Any SEO expert who explains the main concepts of SEO in needlessly complicated language probably doesn’t want you to understand how search engines work; keeping it mystifying justifies his own existence!

We prefer to take another approach and that’s to strip SEO down to its basics so that a 12 year old child can understand it. Read on and you’ll see we’re not exaggerating.

The Google Algorithm – The Main Judge In A Gigantic Popularity Contest

You may hear the “Google Algorithm” mentioned as if it is some complicated system that it will take you years to understand.

In actual fact you can just think of the Google algorithm as the main judge in a gigantic worldwide popularity contest.

Search engines basically measure your popularity and they do this in the same way as humans do.

Measuring Popularity – Emulating The Human Way

When we create a research report how do we usually judge how much weight it carries?

I can go out and tell everyone that my report is the best around. That’s not going to carry much weight, though.

The most common way for the community as a whole to judge it is by how many times its referred to positively in other reports; the more leading publications that refer to a report the more authority it is seen to carry.

With search engines they try to emulate this and want to reward sites that are seen as having authority and standing in the community.

The logical way to do this for Google and the other search engines is to reward sites that have other sites linking to it – as they are the Internet’s form of references.

Not All Links Are Equal

Just as in the “real world” some people’s words carry more weight than others’, so it is with search engines.

Consider you are in a band and your gigs get reviewed; you might receive a good review from the local free newspaper which will do you some good; but if the editor of Rolling Stone was there and liked you and gave you a great reference how much more weight does that carry?

So it is with how search engines work – links from sites that are already considered an authority count for more than links from less reputable or renowned sites. It might be that one link from a leading site in the field counts for up to 10 other links.

Of course reputation and authority can take a while to build and is constantly changing – part of your job as a small online business owner is to steer your business into a position of credibility and authority, so that you are seen as an expert in your field and you get good rankings.

Variety Is Key

Just targeting authority links is not recommended as they are hard to gain, especially at first; it’s best to keep a wide variety of approaches going with your SEO so that you achieve good organic growth and move up the search engine rankings that way.

There you have it! Next time someone asks you “how do search engines work?” you can explain to them without sounding like a geek!

For most small businesses there’s probably no need to ever go much deeper than this. There are many other important matters to attend to with launching a new business – most of which are discussed in the Competition Crusher Workshop. Just click here to learn more about it.

Be enlightened with how search engines work.

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