Understanding the Google Algorithm

Google is continually adjusting their algorithm that determines how search results appear in their search engine. They often make small tweaks that usually go unnoticed, but other times they make major updates that can have a large impact on search results. For businesses that monitor their search rankings, they may notice a significant rise or fall in their overall rankings during these core algorithm updates. In fact, Google recently rolled out a broad core algorithm update the beginning of August. Sometimes the company will announce these updates, while other times they go unannounced.

We want to provide some basic information about Google and how they determine their search results. Hopefully this will help you better understand how to market your website for better rankings in search.

Google AlgorithmWhat is the Google Algorithm?
This is the question all online marketers would like to know! Google’s algorithm is basically their formula for how search results are rendered. The specifics of their algorithm are only known to the employees of Google who work on this complex formula.

According to Google, they want to provide online searchers with answers, not billions of web pages. So, the goal of their algorithm is to help searchers find the information they are seeking quickly and easily. Google sorts through billions of web pages in their search index to provide useful and relevant results in a fraction of a second.

How does the Algorithm Work?
Google’s ranking systems are not based on one large algorithm but a series of algorithms that are used to analyze what the searcher is looking for and the best results to return to the searcher. Here are some of the ways Google uses search algorithms to return useful information from the web:

  • Analyzing words – Understanding the meaning of your search is crucial for returning good answers. This involves deciphering what strings of words they should look up in the index to understanding the category of information the searcher is looking for (specific or broad information).
  • Matching search – Google looks for web pages with information that matches your query. They analyze how often and where key words appear on a page (titles, heading, body of text) and if the page contains relevant content.
  • Ranking useful pages – For a typical query, there are thousands or even millions of web pages with potentially relevant information. Google analyzes several factors to provide the best information. This can include freshness of content, number of times your search terms appear and whether the page has a good user experience. Google also assesses the trustworthiness and authority of a site based on quality backlinks from prominent websites on the subject.
  • Considering context – Extra information like your location, past search history and search settings help tailor the results to what is most useful and relevant to you at the moment.
  • Returning the best results – Google further evaluates how all the relevant information fits together. They try to provide a diverse set of information in formats that are most helpful for each type of search.

Why is the Algorithm Updated?
As the Internet continues to evolve, Google also evolves with their ranking systems to deliver the best results for more queries. Google also strives to eliminate spam sites – those that try to game their way to the top of search results with techniques like keyword stuffing or buying links for better page rank. Google writes algorithms to identify spam and remove these sites from showing in search results.

The exact specifics of how the Google Algorithm works is a mystery to most of us. However, by understanding the basics of what the search engine looks for, we can better build and optimize websites for higher rankings and therefore greater traffic.

For help with optimizing your website for search engines like Google, you can contact us. Our marketing team will work with your business to get you noticed online. Give us a call today to get started: 717-589-7812.