How Google Works & The 4 Pillars of SEO

How Google Works & The 4 Pillars of SEO

How Google Works & The 4 Pillars of SEO

Episode 002

Before getting too deep into the weeds with SEO its time to explore how Google works and what the key principles of SEO are.

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Michael 0:12
welcome to the SEO show for another week. I’m your host, Michael, and I am joined by my co host, Arthur.

Arthur 0:17
Hey, how’s it going?

Michael 0:18
Yeah, pretty good. Pretty good can’t complain, especially when we’re talking about SEO, my favorite thing in the world to do.

Arthur 0:24
My favorite too.

Michael 0:25
Oh, wow, what a pair of losers we have. Today, we’re going to be talking about how Google works first and foremost. And then, I guess how SEO works and the sort of key principles of SEO. Now, when I say how Google works, no one knows how Google works. Right? Do you know?

Arthur 0:42
No, and if they say they know they’re lying.

Michael 0:44
We’d be billionaires, if we knew exactly how Google works. In fact, Google themselves come out often and say they don’t know how it works. There’s so many elements to the way they go about ranking sites and its sort of controlled by computers and machine learning, and it’s sort of set on its merry way. And yeah, no one truly knows at its core, exactly what Google’s up to at any given point in time. But we do have a good understanding of first how Google works in principle, and from our own experience during SEO, what you need to focus on to try and influence how Google works is would that be fair and saying Do you think other? Yeah, I think so. Cool, awesome. Well, let’s chat about how Google works. I guess, for me, the best way of thinking about it is like Google is the library of the internet, you know, it’s their job to have every single website or every single web page, ready to go in their library. And anyone that’s using the internet can borrow from that library. That make sense?

Arthur 1:42
That makes perfect sense. Yeah, that’s a good analogy, I guess.

Michael 1:44
Okay. You guess?! I think it is because like, right, you know, that it basically, it goes out finds everything stores, and if people search for them,

Arthur 1:52
It’s just a massive database, basically, of websites or web pages, that returns a web page based on a search query that someone puts it

Michael 1:58
correct. So, you know, a library, if we think about library down the road, it might have 500 books in it. Google’s got, I guess, an infinite number of books that say, how’s it going out and finding all these books? When I say books, I mean, web pages and websites? Well, basically, what it does, is it deploys crawlers, software known as crawlers or spiders, spiders, yet, there’s all different all sorts of ways you can refer to them. But these, this software basically moves across the web, from page to page, just like you would when you’re using the web. So you might go to a website, click a link, go through to the about page and then go off somewhere you notice social media, and then go to a new site, and you’re following links. Basically, these crawlers do the same thing, right? They go follow the links and read everything on a page very quickly, much quicker than you and I can read. And it stores all of that information back on Google servers back at Google’s evil lab, like at HQ. And this index that they store it all in is massive, you know, it’s got literally billions and billions and billions of pages. So that’s one thing. they’ve they’ve stored all of that information. So that’s awesome. But how do they find what searcher is looking for when they go in there? You know, they’re librarians, how do they go and find the book that someone is looking for out of the hundreds of billions of books that they’ve got in their index their algorithm? That’s correct. The algorithm algorithm, they do it, the magical algorithm? And actually, the way Google works, it’s not just one algorithm. It is multiple algorithm. algorithm. I’m not sure algorithms, algorithm-i, that’s the

Arthur 3:29
correct term.

Michael 3:30
Yep. joined together, or doing different things. But really, I guess the principle of an algorithm is that it uses a range of different factors or sort of inputs, to then determine what the most relevant outputs are. And so what you’ll find is that Google is looking at things like keywords and the query that the person has searched, and is that relevant to the things that they’re returning. And it looks at things like the usability of the website that they’re going to return and the expertise of the people that have written the thing that’s going to be returned, and the location of the person and technical things and all sorts of different factors go into this algorithm. And you know, it’s super fast in a blink of an eye, it’s going to decide what it thinks the most relevant through to the least relevant pages to show for whatever you’ve typed into Google. So you with me? So does that all make sense?

