How do search engines rank URLs
A strategy for your SEO work will support your success
How do search engines ensure that users receive relevant results when they enter a query? The ranking process involves sorting search results from most relevant to least suitable for a given query.
Search engines employ algorithms – procedures or formulas that retrieve and organize stored data meaningfully. These algorithms have undergone significant changes over the years to enhance the quality of search results. Google tweaks its algorithms daily.
Ranking algorithms are frequently updated. While Google seldom reveals the specifics of its algorithms, it’s evident that its goal is to enhance overall search quality. If an algorithm update impacted your website, consult Google’s Quality Guidelines to identify areas for improvement.
The role links play in SEO
Backlinks operate similarly to recommendations from word-of-mouth. Recommendations from other people are a positive indicator of authority. Self-recommendations are not a positive indicator of authority. Recommendations from irrelevant or low-quality sources are not a positive indicator of authority and may even result in your site being flagged for spam. The absence of recommendations leads to clarity of authority.
This is the reason why PageRank was developed. PageRank is an algorithm for link analysis that is a core part of Google’s algorithm. PageRank assesses the significance of a webpage by measuring the quality and quantity of links pointing to it. The presumption is that a more relevant, meaningful, and trustworthy website will earn more links.
The more organic backlinks you have from high-authority (trusted) websites, the better your chances are of ranking higher in search results.
The role content plays in SEO
Links serve only purpose if they direct searchers to something, specifically content, which can consist of more than just words; it includes videos, images, and text meant to be consumed by searchers.
A significant aspect of determining a webpage’s ranking for a particular query is how well the content on the page aligns with the query’s intent. In other words, does the page match the search terms, and does it help the searcher complete the task they were attempting to accomplish?
Because the focus is on user satisfaction and task completion, there are no strict guidelines on the length of content, keyword frequency, or header tag usage. While these factors can impact a page’s search performance, the focus should be on the users reading the content.
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of ranking signals, but the top three have remained relatively consistent over time.
- Incoming links to your website
- Relevant and high-quality content
What is RankBrain?
RankBrain is a crucial part of Google’s core algorithm that employs machine learning, a computer program that enhances its predictions with time through new observations and training data. This process of continuous learning ensures that search results keep improving.
RankBrain can discern when a lower-ranking URL offers better results to users than the higher-ranking URLs. Consequently, it adjusts those results, promoting the more relevant outcome and demoting the less relevant ones as a by-product.
As Google will continue to rely on RankBrain to enhance user experience, it is vital to prioritize fulfilling searcher intent. This means providing the best possible information and knowledge for searchers who may end up on your page.