Search Engines are NOT Yellow Pages.

Many people think of Google search as an Yellow Pages. A listing of every business out there, Where Google lists people based mainly on Key Words. I’ve had many clients ask me how long it will be before they are on the first page of Google after launching their new website.

The reality is that Google Search is NOT a directory listing. It’s not like the Yellow Pages of old. And just because you launch a website or include key words does not mean Google will rank you very well. In fact, there are directories of business that are more like the Yellow Pages such as YP.com or Yelp. Although they have advanced features that the Yellow Pages never did.

Google did at one time have a Directory, called, appropriately, Google Directory. It was designed to rank websites by relevance so people could find what they were looking for. It was shut down in 2011 and users were instructed to use Google We Search instead. A lot of people think that’s what Google Web Search is today, but it’s not.

So if Google isn’t a directory, what is it? And since we all know that Google Search is the source of a great deal of business exposure, how do we get ranked well in the Search Results? Of course, there is an entire industry dedicated to figuring this out and helping people get the results they want. There are ebooks, seminars, webinars and consultants everywhere on earth about this.

A few basic concepts will help the average business owner understand Google Search and form reasonable expectations and a plan for their business.

Google search is designed to provide relevant information from trustworthy sources to the world. It’s not just a listing based on keywords and it uses a complex algorithm to determine what information is trustworthy and authoritative. It’s managed by a very powerful Artificial Intelligence (AI). One metaphor that people use is a super smart librarian. You go into a library and tell the Librarian you are interested in information on the History of Tacoma Washington. The super market Tacoma Librarian doesn’t just point you to a list of materials with those key words in the name. They take a look at what information has been around for a long time, has proven trustworthy to users, has a lot of information that addresses the issues you are interested in, presents the information in readable format, uses many different types of presentation methods from text to video, and has many people that reference that material from outside (or link to it). And about 10,000 other criteria to determine how well that material matches what your real needs are (not just what you asked for). This is more like what Google search does. All of the factors mentioned above and 10,000 more are indeed used in determining what websites to display to any particular search query.  It’s like having a Knowledge engine at your fingertips. That’s exactly what Google wants to be – a way to search and understand relevant knowledge world wide.

When you launch or re-launch a website, think of it as taking a new book to the library. You want the library to then recommend people read your book for the things you provide expert information about. Again, readability by grade level, how long it’s been published, how many other people are linking to it, how much information is on the site, what different types of information are on the site, how long people stay on the site and many more factors will determine whether (and how much) librarian Google or Bing recommend you.

So just throwing up a website with your key words in the proper density with the right domain name isn’t what Google is looking for to rank your site. Having those words is a part of the equation, to be sure. But it’s only one part of the equation. If you want to be found, you need a complete, long term strategy for having Google recommend you as an expert in whatever topic you are providing information on. This is a substantial effort, of course, and takes a thoughtful, professional approach by those who keep up with the ever changing criteria that the Google Artificial Intelligence brain uses for recommending web sites and information.  GreenHaven has that team. Contact us today!

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