Google's algorithm is the best kept secret in the world – right after your grandmother's red velvet cake recipe. But what is it exactly? It is the mathematical formula that makes it possible to carry out a ranking of websites each time a person performs a search. This algorithm evolves constantly and adapts to the demands of Internet users.
After creating your website, you naturally want it to be visible to the whole world, the aim being to bring you maximum traffic which translates into sales or visibility. For that, nothing is more effective than to appear at the top of Google’s search list. In light of this we'll reveal everything you need to know about this secret algorithm – but… do not tell anyone!
Search engines do not boil down to just Google. Or maybe they do! There are many tools available to conduct your searches on the Net, but seeing as Google holds more than 90% of the world market share, it is would be better to think big and go directly for the big fish.
What is an algorithm?
An algorithm is a set of formulas used by Google to analyze websites around the world. The algorithm classifies them according to their relevance and determines which ones will appear on the results pages - also known as Search Engine Results Page (SERP). The SERP is the page that appears on the screen when a user searches on Google.
Here's how it works: you want to find the address of a cafe in Paris, so you type on the search bar "café in Paris". As a result, thousands of small robots are busy studying every page on the Web using a large number of criteria to prioritize information. Its purpose is to show the most relevant results for your search. As the vice president of the American giant, Ben Gomes, again reminded Google's primary goal: "to give you the exact answer to your request, as soon as possible".
What are Google's criteria for ranking websites?
That's the million-dollar question as the algorithm itself is an extremely well-kept secret. Moreover, in order to adapt to the demands of Internet users and to always display relevant results, this algorithm is constantly evolving. Although no one has the exact mathematical formula, we can tell you what robots look for in order to classify a website:
- Quality content
- Updated content/regularly updated site
- The number and quality of incoming links
- The keywords/terms used on the site
- The age of the website
- The location of users and the company
- The amount of time people spend on a site
- And more than 200 other criteria ...
Conclusion: You have a lot of ways to improve the SEO of your site.
What is an update to the Google algorithm?
Google continuously studies how users do their research. Depending on this, it alters its algorithm to improve its results. Thus, an update means that the programs of the American giant will analyze the websites differently and modify their display in the SERP.
How often does Google alter its algorithm?
There was a time when the algorithm changed every 3 to 4 months. A well ranked internet site was hard to dethrone and could stay in pole position on the SERP for a long period of time. But times have changed and this is no longer the case. Nowadays, in the presence of tougher competition, Google makes over 600 changes to its algorithm each year, with most of them not being advertised. This means that the ranking of websites changes every day. You can easily find yourself in first place one morning and in third position the next day. To keep your rank, you need to constantly update your site and create quality content.
Penguin and Panda: What does this mean?
As previously stated, Google makes daily small changes to its algorithm, but from time to time it makes a more significant update which is officially announced to the world – so unless you’re living in a cave somewhere, it’s hard to miss it. Historically, these updates have had animal names such as Penguin, Panda and Hummingbird. But with the number of current changes, the internet giant is running out of animal names and is moving on to others. For example, the latest official change has been named ‘Fred’.
The Google algorithm and you
Even if you are not an SEO professional there are still things that you can do to make your website more visible. Major web building sites such as WIX take Google's lent algorithm and study in depth in order to make sure their web pages are updated with the new changes. So
for your part, you need to make sure you create a site that meets the needs of internet users and helps them find what they are looking for. By focusing on this, your users will love your site, spend more time on it, share it with their friends and increase your traffic. This will improve your SEO.