Understanding Google – What you need to know

Whichever way you look at it, Google is quite remarkable. In fact, it is truly unbelievable. Google.com receives nearly 12 billion searches and almost 187 million unique visitors every month. When it suffered a five-minute outage last year, global web traffic dipped by 40 per cent

With so much traffic going through this extensive and exhaustive search engine, it makes sense for any brand or business to capitalise on its enormous potential. But with so many different aspects and factors to consider, this can feel like an intimidating prospect.

Taking the time to learn and understand the intrinsic details of how Google works would probably take a lifetime. Thankfully, digital agencies have content marketing connoisseurs, PPC aficionados and SEO experts with the skills required to comprehend these particular fields.

Even so, there are a few fundamental facts that you should always be aware of. While the technical aspects of Google can be left to those in the know, any business has to recognise the following points if it wants to succeed online.

Google doesn’t stand still; it constantly changes

In many respects, you could say this about most companies. But Google seems to evolve and advance unlike any other brand. This is not limited to its search engine either, as other areas including acquisitions, patents, inventions, software and products constantly receive upgrades and alterations.

But while future generations have driverless cars, magnetic hover boards and head-mounted ubiquitous computers to look forward to, present-day businesses have to keep up with the changing face of search.

Every year, Google is said to make around 500 adjustments to its search engine algorithm, which essentially decides where results rank. The main reason for so many revisions is to deliver better quality and more relevant content to each and every user. Google wants to understand the actual intention behind search terms, rather than just matching them to the nearest website.

This obviously keeps the world of marketing on their toes and not a day goes by where another aspect of Google’s algorithm is explored. By all means leave this to the experts, but respect and recognise the need to be adaptable and flexible online.

Your competitors are using Google; it should be utilised by you too

Whether paying for PPC ads or targeting organic search supremacy, your competitors are more than likely using Google to increase their reach and riches. Some businesses don’t have an online presence at all, while others will have a corporate website and maybe the odd social media profile or blog. But if you’re not competitive on Google, you’ll struggle to achieve anything.

First and foremost, having a coherent and captivating website is paramount. It needs to include on-page SEO to have any chance of appearing on Google’s results page, some entertaining content that appeals to your target audience and social media buttons so visitors can share the site with friends.

From there, you can start to think of ways to match and beat your competitors on Google. Consider implementing a content marketing strategy or PPC campaign. But remember, your rivals are using Google to their advantage for a reason and you should be too.

Google is more than just a search engine; it’s a marketing conglomerate

Aside from its search engine, Google has an email service, web browser, mobile apps, book inventories, language translation, navigation databases, content hubs, file storage and all manner of other products. These have enormous potential just waiting to be made the most of.

Even if you’re a bit overwhelmed as to where to start, Google has established relationships and connections within these prospective marketing avenues to help businesses. For example, Google+ is a commenting system for YouTube. Information about article authors taken from its social network is also seen on search results, which boosts online visibility and reputations.

Not every string of Google’s bow will be suitable or appropriate to your business, but understanding that it can be so much more than just a search engine is an important point to comprehend. Especially when it comes to keeping up with constant changes and staying ahead of competitors.

Google wants to know everything and everyone

Even though you could say this about the Internet in general, Google wants to collate and curate every single piece of data imaginable. This is mainly because of its Knowledge Graph, which aims to deliver the most pertinent results possible to users through semantic search.

Semantic refers to the meaning in language or logic and with Knowledge Graph, Google is trying to assign definitions to entities such as people, places and things. When searching for a famous celebrity or a country’s most prominent landmarks, you will see a sidebar of information and a carousel of images populating the results page.

This is the Knowledge Graph hard at work, trying to replace the ranking system of algorithms with information the user wants to come across. In order to provide this service, Google almost has to develop its own brain and understand everything there is to know, which includes details about you and your business.

Things like your online reputation, industry authority, individual influence and brand reputation are being indexed and scrutinised by Google. Unlike traditional SEO techniques such as backlinks, semantic search seems a lot more difficult to manipulate and exploit.

Google is all about the end-user and so should you be

Although it is important to promote and sell products or services online, your top priority should be the overall user-experience. After all, this is what Google wants to achieve when it ranks website results.

The company website, social media pages and content marketing campaigns are great ways of promoting and publicising your brand, but again, Google wants to make sure these platforms provide value to the everyday lives of users.

Therefore, take a step back and think about what you’re providing customers or clients with. After creating an experience that they can benefit from time and time again, you can move on to the more intrinsic aspects of marketing with Google, which won’t go unnoticed by this search engine behemoth.

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