What is Google algorithm?
Google search algorithm is a complex system that allows Google to find, rank and return the most relevant pages for a certain search query.
To be precise, the whole ranking system consists of multiple algorithms that consider various factors such as quality, relevance or usability of the page.
How does Google search algorithm work?
Here’s a short video that explains how Google Search works:
There are many factors that come into play.
We’ll go through 5 major areas (officially listed by Google) that influence what results will be returned for a certain query:
1. Meaning of the query
To return relevant results, Google must understand what exactly is the user searching for and what’s his search intent.
They must understand and assess various things:
- Meaning of the words – what exactly do the used words mean in the natural language?
- Search intent behind the query – what does the user wants by using the particular query – definition, review, purchase, finding a specific website?
- The need for the freshness of content – is the query time-sensitive and requires fresh information?
Sometimes it’s pretty straightforward. If someone uses the search query “buy new iPhone“, it’s pretty clear in all the aspects – meaning, intent and the need for freshness.
But sometimes, especially with general queries, it’s hard to understand what exactly the user meant. In these cases, Google shows what it considers to be the best results but offers additional choices that help to specify the search results.
For example, look at this disambiguation for the keyword “rock”:
An example of a search results disambiguation.
2. The relevance of pages
Secondly, the search engine has to find what pages are relevant to the search query. In other words – to find the pages that answer the user’s search query in the best way possible.
It does so by regular crawling and indexing of all the websites on the internet and analyzing their content.
The key role is played by keywords. If the search query and the phrases that are related to the search query appear on the page, there’s a high chance the page is relevant for the user.
3. Quality of content
There are likely millions of pages for each search query, so Google has to prioritize the ones that offer quality content and demonstrate:
One of the key elements is the so-called PageRank algorithm that takes into account the quality and quantity of links pointing to a page.
PageRank algorithm (not to be confused with an obsolete PageRank metric from Google Toolbar) is one of many algorithms that are part of Google’s ranking system.
PageRank is a numeric value assigned to each page to help prioritize the search results.
It is based on an assumption that more important pages are likely to receive more backlinks from other authoritative websites.
If you look at the image above, you can see that there are 3 main factors that influence the PageRank of a page:
- quantity of backlinks
- quality (PageRank) of the linking page
- number of links on the linking page
To put it simply: The more backlinks from quality pages you get, the higher is the chance that Google will consider you a high-quality page.
If you want to learn more about PageRank, read our post on this topic – Google PageRank: What it is and why it’s still relevant for SEO
Furthermore, Google uses a number of spam algorithms that detect low-quality pages trying to rank using spammy black-hat SEO techniques.
4. Usability of pages
Now that Google covered the relevance and quality of content, they have to make sure the website has good usability and user-friendliness.
This includes technical aspects such as:
- Page responsiveness
- Correct appearance in all the browsers
- Page speed
- Security of the website
These may not be the most important factors but they are certainly taken into account when other factors (like relevance and quality) are equal.
Note: Google incorporates more and more page experience signals into their ranking algorithms over time.
For example, the so-called Core Web Vitals, “a set of metrics related to speed, responsiveness and visual stability”, were incorporated into the algorithm as ranking signals in 2021.
5. Context and settings
Last but not least, the search results are heavily influenced by the individual circumstances and preferences of the user.
These may include things like:
- Location of the user
- History of searches
- Search settings
Here’s a typical example of the impact of location on the search results – the results for the keyword “football” in the United States vs. the United Kingdom:
Google Search Quality Raters
Besides the algorithms and machine learning systems (like RankBrain), Google also uses input in the form of feedback from real people.
Google hires thousands of external employees – Search Quality Raters – to evaluate the actual search results and rate the quality of the ranked pages.
Her’s how Google explains how they use the data:
It’s important to note that this rating does not directly impact how this page or site ranks in Search. Nobody is deciding that any given source is “authoritative” or “trustworthy.” […]
Instead, ratings are a data point that, when taken in aggregate, helps us measure how well our systems are working to deliver great content…
So Quality Raters don’t influence the results and rankings directly butthe data gathered from the raters are used to improve the Google algorithm.
Note: Search Quality raters follow strict rating rules summed up in a 200-page PDF called Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines.
It is publicly available and can serve as a useful source of information on how to create quality pages.
A screenshot from the Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines intro.
If you’re interested in this topic, read this interview with a Google Search Quality Rater on Search Engine Land.
In general, we can divide Google algorithm updates into two categories:
- Minor updates
- Core updates
Google tweaks its algorithm quite often.
And by quite often we mean several times a day. Most of these changes are very small and people don’t notice them.
Besides these small updates, Google rolls a couple of big core algorithm updates every year. These usually create a lot of buzz in the SEO community and often get catchy names.
