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What You Don’t Know About Google Algorithms WILL Hurt You!

Google Algorithms | Website Rankings | E's Web Design | Fort Myers

You may have heard about the latest change to Google’s ranking system involving mobile friendly websites. And maybe you are wondering what that means for your website and traffic. First things first…

What Are Google Algorithms?

When you browse the web, you want the answer to your search. You do not want to wade through billions of websites. Google strives to optimize searches by using algorithms. Algorithms is the scientific process of applying formulas to each and every search inquiry to produce the best possible result. Relying on more than 200 unique factors, Google’s algorithms rank each web page and determine if it is relevant to any given search.

What Factors Are Considered?

There are over 200 factors used by Google to rank web pages, but what are the most important ones and why do they matter?

  • Domain Registration Length. When owners of a website register the domain for several years in advance, it communicates that it will be a long term project and Google assigns a higher rank.
  • Keyword in Title Tag. The title tag is second only to the actual page content, when it comes to ranking. Including the main keyword within the title tag will increase chances of being found by that keyword.
  • Content Length. Typically content with more words covers a wider range of topics and is preferred over shorter, less in depth articles. SerpIQ has correlated longer content length to better search position.
  • Page Loading Speed. Both Bing and Google consider the loading time of your website when ranking.
  • Image Optimization. Search engines rely on image metadata to provide relevancy signals. Adding alt text and descriptions to each image can make a big difference.
  • Frequency of Content Updates. Adding and updating content communicates to search engines that the website is fresh.
  • Page Layout. Google analyzes whether the main and relevant content can be easily found by readers on the front page. If the crawlers determine that it can be, the ranking will be higher.

And The Updates Keep On Coming…

With every passing month, Google gets better at identifying what searches mean and what the people behind the searches really want. When Google discovers a new way to make searches richer and more on target, they adjust the algorithms. If owners of websites do not adjust their approach following a Google update announcement, they may find their traffic suddenly declining. Here are a few of the more impactful updates:

  • Quality Update. In 2015, Google acknowledged an update that impacted quality signals, assigning a higher value to high quality architecture and content.
  • Mobile Update. Also occurring in 2015, mobile ranking is now included as a primary algorithm indicator. Mobile friendly, responsive sites are now ranking higher than their counterparts.
  • Released in 2013, Google released an algorithm change that was designed to make searches “precise and fast,” like a hummingbird. The focus of this update was to better represent the way that people search now. Searches were prioritized based on conversational keywords that were being searched, such as “Where can I buy a laptop in my neighborhood?” In the early 2000s, this search would most likely look like “Computer in (insert name of neighborhood.)” More priority is now given to every word in the query, not just the main words.
  • Released in 2012, the purpose of this update was to prevent spamming sites from ranking high. Websites that purchased links to boost their rankings were penalized and no longer show up in high search results.
  • An update pushed out in 2011, Panda was designed to prevent websites with low quality content from ranking high on searches. Algorithms were adjusted to give higher priority to content quality, doing away with keyword packed websites with limited value.

Building a website for your small business is not as easy as designing on WordPress and publishing anymore. Staying apprised of the constantly changing Google parameters is paramount to website success.

The Bottom Line: A high quality, meaningful website that has an active niche and is continuously updated will continue to pull rank.