Google’s algorithm is more sophisticated than ever, and its secrets have been the focus of thousands of hours of research and testing. After all, if you understand how Google determines the rankings of its search results, you can influence the way your own content ranks, gaining a significant advantage over your competitors.
The websites that Google ranks on the 1st page of of its search results for any given search term are the ones that they consider to be the most relevant and useful. They determine which websites are the most useful and relevant by using a complex algorithm (mathematical process) which takes into account 200+ different factors.
Google doesn’t let people know what those factors are, however, through a combination of research, testing and experience, a good Google SEO consultant knows what the most important factors are. For example, most SEOs would agree that the following are all important ranking factors…
The algorithm is designed and set-up by humans, however, the rankings given to websites are wholly determined by the outcome of the algorithm. There’s no manual intervention by humans to adjust the rankings specific websites are given by the algorithm.
The website ranked in 1st place is the website that the algorithm has given the best score to when taking into account the 200+ factors. Google is constantly reviewing, adjusting and updating its search results, so a website that is ranked 1st today could potentially not even be on the 1st page next week.
If a website stays where it is, rises or falls in the search results is dependent on one overall consideration – how it compares to the websites it is competing with i.e. the other websites who want to rank for the keywords that it wants to rank for. A lot of it has to do with Google’s algorithm. It looks at over 200 ranking factors when determining where to rank a site. As you already know, these ranking factors aren’t easy to understand, which makes it difficult for you to figure out how to adjust your site to maximize your rankings.
Below is the infographic AudienceBloom created to illustrate their findings.