Does Google Really Know What The Best Restaurants in Ottawa are?

Well, not really. But what Google does know is how many times different restaurants have been talked about on various websites and what people have said about those restaurants. Google also knows is that some mentions hold more weight than others. So if restaurant A is included on a list of “Top 10 Italian Restaurants In Ottawa” in an article by the Ottawa citizen, and restaurant B is mentioned on your MySpace page, Google is probably going to guess that restaurant A is a more popular spot. How does google it, you ask? Through a little thing called Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

What is SEO?

SEO is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or web page in a search engine’s unpaid/organic results. So essentially, SEO is the process of getting your website to rank (appear) higher on a search engine’s (is there one other than Google?) results page. SEO is how you tell Google that your site is the best resource for any given topic, and it’s one of the best ways to drive traffic to your website and its content.

How do you do it?

To understand how SEO works, you first need to know a bit about how search engines like Google work. Google uses a complex algorithm to assign page rankings to websites based on a variety of factors like how old the page is, how that page uses key words, and how much authority that page has on a given topic. To get information on all the webpages on the internet, Google uses programs called ‘crawlers’ to gather information on these pages. Picture them as little robots who go through webpages and report back to Google with information on what kind of things are found on any given page, which is where SEO comes in. Good web developers know how these ‘crawlers’ browse through sites, and they know what the ‘crawlers’ look for. Therefore, they can optimize the pages of their sites, and the content of those pages to include all the right information, keywords, and coding that make it easy for the program to gather information. The idea is to make Google think you’re the top subject matter expert, or the most relevant website for a given topic, even if you aren’t.

Why is it important?

If done right, you can use SEO to make your website seem more legit than it really is, and rank higher than others on a search engine’s results page, but why does that matter? Well, let me answer that question with another question: how often do you look at the second page of Google search results? If you’re being honest, the answer would be something like “pretty much never”. The higher you are ranked (located) on the search results page, the more likely you are to get visitors to your website, customers for your product or service, and/or readers & subscribers to your content. Your website is your most important digital marketing tool, and SEO helps people find it.

Want to learn the basics of more digital marketing tools/tactics? Visit my website, where I’m keeping track of all the things i’m learning on my journey to becoming a digital marketer: