In the movie Contact, there is a scene in which Jodie Foster is attempting to decipher a message sent across the galaxy, from another civilization. Her rich benefactor calls her from the space station, and gives her a clue. The clue is to think like a Vegan, and what he means is to think like the civilization that is sending Jodie Foster the message, rather than to think like the humans who are receiving the message.
It’s a fancy way of saying: attempt to look at the world from the perspective of someone else.
How does this relate to search engine optimization? It relates in the fashion that one must think like Google to manipulate Google. In many situations, we do not have access to the actual data of the Google algorithm, nor the thought process of those brilliant engineers at Google, who are constantly improving the Google search engine. However, if we think about it, we can attempt to see the world from their perspective, and to hypothesize about the factors that they might look at to distinguish between and rank various websites vis-à-vis target searches.
Think Like Google to Manipulate Google
Here’s an example. Suppose Google is attempting to differentiate between two pizza restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area. Both have very well optimize websites, targeting the phrase pizza San Francisco. However, one has three reviews on Google plus, and one has 17 reviews. If you were a Google engineer, tweaking the Google algorithm to return the best match for a search query such as pizza San Francisco, wouldn’t it stand to reason that the website that has 17 reviews is better than the website that has only three? This is an example of thinking like Google.
Once you think like Google, then you can realize what you need to do. In this case, get reviews!
Another example is the famous Panda update. Google has a problem: many websites have a plethora of content on various topics. How is Google to judge which content is better than the other content? One way is to simply look at the grammar of the content, and to look at the related words. If someone is writing about pizza in San Francisco, then it stands to reason that they will also write with words such as San Francisco Bay Area, Emeryville, Berkeley, as well as words like Italian food, or catering. Panda, essentially, is an update that looks at related words, and also looks at things like good grammar.
Use Good Grammar and Beat Google at its Own Game: Panda
If we think like Google, then we can realize that we should use good grammar. You don’t really have to even do much research to realize that Google is going to reward websites that use good grammar! If you were a Google engineer, wouldn’t it be easy to check the grammar of websites? Of course it would! Our take away is to realize that we should use good grammar, and try to create quality content.
In so many ways, if you just attempt to think like Google, you can navigate the darkness of search engine optimization. You’ll be able to see the landmarks and the lighthouse says that Google engineers will look to to judge which website is better than the other.
Think like Google. You’ll be glad you did.