It is common knowledge that Google is grading websites and rating them according to relevance and usefulness to web searchers. Website developers and search engine optimizers also know that the key elements which dictate the fate of a website as far as Google ranking is concerned are content, website layout, and algorithms. When a website is being constructed, these three things are usually the first concerns that they secure.
Last October 2011 though, a document that was supposedly leaked from Google itself contained the guidelines that their quality reviewers—people Google hires to evaluate and rate websites—are supposed to follow in “grading” websites. For a while everybody in the SEO world was abuzz and excited that the secrets of staying on Google’s good graces are finally out; but it turns out that these “secrets” were in fact not secrets at all and are things that SEO specialists are already aware of.
There is one criterion though that is quite unexpected and often overlooked by SEO specialists. Everyone has always concentrated on website content that we forget about the importance of search queries—more specifically, the nature of search queries.
The leaked Google ranking guidelines shows us that there are four types of search queries. Each of them is identified based on the intent of the Internet user.
Types of Search Queries as Classified by Google
The Google website ranking guidelines listed the following as the different types of search queries their page raters should consider: Know, Go, Do, and the trusty Combination.
Know queries are keyword searches that are interpreted to be merely looking for background information about a topic. These searches are probably the most basic and standard. Imagine how it is when a person tries to learn about a subject that he isn’t familiar with. Wouldn’t he simply type in the name of the person, thing, or title of the concept he wishes to learn about? Once he learns more about the subject then he can go on with a more specific search.
Go queries refer to searches for specific websites or web pages. Most of the time, these are searches for article titles, website names, and even outright domain names. Sometimes there are supporting key phrases included such as “the official website of.”
Do queries are the ones with the intent of actually “doing” something, such as buying an item, playing a game or downloading a media file. Internet users might actually use call to actions along with their main keyword search in order to land the pages they are looking for.
Finally, Combination queries are those that have a bit of two or all three of these search intentions.
How Google’s website raters tell which type of search query a keyword or set of keywords fall into is pretty much based on assumption. On cases wherein it is difficult to identify the type, Google tells its website quality reviewers to simply base their classification on the most popular usage of the word. For instance, the word “apple” is innocent and standard enough, if not for the immense popularity of Apple iPods, iPads, computers, and other related products. This is why if a user types in the word “apple” in the Google search engine, the first entries in the SERPS are all about the company Apple. The more generic websites about that small, red fruit come in second.
Fitting In: The Key to Acquire Multiple Hits and Appearances in Search Queries
So now you know that Google considers the types of search queries first before providing Internet searchers with results on the SERPs. What do you do about it?
Based on the Google document for rating websites, it appears that the four query types serve to filter the websites that will appear in SERPs. It is probable then that a website that fits in more than one of these search query types will appear more often in the SERPs for related keyword searches.
Here are some suggestions on how you can make your website “fit in”:
If your website is mainly informational it is likely going to appear in Know search queries. Why not extend the scope of your website and make Google see that it can also be a relevant result for Do and Go queries?
Make your website more memorable and friendly to Go queries by using a domain name that’s familiar, easy to remember and a commonly-used keyword or key phrase in itself. This is why websites use their names on their domains as well (ex: official websites of famous artists). If you don’t want to use keywords or phrases, work to make your website name known in your niche. For example, fans of the Harry Potter franchise and books instantly recognize the names Mugglenet and Leaky Cauldron, the top fan websites for everything Harry Potter. People who are looking for how-to guides know right away to look for ehow.com.
An easier way to attract Go searchers is to publish articles with catchy and memorable titles. When people find something interesting while randomly searching the Net, they will search for the title of the article or blog entry the next time they want to see it again. With that in mind, having a unique title for the articles you publish will help direct Go searches to your website.
Informational websites will generally be classified as results for Know queries. Why not add pay per click advertisements of related merchandise for sale, or recommend products in strategic locations in your pages? Not only will your website attract Do queries—and therefore qualify for Combination queries as well—it will also have additional income from PPC advertisements and affiliate links.