Sunday, November 19, 2017

Google's Dominance: Two Key SEO Lessons

The recent news that Mozilla dropped Yahoo in favor of Google (as its default search provider) might read like non-news to many readers. "Why did Mozilla use Yahoo in the first place?" one reader emailed this week.

Good question. Google is so dominant other search engines--like Yahoo or Bing--can seem unnecessary or redundant.

Google now enjoys over 80% of all global search engine traffic (Source: Net Market Share). Bing is a very distant second with 7.51%. And Yahoo, once a leader in search, enjoys only 4.51% of global search engine traffic.

So how did Google become so dominant? In its statement about the change, Mozilla said: "As part of our focus on user experience and performance in Firefox Quantum, Google will...become our new default search provider."

Not surprisingly, Google's success offers two key SEO lessons for websites, and Mozilla hits the nail on the head: It's about user experience and performance.

A Google "doodle" honoring the Mexican wrestling legend, El Santo: How did the search engine pile drive the competition? User experience and performance. (Photo Source).

Google SEO Lesson I: User Experience

Early search engines, like Yahoo, once charged websites for inclusion in search engine directories, and websites that paid more enjoyed higher placement in results.

We know from experience that paid advertisements do not always deliver the most relevant results. The essence of organic search, which Google pioneered, is an emphasis on unpaid, natural results. As we noted last week:

"Paid advertising helps a search engine like Google make money. But Google's reputation depends on the quality of its 'organic' results. So unpaid marketing, or organic SEO, satisfies the true goal of search engines: to offer the most relevant, unbiased results for any given search."

Read: What is Natural Website Optimization?

Google changed search, then, by shifting the focus from paid results to organic results.

Writing for Forbes, Adam Heitzman noted how this shift emphasized user experience:

"Google’s entire business model focused on providing a better user experience. Its algorithm accounted for multiple factors, such as page quality, number of links and relevance to a user’s search in addition to how much advertisers pay, thus improving Yahoo’s original model. Because Google provided the best product, everyone wanted to use it."

The SEO takeaway is simple: browsers prefer websites that optimize user experience. Practically speaking, this means  a streamlined site with an easy-to-navigate structure (website structure) that satisfies users expectations (website content).

Read: SEO 101: Website Structure &  Is Your Content Relevant? 

Google SEO Lesson II: Performance

Google's search engine is prized for its instantaneous results--often millions in a fraction of a second. This speed was a major factor in its early success and continues to wow browsers. The key to this speed is Google's vast index:

"The first thing we have to understand is that Google does not search the Internet when you submit a query...Google searches its index of the internet. This might seem trivial but it’s an important distinction because it makes the search infinitely faster" (Source).

Though different in kind, Google's index is analogous to a website's "back-of-the-house" design, which governs website speed, and website speed is an important factor for Google:

"Websites with servers and back-end infrastructure that...quickly deliver web content [have] a higher search ranking than those that were slower." (Source).

The SEO takeaway here is simple, too: For Google and websites performance means speed, and speed always wins the day.

Read: SEO 101: Website Design

A Digital Marketing Company That Understands Website Design & SEO: Stepman's SEO

To build an effective, fully-optimized website, you need a web design company that also understands SEO. Stepman's SEO is the rare company that offers a host of design, SEO, and marketing professionals to optimize your website. Contact Stepman's SEO today to learn how you can improve your website's performance: 215-900-9398.