Understanding How Search Works

Understanding How Search Works (and How to Improve Your Rankings)

Meg DeLeon, Account Director Digital Marketing, Healthcare Marketing

These days, marketing is all about getting found. Unless you can increase the visibility of your healthcare organization, you won’t attract visitors and vice versa. Everything depends on your ability to appear in search results when users input certain keyword phrases that relate to your product or service. This means:

  • The more criteria your web pages fulfill, the higher their page rank.
  • The better the page rank, the sooner your website pages will show up in search results.
  • The earlier you show up in results, the more exposure you get to potential clients.

These factors make it imperative for your marketing team to understand how search works, as well as ways to improve your company’s rankings to benefit from search.

How Search Works

Google is essentially king of the search castle. Where it leads, the other search engines ultimately follow. The way it works is relatively straightforward, even if it manages to sound overwhelmingly complex much of the time.

1. Gathering Data

Google deploys automated software “spiders” called Googlebots to scour the internet gathering information about your content, such as the name of each page on a website, the keywords and phrases that identify the subject matter, and links to other pages and sites.

2. Indexing

The data is added to Google’s digital database and indexed according to the keywords. When a user searches for key terms, whether by text, voice search or image search, and regardless of the type of device used, the algorithm sorts through the database to find the pages that appear to be the most relevant based on the information collected about them.

3. Ranking

Since there are literally billions of pages online, Google determines which pages are the best ones to serve up by ranking them according to a set of standard criteria. Pages that rank the highest get delivered earlier in the search results. Although the specifics of the PageRank algorithm are a very well-protected secret, it’s common knowledge that it works by assigning each webpage a relevancy score. This is based on the number of criteria that are fulfilled on the page.

Improve Your Rankings

So, what can you do to improve your ranking in search, reap the benefits of showing up earlier in results and generate more visitors and leads as a result? Several things, actually.

Some of the criteria taken into account to determine page rank includes the:

  • length of the content and frequency with which you publish
  • duration of your website’s existence and its popularity with users
  • content quality, in terms of grammatical and spelling accuracy,
  • number of times the keywords and phrases are used, which is called keyword density
  • technical aspects, such as loading speed and inclusion of metadata
  • how many (and which!) external websites consider the website or page important enough to link

Implementing all these factors might sound like a tall order, but most are best practices followed by every business with an active, dynamic website. You can help your site along in the results by purchasing some paid advertising, but “organic” search results are the ones you really want and there’s no way to buy those. The only way to improve your ranking is to do the work of publishing quality content that complies with the requirements for search.

Some of the other steps you can take to make your site is as searchable as possible are to ensure its device-responsiveness, use multimedia that includes search-friendly graphic elements, and share your information on social media platforms. This not only helps to reach people you might not otherwise reach, but it drives traffic to your site and helps to increase the number of times your keywords and phrases appear online.

To learn more about how search works and how you can improve your rankings, please call Wax Custom Communications at 305.350.5700 or visit waxcom.com.

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