Most important core algo updates
Here’s a list of the most well-known algo updates in the last decade that shaped the way Google algorithm works:
Google Panda is a filter focused on low-quality pages, thin content, keyword stuffingand duplicate content. It was incorporated into the core algorithm in 2016 and rolls out regularly.
An important algorithm update that focused on any kind of manipulative (low-quality, spammy, irrelevant, over-optimized) links.
Hummingbird update improved the way Google understands and interprets search queries; a shift from exact keywords to topics
Pigeon focused on the improvement of the local results both in terms of quality and accuracy.
Mobile Update (2015)
This update is also known as Mobilegeddon in the SEO community. It favors mobile-friendly pages in mobile search results.
As mentioned earlier, RankBrain is a machine-learning component of Google’s Hummingbird algorithm that helps provide more relevant search results.
Fred is an unconfirmed update that seemed to focus on low-quality, ad-centered content that violates Google Search Quality Guidelines.
A broad core algorithm update that heavily affected the so-called YMYL (your money your life) pages, especially health-related content.
Another machine learning algorithm focused on a better understanding of the context of a search query. It is based on the natural language processing model called BERT.
Each broad core algorithm update usually leads to a wide variety of speculations and discussions on SEO social media groups and forums.
Since 2020, Google tends to prevent the naming of the big algorithm updates by the SEO community by announcing their names in advance:
Tomorrow, we are releasing a broad core algorithm update, as we do several times per year. It is called the June 2019 Core Update. Our guidance about such updates remains as we’ve covered before. Please see this tweet for more about that:https://t.co/tmfQkhdjPL(Video) Important Algorithms in Google | Google Algorithms | Google Search Algorithms | Latest SEO Course|#5
— Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) June 2, 2019
What to do if you’ve been hit by a Google algorithm update?
- Be patient – Most core updates roll out for several days, so it’s always good to wait till the dust settles down. Rushing into “quick fixes” can do more harm than good.
- Rely on trusted sources – Do not trust every forum “expert” with “100% verified” advice you’ll find (there are many of them). Instead, wait for analyses by trusted experts and publications like Search Engine Journal or Moz.
- Make sure you need a fix – Sometimes, the best thing to do after you’ve been hit by an algo update is doing nothing. Many updates are slightly improved or reverted after a couple of weeks so make sure you don’t fix things that don’t need to be fixed.
- Improve – Last but not least, if you realize that there’s a problem on your website that may have been the reason for your drops in rankings, it’s time to fix it. Or, maybe re-think your whole SEO strategy to focus more on quality rather than quantity.
What are the top SEO ranking factors in 2022? ›
- High quality content.
- On-page SEO & Technical Health.
- Useful backlinks.
- Digital accessibility and site architecture.
- Load speed.
- Security - HTTPS.
- Schema markup.
- Improve your website's user experience. ...
- Write great content optimized for SEO. ...
- Get more backlinks. ...
- Improve your page speed. ...
- Fix broken links. ...
- Optimize your images. ...
- Use H1 and H2 header tags. ...
- Optimize for local search.
The term “Ranking Factors” describes the criteria applied by search engines when evaluating web pages in order to compile the rankings of their search results.What really influences a Google ranking the top 15 factors? ›
- Backlinks. In Google's eyes, each link that you gain back to your website is like a vote of confidence. ...
- Page Speed. ...
- User-Friendliness. ...
- Content Depth. ...
- Mobile-Friendliness. ...
- Authority. ...
- Social Signals. ...
- Content Accuracy.
- Step #1: Improve Your On-Site SEO.
- Step #2: Add LSI Keywords To Your Page.
- Step #3: Monitor Your Technical SEO.
- Step #4: Match Your Content to Search Intent.
- Step #5: Reduce Your Bounce Rate.
- Step #6: Find Even Keywords to Target.
- Step #7: Publish Insanely High-Quality Content.
You might already know that Google uses over 200 ranking factors in their algorithm… But what are they, exactly? Well, you're in for a treat because I've put together a complete list. Some are proven.How many Google ranking factors are there? ›
Did you know that there are over 200 Google ranking factors? Google is by far the most popular search engine on the planet. It dominates other search engines like Bing and Yahoo with over 5.14 billion searches taking place on Google each day. So, it's no surprise that you'd want to rank higher in Google search results.What are the five methods in which Google use in order to determine what search results you get? ›
- a) Divide and Conquer Algorithm:
- b) Dynamic Programming Algorithms:
- c) Greedy Algorithm:
- d) Backtracking Algorithm:
A broad core algorithm update is a change to Google's “core,” or overall, search ranking algorithm and systems. Google's core algorithm is actually a collection of algorithms that interpret signals from webpages (e.g., keywords, links, etc.), with the goal of ranking the content that best answers a search query.
