How does Google rank sites?

by Emily on April 8, 2020

in Articles

Every digital marketer out there has come up against this key question time and again: what criteria does Google use when ranking websites? The obvious answer is, of course, relevancy: the more useful your page is to someone searching for specific information, the more chance it has of ranking highly. The disappointing news for anyone who wants to find out the precise answers to this important question is that Google has, sadly, been circumspect. But while there’s no cheat sheet containing all the right answers available to marketers, there are some clues as to how Google goes about ranking websites

What does Google say?

To put this question into context, Google ranks websites using an in-house tool called PageRank, which has long since been the subject of intense speculation. The information about PageRank which Google publishes tends to be aimed at searchers rather than marketers, but it does give some interesting insights. It points out, for example, that the firm uses “Quality Raters” around the world to test results to improve relevancy, and that it also examines information specific to each searcher – like where they are based. 

What many marketers have come to know, however, is that the goalposts of the PageRank system can change quite rapidly. This is what happened in 2011, for example, when the Google Panda release came about – and many marketers found that techniques which had previously worked in helping sites rise through Google were now no longer working. 

The latest release

Despite the fact that Google’s mysterious algorithm is both ever-changing and partly shrouded in mystery, it’s also well worth noting that there is at least some concrete information out there about how Google goes about the murky business of ranking websites. And what part does your social media input play when it comes to Google’s ranking? That is, to some extent, an unknown. What we do know is that Google releases several updates a year. Last October, for example, it released an update which changed the ranking of various sites – although the full details again remained opaque. 

The reality is that few details are shared about these developments each time. For marketers looking to ensure their sites remain high in the rankings, clearly the most important thing to do is to practice good, long-established search engine optimization techniques: this could involve the strategic deployment of keywords, or it could lead you to buy guest posts which help build links to your site. Staying on top of the latest trends by using a website like Moz, which curates updates to the ranking system, could also be helpful.

It’s perhaps no surprise that Google doesn’t publicize all the details of its algorithm. After all: if it did that then every marketer worth their salt would have a free pass to get it just right! Instead, there’s a complex vortex of ranking tools in place, like location data and Quality Raters – and as a marketer, it’s your job to work out which SEO solutions to these phenomena work best for you or your clients. 

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Balvinder Singh April 17, 2020 at 20:49

Very helpful information didn’t know before how Google searches applied. Thanks for writing and sharing this.
Balvinder Singh recently posted… How to write excellent content for your website

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