I am sure that everyone and anyone who practices SEO has wondered exactly how Google’s search algorithm works. While no one but Google employees know exactly how the algorithm works, Google does leave some helpful hits here and there. One of those great hidden treasures is the Google Inside Search Lesson Plans. Google provides some helpful hits as to how they would like users to search which we as SEOs should consider when designing web pages. Creating good content that will align with user expectations and Google’s search engine algorithm will help you maximize your visibility and usefulness to both users and Google.
I have watched one of the many videos provided on the site and here are a few takeaways.
Google will imply that the word “And” is between your search terms when you add a query.
For example, the search term “Grass Snake” is the same as typing “Grass and Snake.” This means that all results brought up will need to have both the words “Grass” and “Snake” in the document.
The order in which you type your keywords matter. Snake grass could be a type of grass but grass snake could be a type of snake. Although both use the same keywords they will give you different results.
In the same sense, if Google has found these terms to be related such as “Death tax” & “Estate tax” you will receive the same results no matter which keyword phrase you type.
Things that matter to Google:
Keywords need to be near the beginning,
in the web address,
in the title
the order your words appear matters
the proximity of your keywords to other keywords
$, hash tag (#), + or ++
A ? in your search will usually give you a question and answer site
What doesn’t Matter to Google:
Punctuation (for the most part)
Google would like users to search for answers but many of them search for questions instead. You need to optimize for both.