75% of all the searches happen in the Google search engine; the only reason being it provides the most relevant search results in a fraction of a second. Google achieves this using an algorithm called the ‘Google Search Algorithm’.
The ‘Google Search Algorithm’ uses not one but about 200 factors to display the most relevant results for your search query. The weight given to each of these factors varies according to your query. E.g. “Freshness of content” is considered a significant factor when the query refers to a current event.
The search algorithm is how Google finds, ranks, and displays relevant results.
In this blog, I will focus on the significant factors that will help in understanding ‘How the Google Search Algorithm works’ and how search results are returned for your query.
Getting started, Google first attempts to understand the meaning of your query: the language, the intent and the category of the information required.
At first, the system cracks the language and the key strings in your query. It then checks whether the key strings in the query are too specific or the results could also have pages with the related keywords.
E.g. For the above search query, Google also displays the results of pages containing the keywords “Build” “Make Website” & “Develop.”
The Google Search Algorithm then identifies the intent of the query.
E.g. The word ‘Get’ in the below example has different intents when used in different sentences. Google identifies the different intentions for this keyword and brings the related page results for each in a flash.
An important factor that the Google Search Algorithm tracks are the freshness of the query. Google identifies if the query requires up-to-date content or not. E.g. When you search for cricket scores, Google displays the scores of the latest matches, the same is not the case when it comes to a search query like ‘Capital of Punjab’.
Once the intent, the category and the meaning of your query are identified, Google Search Algorithm tries to find the relevant page results for your query.
To start with, it identifies those pages that contain the same keywords present in the query. Beyond keyword matching, Google also looks out if the page provides an answer/solution to the query.
E.g. The page result just contains the keyword 100 times, it does not solve the user’s query. Relevance is not only about the no of times the keywords appear in your pages but the relevance of the page content.
The goal is to provide users with the most relevant and most useful content on the internet. The Google search algorithm focuses on the quality of the content.
To determine the quality of the content, the Google Search Algorithm uses what is known as ‘Page Ranking’. Page rank is a way to assess the importance of website pages. Page rank identifies pages that demonstrate trustworthiness, expertise and authority.
The google page rank algorithm rates each page in a band of 0-10. The important pages get a better score as compared to the ones that are not important. Page rank works based on the no. of backlinks. A page containing a lot of backlinks tends to rank higher on all major search engines including Google. There are two processes involved in backlinking.
Earning Backlinks and giving backlinks
Earning backlinks is very important. Backlinks represent a “vote of confidence” for your website. The higher the no of inbound backlinks to your site, the higher is the trust factor for your site. Some backlinks provide more credit than others. This depends on the page-authority of the site. The higher the popularity and the trustworthiness of the site that links to your site, the higher is the credit for that backlink.
Note: Links from spamming and low-authority sites are more harmful than being useful to your site. If your not sure of the page authority of the website you are linking to, you can add a no-follow tag to your backlink. A no- follow tag does not add any value to your backlinks, but the tag is used to link to an unreliable source.
Just as inbound links to your website helps in SEO the links you create to another website also adds value to On-page SEO. The anchor text and the page authority of the page you link to also determine the quality of your backlink.
Usability of the pages
Google tracks the ease of use of these pages: the readability, the loading time, the mobile responsiveness and the performance in different browsers.
Some of the factors to be considered for improving the readability of your content.
1. Keep your article short and concise and provide all the information on the top.
2. Make use of the header tags to indicate the headings and sub-headings. The header tags can also be used to highlight the keywords in your text.
3. Use colors and images.
Mobile responsiveness: With about 60% of the website traffic coming from mobiles, responsive design is no more an innovation but a mandate. As Google is built for users who search the web it favours those sites that are optimized for mobile browsing as it meets the needs of global users.
Note: Test your site’s responsiveness for different browsers. Not all people in the internet world use internet explorer to browse. Also, optimize the loading time for your pages. Loading time can be reduced by optimizing cache, redirection and minimizing the size of the images.
This blog provides all the information on how the Google search algorithm works and displays the page results. Understanding the algorithm will help in crafting SEO plans for your website to top the search results. Some of the website builders provide a built-in SEO tool which makes it easier for your businesses to set up the SEO.
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