What’s Going on with Google? How a Search Engine Works
Google is interested in links, they search and follow links that it can deliver on results pages. We’ll look at Basic Keyword Research and the Yoast SEO Plugin in this article. Rather than confuse you with jargon in we’re going to look at just what you need to know in plain terms. To begin with let’s consider how Google Google works and the three fundamentals of the search process:
- The Crawler – to find links on the Internet, your website must be linked to for Google to initially find you.
- The Index – the database where those links and content are stored. This is updated constantly as content changes on the web. Google will stop by your website more often if you publish frequently.
- The Algorithm – once you’ve been added to the index you can be included in Google’s search results. The algorithm will work its secret sauce to decide what position you will take.
Google Search Results Page
We all want to be on page 1 of the organic results i.e. listings that are natural and there on merit of their content as opposed to the paid results that often are at the top of the page. It remains the case that Google will position pages higher in the results if those page are linked to from reputable high ranking pages. For a high ranking website think along the lines of the BBC website or similar. The more times your page is linked to from another page, including pages on your own website the better.
Everyone has an opinion on Google. Whatever anyone might say it remains the case that Google has a mission to provide the highest quality and most relevant results to its searching consumers, i.e. you and me. And as time goes on Google is becoming better and better at that.
Because of how good Google is at doing its job anyone who tries to circumvent the system is wasting their time. Time is better spent focusing on creating great content that readers want to consume and share.
Keywords – How Basic Keyword Research and the Yoast SEO Plugin Work
Keyword research is a broad topic and worthy of its own article (or book, or volume, or more!) and Basic Keyword Research and the Yoast SEO Plugin go hand in hand to make the topic as straightforward as possible. There are many complex tools and strategies you can and sometimes should use. However the fact remains that Google rates great quality content; if you create that and do some basic SEO you’re off to a great start. Sufficient to say at this point that you should sit down and really understand what your business is about, what you really do for or provide customers and how they might paraphrase that in a search term that they enter into the Google search bar in an attempt to find you. Be as niche as you can with your search term and then build your article around that.
Do Yourself a Favour. Do Some Keyword Research!
Basic Keyword Research and the Yoast SEO Plugin are a perfect combination to significantly increase your SEO success rate. You might have chosen an obscure search term that no one is searching for, on the other hand you might have chosen a super competitive term such as ‘women’s shoes’. This will have a huge amount of competition leaving you on something like page 100 of the results! If instead you were to optimise for ‘women’s green lace up shoes with 2 inch heel’, you might just stand a chance!
Also, bear in mind that this is not a spamming exercise. An article that is well crafted, informs, entertains and connects with visitors is proven to score a hit with search engines and readers.
The Yoast SEO Plugin for WordPress
The aim of the article is to introduce you to the Yoast SEO plugin or. If you already know of it you’ll gain a better understanding of how it works. Quite apart from the plugin I’d encourage you to pop over to the Yoast website at https://yoast.com/ where you’ll find some excellent resources to help with your SEO. Included are eBooks and courses that are well worth the investment for any business owner.
The Page Analysis Tool
Use the Page Analysis Tool of the WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin to analyse any page or post on your website for SEO. The plugin provides tips on how you can improve that content. The best way to approach this is to use the tool on a new page, tweaking and measuring as you go. Having said that you can also use the tool on existing content.
Text that indicates the main topic/search term of the page. If your meta description snippet and the search term that you are found for match that text will be shown by Google below your URL in the search results. This illustrates the fact that your article title should include your search term.
The Flesch Reading Ease Score
This will indicate the readability of your article by taking values such as the length of sentences into account.
Overall SEO Checks
The plugin checks to see if you have used your keyword in 5 important locations:
- The article heading
- The title of the page
- The URL of the page
- The content of the article
- The meta description.
Another valuable feed back from the plugin is how many word you have used and how that compares with Google preferences. The plugin will check the number of links in your article, whether you have any images in your content and if they have been optimised with keywords.
A great feature is the traffic light indicator whereby you’re striving for a green light. If you get that then great, job done! But remember that you could have a super optimised ‘green-light’ page that ends up getting no visitors! How come? Poor choice of search terms that’s how.