The Backstage: What are Google Algorithms?

Google Algorithm is the guy that you have seen many times but know nothing about it. Before we jump on to Google Algorithms, let’s define algorithms first. Algorithms are basically a set of rules for solving a problem in finite number of steps. Say you are supposed to count by 3s from 1 to 30. 1,4,7,10….. This can be done with an algorithm. This is a simplistic look towards algorithm, it can solve complex problems with ease. Let’s jump on to the guest of honor now.

Google algorithms follow the same basic definition and rule of an algorithm that we described. Think about the last time you searched for something on Google. Whether you typed “top 10 catches in cricket” or “shoe stores in Ahmedabad,” the search engine returned millions of results for you to choose from.

But how did it decide which results to show you, and in what order? An algorithm.

Google has a very complex algorithm for serving search results, and it changes relatively frequently. And although the company does not make the exact algorithm public, here are a few elements that we know for a fact have an impact on a page’s ability to appear in the results for certain keywords:

  • The keyword’s appearance in the page’s title, header tags, and meta description
  • The amount of naturally-occurring, organic links to the page
  • The way the website performs on mobile devices, such as smart phones and tablets

The algorithm is adjusted for each search, and can be affected by even the slightest changes to spelling and the order of the words. The results are then given to the user, who can decide which site to visit. Based on your browser history, Google also gets you a drop down menu of suggestions when you type anything.

The Google algorithm uses keywords to determine page rankings. The best way to rank for specific keywords is by doing SEO. SEO essentially is a way to tell Google that a website or web page is about a particular topic.

When it all began, people used to stuff their content with keywords so that it would rank higher. But Google realized this and altered its algorithms to penalize these websites who were into wrongful SEO practices. This should be a lesson for everyone who thinks that they can fool the search engine in any way because once Google realizes this, your rankings will suffer.

How do the ranks vary?

Google assigns a pre-ordained numerical value to every trait it is looking for and the sums up the end result. These calculations by the Google platform are conducted incredibly quickly, and the rankings may fluctuate as web developers manipulate the attributes that contribute to page rankings across a website, or on a single page. Therefore, rankings as assigned by the Google algorithms are fluid. A page that ranks third for a keyword may rise to first or fall to tenth as the content on both it and the other pages in the results change. Usually, the top spots are held by businesses that do SEO on their sites.

Some important SEO Algorithm updates

Panda

 Panda assigns a so-called “quality score” to web pages; this score is then used as a ranking factor. Panda rollouts have become more frequent, so both penalties and recoveries now happen faster.

It can be adjusted by eliminating duplicate content and keyword stuffing.

Mobile

Google’s Mobile Update ensures that mobile-friendly pages rank at the top of mobile search, while pages not optimized for mobile are filtered out from the SERPs (Search engine Result Pages) or seriously down-ranked.

It can be adjusted by going mobile friendly and focusing on speed and usability.

Rank Brain

 Rank Brain is a machine learning system that helps Google understand the meaning behind queries, and serve best-matching search results in response to those queries.

It can be adjusted by optimizing the content and making it comprehensive.

Possum

The Possum update ensured that local results vary more depending on the searcher’s location: the closer you are to a business’s address, the more likely you are to see it among local results.

It can be adjusted by expanding keyword list and doing location specific ranking research.

Hope this helped. Let us know if you have any queries and further suggestions in the comment section. We are happy to help and listen to your suggestions. Stay Home Stay Safe 🙂

Avinash Somjani is an intern at utobo and he is currently pursuing his MBA at SIBM Bengaluru. He is passionate about sports, science fiction, history and the ever changing colour of his pen.