Knowing the Google algorithm is important for SEO specialists, but not only. In fact, knowing at least what it is is useful for anyone who wants to be found on the most used search engine in the world. And you must always stay up to date.
Meanwhile, we define an algorithm as a sequence of instructions that lead to a specific result. In the case of the Google algorithm, its function is ranking. It then determines the order of search results users make. For now, about 200 factors have been identified which influence, more or less incisively, the order of placement. By working on these, you try to scale the result pages.
The criticality is that it is not known exactly a priori which factors have the greatest impact and how they are linked to each other. Understanding it better is today's challenge. The track to follow starts from the updates that have been released over the years up to 2023.
But first let's start with the basics.
How does the Google algorithm work?
The Google algorithm is dynamic. Over time, it updates its ranking parameters trying to reward results that favor human fruition. Before, it was enough to repeat the keyword often in the content to rank well. Today, however, standards have risen a lot. Indeed:
- you need to propose structured pages to be read easily,
- to enhance the user experience (UX),
- be it veloci,
- with coherent images,
- with contents elaborated in unique and original formulas,
- that are authoritative compared to others,
- reliable and credible,
- inserted in a virtuous network of link exchanges with authoritative, reliable and credible pages.
We can now expand on these factors and categorize them to better understand what the Google algorithm actually looks at and for what purposes.
Factors of relevance
They are those based on the domain, written contents and their structure. The Google algorithm considers a place relevant to the keyword if the domain name contains it, or is linkable to it, and also if the keyword is distributed well in the titles, slug and texts.
These placement factors are the easiest to act on. In fact tools like Yoast SEO help to respect them.
The quality of the user experience on the site (UX) determines the placement in the result pages. The contents must be clear and legible. The site must be usable, fast and light. It must be treated visually, following the principles of graphic e Web Design which together favor the attractiveness and quality of the experience.
All of this affects UX, is conditioned by relevance factors, and affects a site's authority, credibility, and trustworthiness in part.
A factor of choice of the Google algorithm is based on the authority of the sites. A site is more or less authoritative than others mainly based on the number of external and internal links, both incoming and outgoing. Their quality also counts, which is given by the credibility and authority of the linked sites and pages.
Numerical scores used in many SEO research and analysis software are used to quantify authority. Commonly there is a score ranging from 1 to 100 directly referring to the domain authority (DA). But, on platforms like Ahrefs, specifications such as the DR and the AR, relating to backlinks, are indicated.
Site authority, mind you, isn't all that matters for ranking. It should be monitored and considered in synergy with the other factors.
The Google anti-spam algorithm
Finally, a page placed among the first results must be credible and reliable. To be defined as credible, a page must be consistent with research based on both relevance factors and UX and authority, especially linked to the relationship with the authority of the other sites with which it exchanges links.
Sites will crash on the results page if they are not very credible and if they are linked to other equally not credible and authoritative sites.
This is because the Google algorithm tries to do anti-spam, i.e. to penalize content that is not usable, rarely visited, poorly connected and unreliable.
How do you update the Google algorithm? From Panda to today.
Every year there are several updates, more or less decisive. Among these there are some that significantly evolve the Google algorithm, modifying its structure. The Panda update of 2011 was the first to act on the UX. Penguin of 2012 improved the anti-spam function.
Hummingbird of 2013 allows to broaden the results by acting on the meaning of a keyword, thus making coherent links with related questions or with other similar keywords. Pigeon improves geolocation, giving it more relevance in terms of positioning. Mobilegeddon changes the Google algorithm giving more relevance to well-maintained sites even in the mobile version.
Training with neural networks
BERT in 2019 integrates a technique based on neural networks into the algorithm. The goal is to train it to function like a brain. For now, it better elaborates, in synergy with the other updates, the context and intent of a search.
Google algorithm update March 2023
The latest Google algorithm update was released at the end of March 2023. The goal, extended to all types of content in every region and language, is to optimize the promotion and rewarding of high quality and high value web pages.
In light of this, we can better understand what to focus actions on today. Surely keeping up with the quality of content, from as many points of view as possible, is a necessary and often more than sufficient condition.
If you want to place your site on the first page, you need to consider how the Google algorithm works. Once you understand the parameters, you need to create the site, the suitable contents, or optimize those that already exist.
At Kilobit we have SEO specialists, copywriters, graphic and web designers. These can follow you from creation to improvement and maintenance, taking care of every specific aspect and collaborating closely with each other.
Just contact us for one first free advice.