Day 37: Google loves me, Google loves me not.

Here is a first draft on How Google Chooses Things, aka Become more popular and beloved by robots.

"Why don't I rank higher for ______?"

This is a complicated question. Buckle in for a mini-essay.

Since I don't know when you last checked your ranking, I can't discuss in any detail what may have changed. Google is constantly changing their algorithm for search placements. There are a bunch of factors they consider, from the content itself to mobile-friendliness to site speed to how frequently people link to you. It is a protected algorithm so we (web developers) are all just trying to figure out what they like by testing and changing.

That said, there are some tools that will help, and beyond that some strategic changes we can make to how pages are labelled, what writing you have, the way pictures are labelled, etc.

I can't guarantee top placement, but I can improve your standing on at least a few key pages. Search engine placement is a very deep rabbit hole--it can get expensive and time-consuming to chase a keyword, so it's up to you how much you want to try.

Why do you want to improve it? What will that get you?

Let's talk about that rabbit hole.

You can find stats online claiming a 2% increase in revenue for every place higher in search engine placement you can achieve (I think so anyway). If you're selling widgets, there's a very specific motivation to rank higher in Google--you'll sell more widgets! You've probably done the math: for every 1,000,000 people who see your widget, 1% of them buy. So you want to get there.

For an arts organization, it's often a lot foggier. Two reasons for that: 1) You're not selling widgets, you're furthering your mission. 2) Maybe you haven't really tried quantifying your mission or results. The first point is just a reality of working in the arts. The second point is something I can help you clarify.

Using Google Analytics to track traffic to your website can give you some very concrete detail about how successful you are at reaching people. If you want your blog to be a big driver of community and progress, let's find out how many people are reading (the old butts-in-seats metric). I'd like to put something together about Google Analytics, but that's a while in the future.

So, what will you get if you improve your search placement? You'll get a lot more people clicking on your website after typing in their search query. You want to find people who are looking for you. You don't really want a bunch of randos who stumbled across you. (Pro-tip: Conversion rate of randos is negligible. Not worth throwing money or time after. If you rank highly for some random thing, great, that influences your overall ranking. But it's not worth the effort.)

Next time we'll look closer at long-tail theory, and speaking to computers!

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