How Does Google ranking work? Let's find out.
Google is a mysterious machine, operating with precision and doing so in an elusive manner. It scans page after page striving to organize the world's information to make it accessible and useful. And then ranking each page according to importance. But how does it work? And who gets to be (ranked) first in line?
How I put this to the test
I typed “grilled cheese” into Google and the highest ranked website was grilledcheeseacademy.com. Wow, is that even a thing? This Grilled Cheese Academy sounds like what I was searching for, by offering everything from photos to recipes. But, how did Google rank this page? How does Google search through trillions of documents and manage to give the results it does? That is the mystery and magic behind Google and Google’s desire to answer your questions to the best of their ability.
The Busy Googlebots
In order to give the best results, Google searches through billions of pages and creates an index. They reported their index to be more than 100 million gigabytes. Google calls its’ searching and indexing machines Googlebots. Crawling is how Google describes the Googlebots finding new and updated pages to add to their index. These machines go around the web and use an algorithm to detect which sites to crawl, for how long, and for how many pages. Then it collects the links, key content tags, words, and location of the words on the site. When someone searches for something the machines search for the matching pages and present the most related results. The relevant results are formed by over 200 factors. So, Google ranking works by the Googlebots gathering and indexing words, links, and their locations and determines their relevance to a given search.
The Ranking Factors
One of these well known factors is PageRank. This method measures the relevance of a page by incoming links from other pages. So if your page is cited by a lot of other pages, PageRank will deem that page fairly important and credible page to answer a question. However, don’t go link crazy with spam links or other trickery, because Google has also designed ways to detect cheating. PageRank is just one of the 200 factors, so don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. Google’s newest named and confirmed algorithm is Penguin. This algorithm is designed to capture sites that are spamming Google's search results in ways that Google's regular spamming systems might not detect. If caught, that site is devalued in Google's rankings. Google’s best advice to get higher in its’ rankings is to “create a useful, information-rich site, and write pages that clearly and accurately describe your content.” Google won't give out any specific details about their algorithm so they can keep their competitive edge and prevent anyone from cheating the system.
Basic Tips About Google Ranking
There are a few basic rules and tips about Google’s way of searching that can help you get a leg up on your competition. First things first, keep your links to an acceptable number. Don’t get caught up in the PageRank link measurement method. Next, Googlebots can’t read text that is in an image. So, any important information like your name or any content should be in text so the Googlebot can gather it into its’ index. If you are starting a site, make sure to submit a sitemap to google so their Googlebots can know the layout of your site. Lastly, aim to stand out for all of the right reasons. Google picks the best of the best for a reason. So, put the customer first and offer a trustworthy, informative, and easy to interact webpage.
So, apparently the Grilled Cheese Academy is ranked highest for a reason. Google chose it for its relevancy to my “grilled cheese” search and its credibility in the grilled cheese world. Hopefully after reading this, you know a little bit more about how Google ranks a page. If not, I guess you could Google it.