Arthur 4:19
No, that makes perfect sense.

Michael 4:21
I’d hope so since we’re working in it a while.

Arthur 4:22
I’ve been doing it for a long time. No need to explain SEO to me.

Michael 4:26
yes, yes. But this isn’t for you. This is for our loyal listeners after one episode. So basically, that’s how Google works. It’s a library, it’s got a super smart librarian that can find things really quickly and give you what you’re looking for. So with these algorithms, you know, these are the areas that are these are the factors that you can sort of influence if you want to have some sort of an impact on what Google’s showing search results. You know, if it’s looking at factors and you really juice up your factors, you really make them really appealing to Google. Google’s crawlers really love it, and they have a thought of the algorithm is really It stands to reason that your site’s going to move up in the rankings. So that’s what SEO is search engine optimization. Pretty simple as optimizing your website to be like crack for Google.

Arthur 5:13
That’s one way of putting it.

Michael 5:14
That is one way of putting it probably not the best. But I think I think it where it makes sense. Yeah. So how do you do that? Because, you know, there’s a commonly bandied about thing that or not being a saying that there’s over 200 different factors that you can optimize or that go into the Google ranking algorithm. If you heard that before. I have. Yeah,

Arthur 5:34
some I’d say even more, I would definitely say even

Michael 5:37
more, that’s super old, you know, that I think someone said at once, 15 years ago, or something like that, and SEO community have sort of latched on to that and said, You know, there’s over 200 factors, and we’ll optimize all of them. But really, Google themselves said, you know, within each factor, there could be 50 different variables, you know, it really, it’s super complex. And no one really knows all the different things that you can optimize, to give Google what it’s looking for. And it’s not like there’s a blanket rule or sort of set of things that can be applied. Because each industry is different, each keyword is different. The intent behind what people are searching for is different. So anyone that says they’ve got it all figured out? That’s pretty much bullshit,

Arthur 6:17
right? They don’t know. Or we can sometimes say we do.

Michael 6:21
Where we got it all figured out. But um, look, what we do say is largely, yes, there’s a lot of different ranking factors. But they boiled down into four main pillars, right? Yeah. What would the four main pillars be?

Arthur 6:39
technical? Yeah, content on site authority? And UX? I’d say

Michael 6:44
correct. So if you just think about your website, through the lens of these pillars, and optimize the important areas, you’re going to do better than most people that aren’t doing that. Definitely, that’s pretty simple. Onsite pillar, is basically what you can do to your actual website’s content itself. Right. So what would be some of the main things that you can do there

Arthur 7:08
are just, I guess, basic on site, optimizing your page titles, your headings, making sure that all the content is optimized, you’re targeting the right keywords for each page, targeting different variations of keywords, right? Yeah, basically just looking at the page and making sure the content in the page is relevant to the search.

Michael 7:25
Right. So coming back to our librarian analogy, that’s like the the pages in the book. Yeah, that’s right, Google’s reading. So that’s pretty straightforward. Now, the next, the next pillar, is the technical side of things. So that’s really just the code and the CMS server, the nerdy stuff. Yeah. That’s why I guess a lot of people get confused and find a bit more tricky, a bit more hard to understand. It can be the daunting part where an SEO salesman is sort of dazzling you with jargon, https SSL, CSS, JavaScript, yeah, I sort of glaze over. And then they’ll say, listen, just pay us money more for exam a lot of the time. With technical it’s just about making it easy for Google’s crawlers to move through your site and find all that content on the site. So most websites these days, if you’re built on a good platform, WordPress, or Shopify, or something like that, most of the technical stuff is handled out of the box. But anyway, that’s one area that you can focus on. The next one, will save the biggest to last. So we’ll go on to UX next user experience. So this is basically our people enjoying using your site and finding it easy to use your site and as Google sort of seeing that people are using the site well. So an example of this might be if they Google serve up a search result, and someone clicks through to your site, but they’re very quickly bounced back to the search result because your site is slow or ugly, or hard to use. That’s a bad user experience.

