If you’re a website owner, it’s important to know how search engine rankings work. Let’s take a closer look at how exactly Google ranks a website.
As a leading search engine, Google has a few important goals to reach. It needs to effectively crawl and index as many websites as possible, and return the most relevant results to its users. The aim is to make your web browsing experience and enjoyable and relevant as possible.
To do this, they need to be able to effectively crawl and understand your website and its content. This all starts with an optimised website. This is why having sufficient inbound links from reputable sources are so important; it gives your site authority and will help to rank higher up within search engine results. Popular websites will also be crawled more frequently.
The importance of keywords
As any website owner knows, keyword usage is extremely important. By using relevant keywords within your copy, Google and other search engines will know what your content is about and show your website within search results when a user search for something similar.
When a user searches for a specific word or phrase, a Google will take a look at your site contents and display it on their search engine results page, if it feels that it is relevant to the user. Keywords should be carefully chosen; not only to describe your products and services, but also your business in general.
Google looks at a number of ranking signals – more than 200 to be precise – when ranking your website.
They look at your keyword placement, the quality of your content, the number of incoming links your website has, and where the links come from. The more authoritative the link sources are, the better your site will rank. The same with the content, the more valuable it is, the better your site will rank.
The search process
In a nutshell, when someone searches for something on Google, a few processes happen at once. The aim is to give the user the best possible, relevant results. Here’s how search works, in a few basic steps:
- A user visits Google and searches for something (product, service, phrase, explanation, etc.)
- Google sends out the query to hundreds of machines and different data centres
- They look through their data and the websites they have indexed
- The results that Google feels best matches the search query will be displayed to the user
- Google also tries to show the result with a useful snippet for the user to see the context
- This all happens within a half of a second
Google regularly updates their algorithms that take into account a range of different factors. This is one reason why SEO is an ongoing process. Google doesn’t share what exactly these algorithms are, but an experienced SEO consultant will know what the most important ones are. They include:
- Keyword usage
- Site speed
- Site structure
- Quality of incoming links
- Number of incoming links
- Quality of content
- Time users spend on the website
The better your site is structured and optimised, the better it will perform in search engine rankings. Understanding how search work will help you to tweak your website and your content marketing efforts to boost your brand reputation as much as possible.
For more information on how exactly Google works, visit their research page for a collection of publications and helpful information on this search engine giant.