SEO: How Does the Google Algorithm Work?


Believe it or not, there is a method to the madness of calculating search engine rankings.  Unfortunately, no one knows it specifically because Google keeps its algorithms top secret – so secret that most of its employees don’t even know how it works.

Actually, the algorithm is so complex that no human mind could memorize or fully understand its internal operations.  Throughout the years, several changes have been made to the algorithm, giving SEO experts a better understanding of what factors Google takes into account when ranking websites.

How The Google Algorithm Works

To get a basic understanding of SEO, here is a brief explanation of how search engines work, and what each part of the Google algorithm process has to do with search engine optimization:

While the internet is almost too big to comprehend and grows more every day, imagine there is a linear roadway to follow from one end of the internet to the other.

Search engines send out programs, called “spiderbot” or “web crawlers,” whose job it is to scour this roadway on a regular basis to see what new information is available. They do this by way of links found on your website. using something called a sitemap — essentially, a road map to your website. Once found, the crawler will take small snippets of information from the page to understand the topic of the page.

After the search engine’s crawler has indexed all available information from your website, its next job is to provide the most relevant and important information available to each user’s query. That information is then used to rank the website in specific search queries on the search engine.

Search engine optimization involves helping your website’s pages have all the relevant information needed to rank for those specific queries.  The Google algorithm takes into account somewhere around 200 different factors when deciding which content is the most relevant and important for a particular search.

It’s not all about website content. The algorithm also takes into account the ease a user can navigate your website, how many other websites refer to the site (known as backlinks), how fast your website loads, and the security of your site.

Why Google is the Most Popular Search Engine

Quantifying relevance and importance, for a search engine, will never be perfect.  Attempting to replicate the human mind and what it believes to be the most important result for a particular search term is impossible.

In the past, relevant meant all you had to do was place a particular keyword in the title of the page and several places throughout the rest of the page in order to rank highly for a certain keyword.  People learned how to manipulate the search engines very quickly and get junk content to rank highly.

Now, however, the process is much more complicated than in the past.  No one knows the precise method for getting your content to rank first for a particular search term.  But, people have discovered guidelines that maximize your chances of doing so.

Google has become the most popular search engine because it helps people find what they are searching for far better than any other search engine.  It accounts for roughly 80% of all searches performed in the U.S. and about 90% of all searches worldwide.

However, Google is not perfect.  Chances are you can recall many times where you have searched on certain terms and wondered why you were getting the results you found!

But, it is the best at what it does by far, and you can expect to continue to be using Google for some time into the future!

If your website is not receiving enough traffic, maybe it’s time you contact a search engine marketing company like Zen Agency. We can help!

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Joseph Riviello

Joseph L. Riviello is the CEO and Founder of Zen Agency. Joe's agency builds websites and web applications that attract, engage, and convert. Joe has over 30 years of experience in entrepreneurship and he is an expert digital marketing strategist who specializes in conversion-centric e-commerce experiences and cutting-edge solutions that maximize growth and profit. Check out Joe featured on:,,,

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