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Unraveling the Mystery Behind the Google Algorithm

By, Kevin Einbinder

 Nearly every company with a web presence wants their organization to rank near the top of Google searches for a good reason: a company’s search result ranking has a direct correlation to the number of website visitors. 

 When you look at the statistics, it’s easy to see the lion’s share of clicks are going to the highest ranked search results. Studies have put the traffic share of the first position in a search at around 33%, with the second position getting around 15% of share, 9% going to the third, and steeper drop-offs after the fifth. At minimum, 75% of clicks go to the first page of search results. For valuable information about what a Google rank is worth, visit: https://www.searchenginepeople.com/blog/page-one-whats-google-rank-worth.html

 Background

 Digital marketers knowPageRank is a trademarked algorithm used by Google Search to rank websites in their search engine results. Like most search engines, Google uses automated programs called spiders or crawlers that contain a large index of keywords and where those words can be found. Google uses PageRank to assign a relevancy score to every web page. SEO directly correlates with PageRank because it allows marketers to optimize content for search. 

 Although the Google algorithm is proprietary and ever-changing, research has shown some of the top factors that influence a company’s ranking:

 Content

 Website content is the number one factor that influences your Google ranking. When developing content for your website, keep in mind one of Google’s core philosophies: to provide users with the highest quality and most relevant information. Content influences a variety of other ranking factors, such as bounce rate and click through rate (CTR). To ensure the best ranking results possible, make sure your content is comprehensive, dynamic and relevant to your audience. 

 Mobile-Friendliness 

Since searches on mobile devices have surpassed searches on desktop computers, Google’s algorithm has started to favor sites that offer either responsive design or an entire different site for mobile browsing experiences.

High-Quality Backlinks 

Backlinks, which occur when another website references your webpage via hyperlink, are an important SEO ranking factor that Google’s algorithm takes into consideration. Backlinks are essentially “popularity signals” for the search engine, which means you should strive to maximize the number of backlinks from reputable and high-quality sources and/or related bloggers in your industry. 

When it comes to backlinking, social sharing can help you, too. Although Google has indicated that social media doesn’t affect how your content ranks in a search engine result pages (SERP), the more people who share your content, the more visibility it gets. If another content marketer sees your piece on Facebook and writes something about a similar topic, they may link back to your article.

Load Time 

Load time is another important ranking factor that ties heavily into a good user experience. Desktop websites should load in 3 seconds or less; mobile websites should load in 2 seconds or less. (According to SearchMetrics, the top-ranked mobile websites are approximately one second quicker than their desktop equivalents.)

On-Page SEO

On-page SEO is the practice of optimizing your website’s pages so that they will rank higher on search engines. 

Key factors that improve your on-page SEO include: 

Title tags are what users see on SERPs directly above the page’s URL or on the page’s tab in a browser. 

Header tags are the way you divide up sections of your content in the HTML source code. H1 tags are the most important for your SEO, and they lessen in value up to H6 tags.

URLs that are cleanly structured and incorporate high value keywords, add SEO strength to your page. 

Alt image tags should include your keyword. Placing your keyword in the alt text tag for each image will help improve your on-page SEO.

Domain Authority

Domain authority is a calculated score from 0-100 that tells you how likely a website is to rank on SERPs. 

Factors that Influence Your Domain Authority include:

o The number of total links

o The age of your domain

o The popularity of your domain

o The size of your domain

Lack of Internal Linking

Internal links are hyperlinks in your content that lead back to other pages on your website. They are how Google’s spiders find the high-quality content you are creating. The most important internal links are in your page navigation, but your content should also include relevant internal links. Make sure to integrate internal links into your content to help elevate the ranking potential for all your pages.

Best Practices 

Every two years, Moz, one of the top nation’s software companies for marketing and marketing analytics software subscriptions, surveys the world’s brightest search marketers and runs correlation studies to better understand the workings of search engine algorithms. They gather this data to gain insight into the factors that may help—or hurt—a website’s visibility in search engines. To see their most recent survey, and see how you can optimize your search ranking, visit https://moz.com/blog/local-search-ranking-factors-survey-results-2017

 Final Thoughts

 Ensuring that your organization follows SEO best practices while executing tactics that positively impact your Google ranking will help you stay ahead of the competition. In addition to the recommendations discussed here, other ranking factors are certainly important, and will play a role in your rankings. That’s why it’s important to have a digital marketing strategy that prioritizes which factors will give you the most “bang for your buck” to ensure the highest Google ranking. 

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Kevin Einbinder

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