pay-per-click back when I first got online. I figure I earned back about 90% of what I spent. In other words, I lost money on it. It was a good learning experience though.
The shopping image results on the right are another type of paid ad where you can sell your products right from Google. I haven't looked into this at all but I imagine that it works similarly to the pay-per-click ads.
The bottom arrow on the left are the "organic" search results. They are free and are what I put my focus on. I recommend that you do too.
How Do Search Engines Work - Organic Search Results
They are called organic results because they aren't influenced by money. Nobody is paying Google to show you their page above yours. That's what the pay-per-click results, the ads, are about.
Google lists 10 organic results per page, and everybody's goal is to get their website among those first 10 results. It isn't always easy because you may be up against Google, Amazon, YouTube and Ebay for that space.
Google's business as a search engine is to search through the internet and build a database of all the pages it can find. It also makes notes about what the pages are about and ranks them so that it can give you the most relevant results when you search for something.
Google is always refining their formula but the goal is always the same. They want to find the pages that are most likely to give you the information you are looking for.
How Do Search Engines Work for Marketers
Like I said before, I focus on getting my pages and blog posts to show up in the free search results that I just described. That's what Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is all about.
I'm not going to go into how to do SEO here. That's one of the things that I cover in the training in the membership area of this site. For now the membership area is free.
I'll tell you what SEO is though. When you do SEO you are just making sure that everything is in place so that the search engines can easily find your pages and easily figure out what they are about.
It's like when someone makes a movie. If you can't figure out what the movie is about then your aren't going to watch it, right? They put a good title on it that hopefully gives you a clue. They carve out some scenes to make a trailer to give you more clues. Then in the first few minutes of the movie they set the scene that launches you on your journey. If they don't then you will walk out of the movie, if you even came to the movie in the first place.
It's the same thing with SEO when you create a webpage or a blog post. People like to make it sound really hard but it's not. Like I said, I cover it very well in the membership area.
The question I set out to answer was how do search engines work. If you got it then my work here is done. If you still have questions then please leave me a comment below and I will answer them. Either way I would greatly appreciate if you would take a moment to share this post with your followers on Facebook and Twitter.