Google owns search. And any discussion of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) will focus heavily on what we know about Google’s indexing and ranking methods.

According to TechCrunch, “Of the 137 billion estimated total searches performed in the U.S. last year [2008], 85 billion were done on Google.” That is 63.5 percent of all search in the U.S. Google also grabbed 90 percent of all new search in 2008, leaving Microsoft, Yahoo, and Ask with stagnant growth.”

So if your site performs well in Google, you should be seeing traffic, and traffic should be converting into sales.

When discussing Google and their PageRank algorithm, understand that PageRank is a value determined by the popularity of a page. Popularity is based on how many and how popular are the pages linking to it.

Google describes PageRank this way:

… important pages receive a higher PageRank and are more likely to appear at the top of the search results.

PageRank also considers the importance of each page that casts a vote, as votes from some pages are considered to have greater value, thus giving the linked page greater value. We have always taken a pragmatic approach to help improve search quality and create useful products, and our technology uses the collective intelligence of the web to determine a page’s importance.

So ideally you want a lot of links from pages that have a high PageRank. Each page that links to yours passes some of its popularity juice on to your page.

Be aware that there is a difference in paid search results and organic search results. Paid search results appear across the top and down the right hand side of Google’s search engine results page. These ads are managed through AdWords, Google’s advertising system. Organic search results appear in the left hand column of the page. Ideally, you want to appear in both the organic search results on the left, AND in the paid search results on the right. This has a reinforcing branding effect on Google users, lending validity and authority to your page.

If your pages have a high PageRank value, they should appear higher in organic search results than pages with similar content that also have a lower PageRank value. So working to build links to your site from other sites is a very important part of SEO: more links are better.

If you have a website that isn’t generating enough traffic or sales, contact us for more information. We have experience in developing search engine marketing strategies that get results.

Previously published in the Graphics and Motion e-mail newsletter for June 2009.