Believe it or not, there is a method to the madness of calculating search engine rankings. Unfortunately, no one knows it in specific because Google keeps its algorithm top secret – so secret that most of its employees don’t even know how it works.
Actually, the algorithm is so complex that no human mind could memorize or fully understand its internal operations. Google is the closest thing to artificial intelligence without actually being artificial intelligence.
Very basically, here is how search engines work, and what each part of the process has to do with SEO:
- Indexing. While the internet is almost too big to comprehend and grows more every day, imagine there is a linear roadway to follow from one end of the internet to the other.
Search engines send out programs, called “robots” or “crawlers,” whose job it is to scour this roadway on a regular basis to see what new information is available. They do this by way of links.
Once each page is found, small snippets of information are retrieved and sent to hard drives, which store the information so users can access it with ease.
- Provide the best answers. After search engines have indexed all available information, their next job is to provide the most relevant and important information available to each user’s query.
Search engine optimization involves helping your site become both relevant and important for particular keyword queries. Google’s algorithm takes into account somewhere around 200 different factors when deciding which content is the most relevant and important for a particular search.
Why Google is the Most Popular Search Engine
Quantifying relevance and importance, for a search engine, will never be perfect. Attempting to replicate the human mind and what it believes to be the most important result for a particular search term is impossible.
In the past, relevant meant all you had to do was place a particular keyword in the title of the page and several places throughout the rest of the page in order to rank highly for a certain keyword. People learned how to manipulate the search engines very quickly and get junk content to rank highly.
Now, however, the process is much more complicated than in the past. No one knows the precise method for getting your content to rank first for a particular search term. But, people have discovered guidelines that maximize your chances of doing so.
Google has become the most popular search engine because it helps people find what they are searching for far better than any other search engine. It accounts for roughly 80% of all searches performed in the U.S. and about 90% of all searches worldwide.
However, Google is not perfect. I’m sure you can recall many times where you have searched on certain terms and wondered why you were getting the results you found!
But, it is the best at what it does by far, and you can expect to continue to be using Google for some time into the future!