V e r k e e r
Opinion

What is Google’s Algorithm?

In July 2018, Google underwent a major algorithm update which has been making waves in the world of SEO agencies. Many organisations saw their rankings move up and down on a daily basis, and though Google’s Danny Sullivan said the update is was fully rolled out, some websites saw some more permanent changes as a result.

But what is Google’s algorithm? Or any algorithm for that matter? For those of you not familiar with this the team at Verkeer are here to help.

Usually a term used by technical whizzes and mathematical geniuses, an algorithm is essentially a set process or guidelines that describe how to perform or achieve a task. Google follows this same definition for its search engine.  Think about the last time you searched for something on Google. Regardless of what you typed in, there would have been millions of potential results for you to choose from with a select few on the first page. But how did it decide which results to show you, and why did it decide that order? Google’s algorithm.

Google’s algorithm is a frequently changing calculation that it uses to determine which website or page is most relevant to a user’s search, and where it should be ranked in its results pages. These calculations are completed in lightning fast time, and rankings can move up and down as a website changes and evolves.

But how does Google actually do this? To find out how and where to rank a webpage Google needs to index and crawl the website or webpage. Crawling in this sense means when Google scours a page or website and analyses every element possible. Each trait of the page is then given a value and the one with the most value is rewarded with highest rankings. Top spots are often taken by businesses who have expertise in house or who work with an SEO agency.

Part of Google’s algorithm uses keywords to determine a ranking for a website or page, and in years gone by it was commonplace for people to ‘keyword stuff’ their website content with the thinking that the more the keyword was written, the more important a page was to a topic. However, Google clocked onto this and amended their algorithm so that anyone who was stuffing their content with keywords was penalised. This tactic and other ‘Black hat’ SEO tactics are usually done to try and outsmart Google but are always quickly penalised as a result. In other words, you have to play by their rules otherwise there are consequences.

Google doesn’t give much away when it comes to the algorithm and any updates, unless a major change is afoot. The latest update nicknamed ‘The Medic Update’ by Search Engine Land, was unofficially focused on health and medical websites, and ‘Your Money Your Life’ websites. This is the term used for websites that can have an impact on your current or future well-being (physical, financial, safety etc). Despite this focus, the most recent update was one of the largest to date, with volatility being experienced by virtually every site owner, webmaster and SEO agency. Danny Sullivan said of the update that it was aimed at “improving search results” as opposed to targeting “low quality” websites.

It’s important to stay up to date with any changes they make, no matter how minor or major because the ripple effects can be quite significant.

The Verkeer team have experienced over 200 algorithm changes altogether, and each time we’ve adapted and moved forwards successfully. If you want to learn about how we can help your business, get in touch anytime.

Find out how we can help your business overcome every Google Algorithm update