How Google Ranks Your Webpage

Demystify Google's Search Engine to Conquer SEO

Search engine optimization has come to mean many different things to different people. In its most basic form, search engine optimization (SEO) refers to the design strategies you might utilise to increase your search engine ranking. This usually entails making changes to your website's design and content. The code powering Google's search engine remains unknown. Apart from the few articles they have published over the years, it remains impossible to accurately predicate how Google will rank a site. The weight Google puts on the different criterion remains a great mystery. In this article, we'll go over the known indicators that they currently employ to rank a webpage.

We will not go into too much implementation detail, but it is important that we try to demystify Google's search engine somewhat. Everything we know about it comes from the various papers Google has written over the years along with the number of publications that have been released on its performance. The articles released by Google are heavily abstracted pieces of work that are light on detail. The primary algorithm that powers Google’s search engine is PageRank. Larry Page and Sergey Brin developed PageRank at Stanford University in 1996 as part of a research project about a new kind of search engine. Google overtime has slowly built out its search engine into a fully scalable and highly performant indexable database.

What is the Google Search Engine?

The Google search engine is essentially a highly indexable (i.e. fast) database that maps website URLs to the key content included within those websites. An agent known as a crawler is in charge of collecting information about pages. A crawler is a mechanism that operates 24 hours a day, collecting and storing information about websites. To begin, the crawler is given a set of root URLs to visit. To find new pages, the crawler follows links on those pages. The crawler extracts the content of each page and records it as a collection of keywords (e.g. bold words, titles) against the website's URL. A crawler can be thought of as a vacuum cleaner sucking up all the information it finds as it goes from page to page. Google has produced a sizable database over time.

1. Content Score

The most essential measurement is the one that checks a page's relevance to a query made by the end-user. To allow for efficient querying that never surpasses milliseconds, Google must produce a reverse index (i.e. a secondary database) that maps important keywords to website URLs. The Google engine must process user queries in real-time, and return results in milliseconds. Every time a user specifies a query, the engine breaks that query up into words and phrases. The secondary index (i.e. a mapping between phrases and pages that contain those phrases) is referenced and a cross-check for pages that match the most words/phrases from the query are retrieved. A content score is calculated and given to a set of web pages of interest.

2. Popularity Score

Google uses a popularity score in addition to the content score for measuring a page’s importance. The idea of a popularity score is rather simple to understand in theory. The amount of spam pages found on the world-wide-web exceeds legitimate ones. If the website has a higher presence on the internet, then it would be more likely to be of greater importance to the person making the query. The confusion comes from how Google generates this popularity score. Google search engine leverages multiple different techniques to measure popularity. The main one of those being hyperlinks. The connection is understood by viewing a hyperlink as a recommendation. A hyperlink from my homepage to your page is my endorsement of your page. The crawlers make an account of these recommendations for the sites they crawl. A page with a high popularity score referencing your webpage would have a greater bearing than a lower one doing the same. So the quality and quantity of the references are equally important in determining the popularity score. Countless amounts of research papers have been written on how it works.

3. User-Data-Driven Score

Google leverages its services to further build the depth of its search engine. Google utilises user information of the person making the query and their search history. Both criteria are given high weighting by Google.

4. User-Behaviour-Driven Score

Google Chrome remains one of the most popular browsers out there. It holds 92.47% share of the browser market. Dwell time is an important measurement you should keep in mind when developing your site. The search engine leverages the data it fetches from Google Chrome browser to record the average time a user spends on a site. It also measures how often a page is bookmarked on Chrome. Google will use this data to infer how a user interacts with a page and judge how relevant a page is.

5. Static analysis on Quality

There are markers that Google looks for when determining whether or not something is spam. Google needs to be able to tell the difference between low and high quality websites. For instance, it will analyse the content within the page and how separated everything is from each other. In our blog titled 'How to Improve Your Website's SEO', we discuss some of the main things Google looks for when crawling a web page. If there is too much clutter from images and text it will be harshly penalised by Google.

Conclusion

Google collates these different scores in real-time to generate a page ranking. We can not know for sure how important the different scores are in deciding how high a page comes up. We can say with certainty that the content score remains the most important to Google. We talk about the main ways you can improve your content (Here). Popularity score and content score were what Google first used to rank pages. But as Google has grown to become an established service provider, its search engine has evolved to become more precise and content-rich for the end-user. Google's measuring strategies should be at the heart of how you design and develop your website. We have used these strategies to drive our design phase for www.olobird.com. We would ask questions like “How can we keep a user longer on our website?” or “What incentive does a user have for visiting our page multiple times?”. Understanding how Google search engine works remains an essential part of conquering SEO.