What are the 5 SEO factors? ›
Top 5 On Page SEO Factors
- On Page SEO Factor 1 – Keyword Research: ...
- On Page SEO Factor 2 – URL Optimization: ...
- On Page SEO Factor 3 – Meta Tags: ...
- On Page SEO Factor 4 – Header Tags: ...
- On Page SEO Factor 5 – Content Optimization:
- Use Keywords In The Right Places.
- Keep Users On Your Site Longer.
- Find “Suggest” Keywords.
- Delete Zombie Pages.
- Do An Industry Study.
- Add Related Keywords to Your Content.
- Add Text to Infographics, Podcasts and Videos.
- Update Old Pages.
- Enter complete data. Local results favor the most relevant results for each search. ...
- Verify your locations. ...
- Keep your hours accurate. ...
- Manage & respond to reviews. ...
- Add photos. ...
- Add in-store products. ...
- Relevance. ...
- Keyword strategy + implementation.
- UI/UX optimization.
- Site speed improvements.
- Content management.
- Backlinking and influencer outreach.
- Use the tabs. ...
- Use quotes. ...
- Use a hyphen to exclude words. ...
- Use a colon to search specific sites. ...
- Find a page that links to another page. ...
- Use the asterisk wildcard. ...
- Find sites that are similar to other sites. ...
- Use Google search to do math.
- Ahrefs: SEO Keyword Tool.
- Google Search Console: Top SEO Tool.
- SEMRush: Marketing SEO Tools.
- KWFinder: SEO Keyword Tool.
- Moz Pro: SEO Software.
- Ubersuggest: Keyword Tracking Tool.
- Answer The Public: Free SEO Tools.
- SpyFu: Free SEO Tools.
To give you the most useful information, Search algorithms look at many factors and signals, including the words of your query, relevance and usability of pages, expertise of sources, and your location and settings. The weight applied to each factor varies depending on the nature of your query.What is SEO and its key factors? ›
On-page SEO, which is sometimes called on-site SEO, is the process of tweaking a page's content, tags, and internal links to improve search visibility and increase traffic. In other words, it's a means of optimizing your website to help search engines better understand your website.What are the 200 factors of Google ranking? ›
- Is Inner Page.
- Number of Top 50 Shared Factors Used.
- Number of Top 100 Shared Ranking Factors Used.
- Number of Entity Keywords Used.
- Search Result Has Publish Date.
- Number of Ranking Factors Used.
- Number of Top 200 Shared Ranking Factors Used.
- Keywords in the HTML Tag.
- To follow Google Webmaster SEO Quality Guidelines.
- A website reputation for publishing original, useful and relevant content.
- A satisfying user-friendly page experience for visitors from search.
What are the factors that will affect your Google advertising ranking? ›
Ad Rank is calculated using your bid amount, your auction-time ad quality (including expected clickthrough rate, ad relevance, and landing page experience), the Ad Rank thresholds, the competitiveness of an auction, the context of the person's search (for example, the person's location, device, time of search, the ...How can I improve my Google ranking fast? ›
- Start With A Sound Foundation. Poor website structure and information architecture can doom even the best SEO campaigns. ...
- Deliver A Great Page Experience. ...
- Optimize Your Pages For Google. ...
- Optimize For Search Intent. ...
- Optimize Internal Links.
- Keyword research. Keyword research lays the foundation for optimizing your site. ...
- Site structure. ...
- SEO content audit. ...
- Content creation, optimization, and on-page SEO. ...
- Link earning. ...
- Social media. ...
- Track performance.
- How to Improve Your Organic Search Engine Optimization Efforts ...
- Target Keywords That Match Intent. ...
- Don't Be Afraid of Low or Zero-Volume Keywords. ...
- Build Topical Authority with a Hub-and-Spoke Content Strategy. ...
- Consolidate Pages with Similar Content. ...
- Refresh Old Content for a Boost.
- Prioritize User Experience (UX) ...
- Generate 10x Content. ...
- Clean Up Your Links. ...
- Reach Out to Leading Sites for Backlinks. ...
- Optimize for Mobile. ...
- Put Relevance First Before Optimization. ...
- Find an Alternative to Google AdWords.
