What Google Looks For on Your Website

Pay Attention so Google Finds You

When Google’s search engine analyzes your website it’s looking for keywords, snippets, titles, and descriptions that its search engine can return in search results. Once again, these elements are:

  • Keywords
  • Snippets
  • Titles
  • Descriptions

Pay attention to detail when developing website pages, assigning titles to pages, and adding descriptions, as this is what search engines look for on websites. Do all of this before you add your relevant content.  Let’s break this down and explore each of the above components in a bit more detail.

Page Titles:

Let’s consider a large coffee chain website.  Starbucks, yes, that’s it!  For their homepage title they chose Starbucks Homepage.  Not bad.  Better than lots of page titles.  Yet, could that be better?  Sure!  Consider this, are people going to be searching for “Starbucks Homepage” or would they be more likely to search for “Starbucks Coffee?”  Sure, that’s what most people will search for.  So, Starbucks could have done a little better there by titling their homepage “Starbucks Coffee.”

Page Snippets:

Google considerately scans a page, the Starbucks homepage in our example, for relevant content. If they find a nice little snipped in your Meta Description, they will use that.  If they can find a nice little chunk of information that describes the site they will use that.  Otherwise they will try to collate pieces of information from the page to give the reader an idea of what the page is about.  If your website is totally down, can’t be reached at all to read the meta tags, Google will sometimes use the Open Directory Project.  There will be more on ODP in another post.  Provide a concise yet comprehensive Meta Description for your website to give yourself every advantage with the search engines.

Page Descriptions:

When Google crawls a page they are looking for good titles and good descriptions.  Making sure your descriptions are concise, yet relevant is key to getting found.  Let’s look at our Starbucks example again.  If Starbucks homepage had a description that detailed Keurig coffee makers that description really would ‘match’ the page.  This wouldn’t happen deliberately of course, but could happen accidentally.  That’s why it’s very important to double check your pages.  Make sure the Description matches the Content of the page.  Avoid being overly verbose.  Yet go into enough detail that the reader knows what the page topic is.

Page Keywords:

You’re heard the saying ‘content is king?’  Sure, that’s a pretty common adage in the web world, and it’s true.  However, relevant content is even better!  So when you’re writing pages or posts for a website, keep in mind that the content needs to use keywords which are relevant to the site and/or topic at hand.  Writing a blogpost about Starbucks Verdana Blend Coffee and hardly using the keywords coffee or Verdana Blend wouldn’t really help that page get found by Google.

Well there you have it!  Of course this is only the tip of the iceberg.  There’s a lot more that goes into getting found by Google and we can explore those topics as well as other web browsers (Bing, Yahoo, etc.) in upcoming posts.