Understanding Google’s Algorithm

understanding google's algorithm for seo

Google’s algorithm – how can we understand it?

Google and all the other major search engines use complex algorithms to bring users relevant results so quickly; SEO is the practice of making your site more attractive to those algorithms through various methods.

But the algorithms are so complex, secret, and so frequently updated that no one in the SEO world really understands exactly what’s in them – not even the very best and most expensive marketers. I’d be willing to bet that a huge percentage of Google’s employees don’t even know everything about the algorithm!

So how do SEO marketers do what we do? We’ve learned, through contacts in the industry and years of trial and error, as well as resources available directly and publicly from Google and other search engines, most of what works and a lot of what doesn’t. We look at the trends, at what’s succeeding and what’s not, and use the knowledge we glean from that to help anyone who needs better internet marketing. And in blogs like this one, we pass the information along to you.

Recently, another big SEO blog claimed they had done the impossible – listed all 200 factors that Google considers (a number which it publicly shares on its own information pages) when indexing and searching web sites. The article, which is one of the most interesting I’ve read in a while (excepting everything from this blog, of course), is available over at Backlinko.

Even the writer, though – and he’s one of the better SEO gurus out there – knows that this can’t possibly be a definitive, exhaustive list. He admits in his first paragraph that a great deal of this list is conjecture, controversial, or both.

So why’d I send you over to the article, then? Two reasons: one, it’s just plain interesting; two, some of these factors may be extremely important. So my advice to you is this:

  • When it comes to SEO, stick to the proven methods first. These include, in rough order of importance:
    • External links
    • Keywords
    • Internal links / site design
    • Quality content
  • However, if you feel you’ve covered your bases there and you’re consistently putting out quality content to keep your site fresh, you might try considering some of the other factors listed in this article.

What I mean to say is that the proven, most common methods have been shown by marketers and businesses everywhere to get real results. Although it may not stay this way forever, they’re the gold standard for now.

However, some of these smaller, more controversial things are worth looking at. Perhaps they’ll make the difference between being on the top of page 2 and the bottom of page 1. Or maybe they’ll give you or your marketing professionals ideas about where things are going.

Because if there’s one thing we absolutely know for certain about SEO, it’s that the rules are always changing.