What Is the Google Algorithm?

How does Google decide who is first in search results? They develop algorithms.

Search engine bots scan the internet every few days, crawling nearly every website. When scanning the internet, search engine algorithms evaluate each website with ranking factors that are meant to help determine the best matches for keyword searches; algorithms are the method that search engines compute the search results.

You can get listed in search results just by using the right keywords, but thousands or even millions of other people are also trying to get their websites listed. Your website might make the list but placed at number 200,139. How many people are going to look that far? None. The further down the list your name appears, the fewer responses you get.

That’s why companies and websites optimize generic or free searches for search engines to get placed higher on the list. Google handles more searches than the other engines, so the Google Algorithm is most important, and sets the standard which most other search engine’s follow.

You’re visiting New York City from New Orleans and looking for some Cajun food after overloading on bagels, Coney Islands and Greek coffee shop dinners. You get your trusty smartphone and type the phrase “Cajun food.” You get thousands of responses that cover every state and include recipes, history lessons and restaurants. Obviously, you’ve chosen a keyword phrase that’s too broad, so you narrow it down to “Cajun restaurants” and eventually to “Cajun restaurants in Manhattan.”

Search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing, DuckDuckGo and others create methods for searching through the vast body of material on the Internet to find what people are looking for through formulas or algorithms. Just matching the words that people type returns all kinds of false results, which most people discover pretty quickly when they search using vague language or imprecise terms.

Refining Search Lists

In the early years of the Internet, consumers would become frustrated when trying to search for anything because the search algorithms worked very literally and didn’t understand the searchers’ real purposes or semantic meanings. Google’s search engine got a jump on its competitors by developing its algorithm or PageRank System. The exact formula for determining rankings is kept secret, but good guesses about Google’s formulas include:

  • Google assigns a score for every result.
  • Content quality, website architecture, coding and design responsiveness all play roles in determining rank.
  • The number of links to other Web pages affects scores.
  • Links from high-ranking pages count more than those from low-ranking pages.
  • Other factors are involved, such as domain name strength, how long the site has been around, age of the links and many others.

Google makes money by selling paid advertising alongside its search returns. These are the shaded recommendations that the company displays with generic results. The company insists that it doesn’t use advertising as a ranking factor for the free part of its search engine returns.

The Google Algorithm works because the company is able to organize results well enough that people keep using Google for their Internet searches. Of course, Google must continually refine its formulas to respond to new trends, make searches smarter as the Internet grows and respond to black hat SEO practitioners who try to hijack the system. Google’s exact formula changes constantly to respond to thousands of outside forces, but the company’s intentions remain simple: delivering content to people that best satisfies their queries opr recommending websites where people can find the products and services they want.

Web Crawlers and Spiders

Automated programs search the Web’s content for links, keyword usage, geographic mentions and other factors from about 150,000,000 websites worldwide, so the task becomes very difficult, especially when fraudsters try to trick the system and hijack viewers. Some information is often repeated for good or bad purposes, and some websites are merely referrals or junk sites.

Keeping track of information is an ongoing process that’s difficult to do, and satisfying consumers and website owners 100 percent of the time is impossible. The Google Algorithm is Google’s formula for making searches better by determining what people really mean when they type keywords in search boxes and finding the websites that are most likely to satisfy those searches.

Penguins and Pandas

Some restaurateurs get frustrated trying to keep up with the swinging pendulum of search results, but remember that a pendulum eventually stops at a defined point in the center. The best strategy for long-term marketing success is avoiding the tricks and supplying what consumers want, which is also true for brick-and-mortar businesses. Google’s frequent algorithm updates have colorful names like Penguin, Panda and Hummingbird, but they’re really just changes in ranking factors.

If people get bad results from searches and get suggestions that don’t fulfill their needs, they aren’t happy and won’t buy products. If people become unhappy with their search engine, they can try another engine that’s more responsive to their point-of-view. For example, businesses, students, consumers, fitness enthusiasts might find a different search engine better at delivering the results.

Google maintains its lead over its competitors by consistently doing a good job across most categories. The company refines its algorithm on a daily basis but major changes in ranking factors usually get a name like “panda” or “penguin.” Lots of early Internet users were able to get better results by repeating keywords multiple times and in multiple articles, but many of these posts weren’t unique material, written very well or useful for answering questions or solving problems. The Panda update dealt with quality issues while the Penguin was dealing with bad, broken or fraudulent links.

Google changes its algorithm quietly between 500 and 600 times per year, so keeping up with every detail isn’t possible. As long as you have high-quality content, fresh updates, responsive design and useful tools for people, your website will attract not only viewers but also mission-critical buyers.

The Google Algorithm is important because Google handles far more searches than any other search engine. Pinpointing exactly what works and what doesn’t and guaranteeing ranking results is basically the work or charlatans and snake-oil salespeople because Google is constantly refining its algorithm to prevent abuses and make Internet searches as fair and accurate as possible.

Restaurants can best guarantee long-term marketing success by providing useful, responsive websites that answer people’s questions and help them find the products and services that they want. If you build and maintain your website to provide good service without wasting people’s time, marketing success will follow.