How Google Really Works (revised 2020 Edition)
Everyone (I think) understands how Google basically works.
Google is an advertising platform.
Yes Google provides search results so by definition it is a "search engine". But that's just only one of the services Google provides. Google helps you find free answers to create a valuable service. That's the free "Organic Search" part of Google. And the key to growth on the internet is to offer something FREE that is VALUABLE.
The other half of Google is "Paid Search" which is the advertising platform. It's Google's $161 billion dollars in annual ad revenue that makes Google a global powerhouse company.
They created value by giving away answers. They grew because their free answers (organic search) collected a massively loyal audience. Google created a commodity out of "Organic Search".
Once the commodity becomes valuable everyone wants to take advantage of it. Most businesses want to get at the top of that organic search. But it's been difficult, almost a secret at times of how to do that. Paid Google Ads are the easy way of getting ahead of the coveted #1 Postion.
According to Statista, Google's 2019 revenue was $161.3 BILLION.
*Image source Statista
Google creates the line for demand, then sells "premium VIP seats" at the head of the line. That's how Google works.
Cutting To The Head Of The Line
By creating this indespensible service, and maintaining it over the years, Google has become an important part of all the cultures of the world that wish to use the internet. It's that reach, the exposure to millions of people specifically looking for something that businesses pay for by purchasing ads, in hopes that their "something" is the answer. To a business, an ad places them ahead of the line. They don't have to be the #1 result to reach those millions of people. They can simply buy a place at the head of the line.
How To Benefit From Understanding Google Is Not Just A Search Engine
The Difference Between Organic and Paid Google Search
Understanding the differences between "Organic" Google Search and "Paid" Google Ads is where people still get confused.
Organic search is the commodity. Paid search is the revenue the commodity indirectly generates. And that's the distinction that most people are still confused over.
About 90% of the people I talk with on this topic have no idea how to get to the first page of Google's organic search results. They don't really understand that Google organic search and paid search are distinctly two different set of task that do not cross over. You can't get into the organic search by paying Google. You get into Google's organic results with SEO (Search Egine Optimization).
What is SEO?
SEO is a complex set of task that's become more of an art than science. It's complicated and confusing and takes a long time by design. If it were easy then anyone could do it and NO ONE would need to buy ads.
"How Do I Get My Website Seen/Ranked/Higher In Google"?
I get asked this...a lot.
Just about anytime my laptop is open in public, people make casual comments or strike up a conversation about what I do.
But What People Really Want To Know
When someone is asking me "How Do I Get Websites Ranked in Google?", what they are really asking Is WHAT to do ...and (more importantly) HOW do they do it themselves. What's the secret? And they want to know without a lot of complicated technical talk.
S P E L L I T O U T F O R M E!!! please & thank you...
- What are the exact steps?
- What are the most important things to do?
- How do I beat my competitor?
*Stick with me. I'll answer all 3 specifically with exact steps that work for 2020 and beyond.
How Google determines what websites are "the best" is where the fun begins.
That's the magic question that you can Google for days and never really wrap your head around an answer. Sure you can fun size an answer down to cocktail party talk, or biggie size the answer into several college courses. But you're still likely to be left wondering how the f*ck do I actually get there???
First we need to understand why Google is surrounded in all this voodoo magic.
Why Google's Foggy Ghost of The Golden Era Causes Endless Confusion
Everybody wants to know the good stuff. The secret sauce, magic bullet, the winning formula that I drink behind the Wizard's curtain, flipping switches and levers as SEO enchanted websites shoot to the top of Google like firery embers.
And I gotta tell you, it's more than fun to be the one that knows the secrets. Maybe not all of them at any given time but enough to make a good living as an SEO when nobody knew what that meant.
But alas in the end, we find there is no silver bullet, no magic wand, no secret potion.
The days of magic bullet potion SEO are long gone. Oohhhh yaas, they were real and if you knew those little secrets you were a unicorn in the good ol' days of the Golden Era of SEO.
Back in the "Golden Era" Wild West of search engine optimization (SEO) all of those things not only existed, most "techniques" were so easy that you could literally rocket to the top of any Google search at will, naming your price along the way.
And THAT is the first layer of confusion. To understand how Google works, you have to take into consideration that there are a lot of people that perpetuate the myth that there's still a magic bullet.
When The Fog Lifts, Reality Sets In.
In a nutshell, Google uses a sophisticated set of rules that judge websites on hundreds of criteria. Those rules are called the algorithm. They're more than just list of items to verify and check off. Some algorithm ranking factors these days use artificial intellligence to try and determine the underlying meaning and intent of a question. Google is colling it BERT.
"BERT, which stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers, is a neural network-based technique for natural language processing pre-training. In plain English, it can be used to help Google better discern the context of words in search queries." ~ Search Engine Land
Going into 2020, BERT is the most important algorithm update in a long time.
Understanding how Google's algorithm determine's the top websites is what marketers, SEOs and businesses have been trying to figure out since the rise of Google's popularity.
If you know how to get to the top, to be #1 for any given search that brings you customers, buyers, clients or leads...then that is an easy way of making more money with less effort. It has proven to be the holy grail of online marketing with the highest returns.
If you're confused by how Google works, it's easy to understand why.
There's been a lot of informational debris swirling around the internet over the years that leaves people in a cloud of misconceptions cluttered by half truths.
By "half truths" I mean most of what you've read or heard may have been true at one time, but as Google evolves and changes, those "Facts" become less and less true until they are finally completely irrelevant.
BUT, then again, in some cases, some truths depreciate and then become reborn in some other similar but not-quite-the-same form, which adds to the confusion.
The only constant truth is that Google is constantly changing and evolving.
There's no confusion about that. If you really want to get a sense of how many changes are made in Google over a week, a month, or year, you can listen in on some of my favorite search engine news sources. This is hardcore SEO Google Geek Stuff with a capital "G" so I don't recommend it to anyone that have had their eyes roll up in a defensive coma when exposed to words like "algorithm" and "impressions".
Top Misconceptions About Google:
#1 - There's a Secret SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Magic Bullet Trickity Trick To Getting Ranked #1
#2 - Fixing Technical SEO Issues Will Get Your Site To #1
So how do you start working smarter and how do you make more money?
Stick With The BASICS
Why is that so hard to do? Because it seems too simple.