How does the Google search algorithm work, and how can you ensure your content is aligned? This article is here to answer these questions.
Table of contents
What Is the Google Search Algorithm?
The Google search algorithm is the internal procedure that Google uses to rank content. It takes several elements into account when deciding these rankings. There are factors such as the relevancy and quality of the content against a specific search query.
Before we go deeper into these factors, it’s a good idea first to understand the broader context of the Google ranking procedure.
This method is divided into three stages:
- Crawling: The first stage involves Google’s bots crawling the web and looking for new or updated web pages.
- Indexing: Google’s next step is to analyze the URLs and determine what each page is about. It does so by looking closely at the content, images, and other media files on the page and then saves this information in a massive database known as the Google index.
- Serving: The final step is determining which pages are the most relevant and helpful for a particular search query. This is known as the ranking stage.
How Does the Google Search Algorithm Function?
The answer is that nobody knows outside Google’s inner circle.
There are two reasons for this. Firstly, the algorithm is a business secret, and releasing it would greatly diminish the company’s value.
More importantly, if the algorithm was made public, anyone could exploit it and doctor the system in their favor. This would make unhelpful search results for users and — given the influence and importance of Google as an online tool — undoubtedly make a worse internet.
What Are the Major Ranking Factors in the Google Search Algorithm?
According to what Mueller and Google have said, we can look at some of the significant factors the algorithm takes into account and how they can be applied to your SEO strategy.
1. Meaning and Intent
Within Google’s search algorithm, understanding and explaining the meaning and intent of the search query is the essential first step. The mechanisms that allow this are, again, a secret, but we know that it will enable the search engine to understand:
- The scope of the query. Is the searcher searching for results around a broader topic, such as “how to get into gardening,” or a particular one, like which gardening tool should be used for a specific task?
- Synonyms. This system took five years to make and lets Google understand.
- Language. If the search question is written in English, does that mean the searcher desires the results in English?
- Locality. Is the searcher searching for local business information, such as the opening hours of their nearest McDonald’s, or are they looking for information about McDonald’s?
- Freshness. If the searcher is searching for, say, Tesla’s stock price or the latest Premier League scores, then Google can solve that only the most up-to-date information will be helpful.
Once the Google search algorithm has comprehended the meaning and purpose of the query, it then looks at the Google index to specify which pages offer the most relevant answer. This is where on-page SEO is necessary. It is one of the most fundamental signals of ranking and is mostly referred to as “relevance”.
In the last few years, Mueller has created many references to the concept of quality as a ranking factor. Since 2019, Google has implemented detailed guidelines to give SEOs and content marketers a precise idea of what it “likes.”
We suggest concentrating on ensuring you’re offering the best content you can. SEO services can only improve your rankings when you produce great content.
4. User Experience
According to Google, its algorithm looks to boost more usable pages over less usable ones, primarily where it identifies “persistent user pain points.”
That means that the search algorithm gives preference to sites that:
- Load and appear ideally on various web browsers.
- Are compatible with multiple device types and sizes (i.e., desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and mobile phones)
- Feature fast loading times, even for users with slow internet speeds.
Google usually warns webmasters about any significant updates that may happen. It also provides several tools to aid them measure and boosting their site’s usability and performance.
Google has ensured that its UX metrics — known as the Core Web Vitals — are a ranking element, with Mueller stating in 2021 that “it’s more than a tie-breaker in google search algorithm, but it also doesn’t replace relevance.”
This is the reason why any digital marketing company starts with UX; it has to be done no matter what.
This ranking element is closely connected to relevance but also takes into account the personal context and settings of the searcher.
For instance, if someone in the US searches for “today’s football results,” they will probably see the American Football (i.e., NFL) results for that day. Nevertheless, if someone in the UK searches for the same thing, they will likely see the soccer (i.e., Premier League) results.
As you can see, it’s questioning to get an exact idea of what exactly Google’s search algorithm gives precedence to, and that algorithm is often subject to change, anyway. By having a clear understanding of Google algorithms you can always drive more traffic to your blog.
The good news is that Google is open with its guidance and advice. It also provides more and more information on its social media channels. Digital marketing services are all based on experience and information like this.