What is the Trust Factor? Google's trust factor is a combination of many factors that they use to apply a value of how trustful a site is. The more trustful a site is seen the more likely its articles will be ranked higher on specific Google searches.How many 5 star reviews do I need Google? ›
Your goal should be to get to a 5 star overall score as fast as possible. To do that, you'll need 25 more 5-star reviews. And when google updates your review score you will have 5 stars.Who is #1 Google ranking expert? ›
Expert in Google SEO Ranking, which means Zammy Zaif make your website rank #1 in google search engine result pages.How many factors are there in SEO? ›
Organic rankings on Google are determined by an algorithm that takes into account various characteristics and SEO metrics —and these are your ranking factors. There are over 200 Google ranking factors, and while we will never know all of them, we do know many.What are the main 4 elements of content that Google wants? ›
Good content has four elements:
- Relevant. People want content relevant to their interests. ...
- Intellectual. ...
- Sensorial. ...
What are the top 5 most commonly used search engine prove your answer? ›
According to statistics from Netmarketshare, Statista and StatCounter, the top 5 search engines worldwide in terms of market share are Google, Bing, Yahoo, Baidu, and Yandex.What determines what comes up first on Google? ›
Googlebot uses an algorithmic process to determine which sites to crawl, how often, and how many pages to fetch from each site. Google's crawlers are also programmed such that they try not to crawl the site too fast to avoid overloading it.What are the 5 key data structures? ›
- Array Data Structure. In an array, elements in memory are arranged in continuous memory. ...
- Stack Data Structure. In stack data structure, elements are stored in the LIFO principle. ...
- Queue Data Structure. ...
- Linked List Data Structure.
Knuth (1968, 1973) has given a list of five properties that are widely accepted as requirements for an algorithm: Finiteness: "An algorithm must always terminate after a finite number of steps ... a very finite number, a reasonable number"What are the 5 best algorithms in data science? ›
- Linear Regression.
- Logistic Regression.
- Linear Discriminant Analysis.
- Classification and Regression Trees.
- Naive Bayes.
- K-Nearest Neighbors (KNN)
- Learning Vector Quantization (LVQ)
- Support Vector Machines (SVM)
7 Algorithms Every Programmer Should Know
- Dijkstra's Algorithm. ...
- Merge Sort. ...
- Quicksort. ...
- Depth First Search. ...
- Breadth-First Search. ...
- Binary Search. ...
- Minimum Spanning Tree Algorithms.
- 1950: Krylov Subspace Method.
- 1951: The Decompositional Approach to Matrix Computations.
- 1957: The Fortran Optimizing Compiler.
- 1959: QR Algorithm.
- 1962: Quicksort.
- 1965: Fast Fourier Transform.
- 1977: Integer Relation Detection.
- 1987: Fast Multipole Method.
Common examples include: the recipe for baking a cake, the method we use to solve a long division problem, the process of doing laundry, and the functionality of a search engine are all examples of an algorithm.What are the 3 main factors of the Google ranking algorithm? ›
These factors are: Keywords in Meta Titles, User Engagement, Trustworthiness, Mobile-Friendliness, and Page Speed.What are the 3 key ranking factors that Google uses in their algorithm? ›
- Meaning and Intent. Within Google's search algorithm, understanding and clarifying the meaning and intent of the search query is the key first step. ...
- Relevance. ...
- Quality. ...
- User Experience. ...
What is Google's latest algorithm? ›
Being an extension of Google's product review algorithm first launched in March 2021, this algorithm update is expected to reward sites that publish product reviews based on in-depth research rather than the ones that just rephrase the information that appears on the manufacturer's website.What are the three factors that determine your Ad Rank for a Google search ad? ›
Ad Rank is calculated using your bid amount, your auction-time ad quality (including expected clickthrough rate, ad relevance, and landing page experience), the Ad Rank thresholds, the competitiveness of an auction, the context of the person's search (for example, the person's location, device, time of search, the ...What are the 5 elements of an ad? ›
- A Clearly Defined Target Audience. In order to create a successful ad, you need to know who you are speaking to, and ultimately, who you are selling to. ...
- Value Proposition. ...
- Quality Content and Design. ...
- The Call-to-Action (CTA) ...
- The Follow Up.
- A Catchy Headline. The headline is a major aspect of an advertisement. ...
- An Effective Sub-headline. ...
- Selling the Benefits. ...
- Images and Packaging. ...
- Headline. The ad headline is the first thing noticeable because it has the largest text so incorporating relevant keywords draws more attention from high-intent searchers. ...
- Display URL. ...
- Description text. ...
- Ad extensions.
- Phase 1 – Onboarding, Site Assessment, Strategy Development.
- Phase 2 – Onsite Optimization.
- Phase 3 – Off-Site Optimization, Citation Submission & Clean up.
- Phase 4 – Ongoing & Advanced SEO: Link Building, Tracking, Updates.
- Step 1: Keyword Research. ...
- Step 2: Content Marketing. ...
- Step 3: On-Page SEO. ...
- Step 4: Link Building. ...
- Step 5: SEO Outsourcing.