The Beginners Guide to Google’s Algorithm

If your business has a website, you need to know about Google’s Algorithm, in this article, we will explore what Google’s Algorithm is and how it determines the ranking of your site pages.

Google's Algorithm - Search Box Why Google?

Google is the dominant search engine. There are plenty of search engines, like and, but Google is leaps and bounds ahead of them in popularity. 1.17 billion people use Google Search, 77% of the 1.52 billion search engine users.

What is Google’s Algorithm?

An algorithm, by definition, is a process or set of rules to be followed in calculations or problem-solving operations, especially by a computer.

The standard definition of algorithm can be applied to Google’s.

Think about your own searches, relevant website links don’t magically appear on your SERP. Google’s Algorithm is responsible. It determines what results to show you and in what order.

Google’s algorithm isn’t exactly public, it’s a bit of a mystery, but we do know some factors impact our website rankings …

  • – The amount of organic links to the page
  • – Website performance on mobile devices, tablets
  • – Whether the chosen keywords appear in the page title, header tags and meta description
  • – Repetition of content
  • – How often the site is updated
  • – The amount of time people spend on the site
  • – Age of the website
  • – Quality of the content

That’s only scratching the surface. There’s likely to be hundreds of more factors …

It might seem daunting, but, at least you’ve got a few ways to boost your SEO!

If there’s any dramatic changes, Google would keep everybody informed. But minor updates are probably always happening in the background.

Google is like one big brain – its constantly absorbing new information about how searchers seek information. Google constantly wants to improve, when it learns something valuable about its searchers, it’s algorithm updates to improve the order of the pages on SERP.

Google’s Algorithm changes the way it’s computer programmes crawl websites –  which could alter how they’re displayed in SERPs.

How Often Does Google’s Algorithm Change?

We don’t know exactly how many times Google’s Algorithm is updated. Previously, Algorithm’s were only updated around every few months, leaving high ranking websites at the top of SERP with no competition.

Now the competition is so tough. Anybody who is involved in websites or SEO will know how challenging it can be to rank highly on SERPs, particularly when your keyword is popular, or is a term that has more than one meaning.

You could be 4th on SERP one day and 10th the next. If you want to keep a consistent high ranking, ensure your website it always kept up to date with fresh content.

Google's Algorithm - Website Content As Google ‘crawls’ your webpage, it’ll prescribe each of your pages with a numerical value that will measure your desirable traits on each page. Each value is then added to final score.

You’ll get a score based on each trait it’s looking for on the page, determining its importance to searchers. Your website needs to have the highest score of desirable trains to rank at the top of SERPs.

Your ranking will probably fluctuate. It can change in an instant, so if pages are published with a higher number of desirable traits than yours, your ranking could drop. Alterations to rankings are constant, if a business sees their ranking has dropped, they’ll probably update their content to bump it back up again, and so on.

Google’s Algorithm and SEO

Top spots are typically dominated by websites that have been improved by SEO.

Google’s Algorithm considers the keywords used to rank pages. To rank highly for keywords, it’s highly recommendable to use SEO to assess which keywords to use.

Penguin, Panda and Hummingbird

Each amendment Google makes to their algorithm is intended to improve the relevancy of pages on SERPs.

Over recent years Google have assigned animal names to updates. Amongst others, there are Penguin, Panda and Hummingbird.

Here’s a quick briefing of Google’s Algorithm updates so you can apply them to improve your own SEO.

Panda (2011)

Google launches Panda to filter high-quality sites from lower-quality ones.Google's Algorithm - Screen Responsive

Panda examines the content on your page to determine whether its quality should result in a high or low ranking, accord to a set of quality criteria.

Low quality attributes include; repeated content, little content on pages or content that has little value.

Penguin (2012)

Penguin examines the links to and from a website. It specifically focuses on ‘unethical links’, links that have been purchased and links with no purpose.

If you manage to get a good authority site to link to your website, your ranking will improve. Google act as though your site has been validated for quality information by the other trusted, reliable site.

Buying links or having an unusual amount of links from sites with low quality scores, sets off alarm bells for Google and will probably restrict your rankings.

Hummingbird (2013)

Hummingbird, unlike Panda and Penguin, isn’t as straightforward. From 2013, Google completely changed how websites are ranked.

Hummingbird helped Google to further their understanding of user queries.

Google seek to understand what a searcher actually means by using specific keywords. Pages which are deemed to not only provide information but answer to queries consequently rank higher on SERPs. Content that perhaps isn’t necessarily useful for a specific keyword will probably rank lower in this scenario.

Google’s Algorithm and Your Site

Simply focus on content that helps visitors, in your own, clear words. Keep asking yourself, ‘Am I providing answers to what searches are looking for’.

Succeed at this and your site will have more traffic and you should start to see a positive result in your page ranks!