Google was founded in 1998 and their mission is to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”. They conceived Android, YouTube, Chrome, App playstores, map satellite imaging and many other industry innovations. However, when anyone hears their name, they automatically think about searching for information. Their search engine is an extremely powerful tool and understanding how it works is critical for creating an SEO strategy, which will work for the future.
How does Google work?
Google, like most search engines, uses automated programs called crawlers or spiders. Crawlers follow links around the clock and save every page they find into an index. Like other search engines, Google also maintains a huge index of keywords and knows exactly where each word can be found. What differentiates Google from other search engines is its method of ranking the search results. This method also determines how Google actually displays the results on the SERP (search engine results page). Google has developed and trademarked their own secret algorithm called PageRank, which gives each web page a score for relevancy and determines where it will rank in searches. It is important to understand that when we search on Google, we are searching their own index of the web and not the web itself.
Where a web page is ranked is normally dependent on several key factors. The location and frequency of keywords and phrases are extremely important within each page. If a keyword appears only once within the body of the page text, Google will assign a low score for that particular keyword. The history of the web page is also an important factor. Web pages appear and disappear every day, therefore Google places more value on pages that are well established and have regular content changes. The number of links from other pages are also critical, as Google determines that more links to a site reflect its relevance. Their algorithm also uses an extremely complex set of rules to determine a ranking and which sites to show you when you search for something.
Google’s secret algorithm
There is a minimum of 200 different variables, which Google assesses and uses when a search is requested. The exact way that Google’s ranking algorithm works is a closely guarded secret, however, it does include some known core components. As Google ranks each web page, it analyses links and assigns a score based on the number of links on a page. However, it does not score each link equally as you would expect. It values a link from a relevant page with a high PageRank score and then one with a low PageRank score. Google also has a specific way of mathematically modeling the words contained on any web page. It measures the relevance, length and quality of the page content and also checks if the text has been copied from another page.
Google assigns greater importance to keywords which are in important parts of the page text, such as the title. It judges the number of times the search query words appear on each web page, together with all synonyms and variations. It also assigns less importance to link words such as “the” or “and” and then uses all these factors to determine if, and where, the page will be shown.However, it also cleverly looks at how rare these keywords are and if the search words are not used frequently, then pages containing those words are ranked higher to appear in the search. Google also takes into account the search context and will return relevant pages. For instance, if you search for “Italian restaurants” in the UK, then it will automatically rank pages in the UK highly. It will also take into account which device you are searching from and return relevant results. A phone user will receive restaurants in the immediate vicinity ranked more highly than a desktop user. Google’s search algorithm can also determine your own search history and analyse your internet behaviour, allowing them to deliver your very own personal results.
SEO and Google
Google’s ranking algorithm remains top secret, but many years of experience in search engine optimisation (SEO) has yielded a good idea of its most important areas and factors. SEO is the term used for methods employed to attempt giving a site a high ranking and position in organic (non paid) search results. In order to achieve this, it is important to understand Google’s algorithm and try to build or shape web site body text, keywords and content accordingly. SEO also requires increased visibility to the site by sharing with social media networks and forging relevant links to the text content from external sites.
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Getting your site onto the first search page of Google or other search engines, requires the right content, the right keywords and the right promotion. Compelling, unique and quality content is an essential and valuable tool and should form part of a long-term SEO strategy. Because keywords and phrases are the foundations of other SEO efforts, it is important to ensure that they are highly relevant. They require extensive research and effective placement, particularly in body text, titles and meta tags. One of the biggest challenges is writing content that is optimized for search engines, but will also appeal to the end user. You can access help from our quality SEO content creation and keyword services. Use our experienced Internet copy writers and boost your web marketing impact and search engine rankings quickly. Contact us today or check out the results we have obtained for our existing customers.