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How does a Google search work?
We are going to try and explain how Google ranks websites and how their process has changed over time.
There are many search engines out there ranking websites, but a Google search is far and away the most popular, claiming approximately 65% of searches around the globe.
What is the Google algorithm?
Google’s algorithm is series of complex computer programs used to rank websites and determine which ones to display in Search Engine Results Pages — better known as “SERPs.”
A SERP is a page shown by a search engine in response to a query made by someone. A Google search sends out bots or automated web crawlers to scan every website around the world to understand what they are about and determine where to display them in results pages.
The goal of Google’s algorithm is simple…to provide every single person who performs a search with an ordered list of the most relevant websites for their query.
How does Google decide how to rank sites?
The algorithm itself is a top secret formula that Google updates all the time. As they develop ways to better rank websites and show the results that will most help searchers, their algorithm changes. While no one knows exactly which factors Google takes into consideration or how much weight each one is given, we do know that they look at the following aspects to rank websites:
- Quality of the website content
- Freshness of content and how often site is updated
- Number and quality of websites linking to site
- Keywords/terms used in the site
- Age of website
- Location of searcher and business
- Amount of time that people spend on the website (also known as “time on page”)
All of this essentially means that there is a lot you can do on your website to boost your SEO.
How often does the algorithm change?
Google makes over 600 changes to its algorithm in a year and this means that the ranking of websites evolves all the time. As a website owner, you can find yourself in first place one day and third the next. To keep your place, you want to continually update your site and create interesting, fresh content.
Penguins and Hummingbirds
While small changes happen daily, every so often Google significantly updates their algorithm. When this occurs, they usually let the world know with a formal announcement. Historically, new versions have each been christened with the name of an animal. Think pandas, penguins and hummingbirds.
You simply need to focus on creating a site that helps visitors, answers their questions, and provides them what they are looking for. Do this well and your users will love your site, spend a long time on it, and share it with their friends. Build up your traffic and Google, too, will start to take note. Before long, you’re sure to start rising the ranks!