When people initially think of search engines, what comes to mind?
But since the past few years, understanding Google has been more difficult than mysteries of the black hole.
So, if you provide SEO services in Pakistan or just starting your small business and want to increase organic website traffic, in this easy-to-understand guide, I will talk about Google's search algorithm and how it works.
We must first know that Google's algorithm is made up of more than 200 ranking factors, and understanding all of them isn't possible.
Let's begin with the very basic query.
Google's search algorithm helps your users find the most relevant results to their search queries. It controls the "organic" or "natural" search results and decides which web pages should rank on the first page of Google’s SERPs.
For instance: If you search "SEO experts in Pakistan," Google will not show you an SEO guide or latest SEO trends, but rather, you will get organic results about SEO agencies in Pakistan.
To figure out how the search engine itself works, you need to understand some basic terminologies:
PageRank is the name of Google's algorithm, named after Larry Page, the co-founder of Google.
PageRank works by analyzing the number and quality of links to a page to determine how relevant it is with other pages.
The final thing I'll mention before getting into specifics around how it actually works is that when you search for something on Google, the results you are shown are called "hits."
The PageRank algorithm affects how the search engine ranks web pages in its index. The score that makes up the PageRank is directly related to link counts and can be referred to as backlinks.
In using the Google algorithm to achieve this feat, the data they collect from users is used to build an understanding of how humans interact with search results.
Many functions go into building this algorithm, and Google engineers are continually updating it to provide the best search results possible.
Google is a search engine that relies mainly on three functions:
The crawling involves operations of Google search engine spiders, which automatically crawl the Internet to find web pages for Google to index. The process of finding pages to be indexed is known as "spidering" or "crawling."
Spiders are designed to follow all the hyperlinks on a webpage and to find web pages referenced in the content of websites.
When a Google Spider finds a new webpage, it will retrieve it and analyze the content. The analysis involves parsing.
Parsing is the process of analyzing a webpage's content and extracting out all of its major components - such as header tags, paragraphs, images, and links.
After crawling, Google web pages are indexed and stored in a large database. Indexing is the process of mapping an HTML document with information about its associations.
Indexing allows for quick access to relevant pages when a user performs a search. After the indexing is complete, pages will be stored and accessed quickly, resulting in quick retrieval of relevant information.
It functions as a basis for maintaining a high-quality directory on the Internet. The ranking is the process of examining each webpage's content based on its relevance to the search term.
Search terms are words or phrases used to look for information in the large index of documents that Google has indexed. The higher a page's relevance to a search term, the higher it will be ranked.
So, what kinds of factors does the Google Search algorithm take into account?
Let's find out!
As we spoke earlier, Google has over 200 different ranking factors that they use to rank websites.
These range from backlinks and keywords on a web page to social media signals. They are constantly changing and updating these factors because Google wants any given search query results to be highly accurate and user-friendly.
Google’s Ranking Factors Ranked based on Importance
Many people talk about link building as if it is all you need to do to provide SEO services in Lahore.
This could not be further from the truth!
There are many other important factors than just backlinks, so don't get caught up in this single issue and apply a wholesome SEO strategy to boost your website’s ranking on the SERPs:
The content of your webpage will play a significant role in how high or low you rank in organic (i.e., unpaid) search results for specific keywords or phrases; consider what users are looking for and what you are providing them with.
Google attaches a great deal of relevance to the quality of the content on a page. If it finds that certain pages are less useful than others, it will rank them lower.
Your website's loading speed will affect your ranking, as Google wants to provide the best user experience possible. If people have a bad experience waiting for your site to load up, they’d get annoyed, and that’s something Google does not want for its users.
It definitely won't help you rank higher if people can't even access your page quickly enough; consider using caching plugins like W3 Total Cache to make sure your website loads as fast as possible!
Social signals are what they sound like. They are metrics used to measure the social activity of a website or domain. A social signal is an indication that search engines can use to rank a page higher in organic rankings.
The number of shares, likes, and overall visibility on social media contributes to the overall ranking of your web page on search engines, given that you have integrated social media with your website. It also helps to get backlinks from other websites, signaling Google about the authenticity of the page.
Next, algorithms analyze the content of web pages to assess whether they are relevant.
The most basic signal is when a webpage contains keywords similar or identical in meaning to the related query.
Google also focuses on the user intent to rank a website for a particular query.
For instance, if a user searches for Apple products and your page talks about apple (the fruit) and its nutrients, Google will not rank you for the query since the user intent is about the Apple brand and not the fruit.
Google is clever, isn’t it?
Meaning of the query
To return relevant results, Google must understand what the user is asking. For example, when a user searches for "SEO agencies in Pakistan," Google would try to provide search results with web pages about the SEO agencies that provide services in Pakistan rather than any blog about the importance of SEO.
Google tries to find usable pages. It removes listings from its results that have very little or no text on them. Google algorithm also checks the speed of the particular page and whether the page appears correctly on every browser like desktop, mobile, tablets. These factors signal Google whether the page will provide any benefits to the users or not.
Context and settings
Google has several different search modes, like the user's past search history, search setting, and location to determine what kind of page a user would prefer. The most important ranking models include:
But how exactly do users interact with search results that appear in the SERP? That’s where Google AI comes to work.
Google now uses RankBrain, an AI (Artificial Intelligence) that learns how users interact with search results and then determines whether or not those results are relevant to their query. The RankBrain is part of the Google Hummingbird algorithm.
How Does Google Crawlers Work?
Crawler-based algorithms can be a bit more complex than others. Crawler-based algorithms attempt to identify and rank the content of a webpage in an algorithmic fashion. The primary goal is to provide each page with its appropriate ranking based on the page's content.
Google's search engine crawls and stores information from billions of web pages on the Internet. Google has to rank all these pages somehow.
The ranking is important because it determines whether you will appear on the first page of Google search results or somewhere further down.
Google ranks pages by learning which websites are important and authoritative, based on which sites other people link to - the backlinking.
It uses sophisticated text analysis tools to determine what a website is about, how popular it is with other users, where it is hosted, keywords used, etc.
Google detects which pages are more or less important than others and assigns a weight of trust to them. It does with the help of quality score factors.
There is a lot of debate surrounding the quality score and how it impacts the SERPs you rank. Still, according to experts, the QS is an estimate of the quality of your landing page based on how well it matches the query and the usefulness of the actual content on the page.
Google algorithm updates have a huge impact on how well a website ranks in Google search results.
But why does Google release so many algorithm updates? Google knows that many users find easy ways to rank their websites with unethical means like the black art of SEO.
That's why Google keeps updating its algorithm. The purpose of a Google algorithm update is to improve the search results for its users.
Check this report from Moz to understand the history of Google algorithm changes till now.
Google updates its algorithm regularly - about once a day. However, this is not always true as they can happen more often or less frequently depending on how active engineers at Google are regarding tweaking their SEO rankings.
So, these are some of the major factors and technical considerations that answer how Google algorithm works. If you are starting out as an SEO expert in Pakistan, follow these essential points to stand out from others in ranking your clients’ business.