Arthur 8:54
Yeah, I think and it’s becoming more and more important these days, especially with these recent updates that are coming out. And Google’s focusing on user experience more than it ever has. So making sure that the site is appealing to the end user is Yeah,

Michael 9:07
crucial. Absolutely. Because Google, at its core, or as a business, they want to serve the most relevant best experience to their customers or their users possible. So if they have a listing of search results, where people find what they’re looking for, that’s a good experience. That means that Google continues to be a billion dollar business. If they’re serving up trash, where the websites are bad, and the people aren’t enjoying it. People might use Bing, they might move away from us being unlikely, but you know, as a business, that’s what Google’s really caring about, they want a good experience for their customers. So the last pillar, the biggest pillar in SEO always has been continues to be doesn’t matter what anyone might say to the contrary, this is the biggest aspect. What is it? Its link building link building the off site pillar? Why is it such an important part of SEO

Arthur 10:00
It’s also very controversial sometimes. Because I guess link building, when all things put together, when you’re looking at a site, you have two sites identical both have perfect on site, technically sound, it’s going to be the site that has the most authoritative links pointing to it, that’s going to outrank the yellow.

Michael 10:19
Right. And so I guess a way that we like to explain it is that if you think of a link to a website, it’s like a vote for the quality or the authority of that site. The more of those votes you have, the better you’re going to do in the eyes of Google. That’s right. Yeah, so pretty simplified right there. Yeah, we are going to get into all of these pillars in subsequent episodes. But um, yeah, don’t be sort of dazzled by 200 ranking factors, or 10,000, ranking factors, or whatever the case may be, because they all neatly fit essentially into these main pillars. And like anything in life, the old 8020 principle applies. If you get the key elements of all of these pillars done on your site, you’re going to see good results. So that’s what we’re going to talk about in the next few episodes. That’s about it for me for today. Did you have anything you wanted to talk on the end of that? I’m

Arthur 11:11
actually have a question. What do you think is the most important pillar out of those four?

Michael 11:15
I think link building still that. Because let’s say there’s five websites competing for the term criminal lawyer, Sydney. Yeah. If they are all nailing it with their on site, and their technical and the UX, and it’s just a really good experience here. Yeah, yeah. Anyway, Google’s gonna be able to figure out who is the best site is by looking at the link profile or the authority. So why why do you think that link building has such a bad rap? Sometimes, you know, a lot of people are scared to do it. A lot of people think that you know, it’s blackhat. And you’ll get your penalised maybe later on? Well, I think because it can you do it the wrong way, your site can be blown out of the search results, rather than helping you it can really hurt you and set you back. That has been the case since probably 2012. Now, like, it used to be the case, you could just build a ton of links. And you would really do well. Google search results as Volume One went out every day. Now, Google, I guess, if you take a step back, Google, want people to pay them money to run ads on Google ads. They don’t necessarily want people getting free traffic. On a lot of centrists, a lot of people invested in SEO and invested in links, because once they get there, the rewards are huge. And they’re not paying Google for those rewards. So Google, were incentivized to crack down on that sort of scare people from doing stuff that works. Link Building works, it influences the algorithms and help sites move up in the rankings. Google want to disincentivize. That sort of behavior. Yeah, that’s why people can be scared about link building because it can really, you know, drop a bomb on their website. But the fact of the matter remains that if you’re in a competitive space, you need link building as part of your strategy because definitely, competitors on i o will be so I will be talking about all of these pillars and you know more detail. We’re going to dedicate an episode to each pillar. We’ll get really deep and link building on that pillar, but for now, that’s about all we have for this episode. Hope to catch you in the next one. See ya. See ya.

Meet your hosts:

Arthur Fabik


Michael Costin


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