I'm often asked, “How do I get my site ranked on Google?”
The answer always is a 45-minute diatribe ending with “It depends.”
Here's a good primer on how the Google search algorithm works. From that, we can glean a few tasty morsels that you can feed your website to give it the best chance of being eaten up by their search algorithm.
Google uses a complex algorithm to determine the ranking of webpages in its search results. The algorithm takes into account hundreds of factors or “signals” about the page, such as the words it contains, the links pointing to it, and the activity of users on the site. While the specifics of the algorithm are a closely guarded secret, there are some general concepts that can help you understand how it works.
One important concept is that of relevance. Google wants to show users the most relevant search results, so it uses a variety of signals to determine which pages are most relevant to a particular query. For example, if someone searches for “best running shoes,” Google will look for pages that contain information about running shoes that are highly rated or recommended by experts.
Another important concept is that of authority. Google wants to show users the most trustworthy and credible search results, so it uses signals to determine which pages are authoritative on a particular topic. For example, a page on a website run by a well-known and respected running shoe company would be considered more authoritative on the topic of running shoes than a page on a personal blog.
The relevancy, authority, and other signals are combined and the algorithm utilizes various machine learning models to give the final rank of a webpage on a scale of importance.
Additionally, Google also uses user signals, such as click-through rate and engagement time, to help determine the ranking of pages. Pages that people tend to click on and spend a lot of time on will rank higher in the search results than pages that people tend to quickly leave.
It is also worth noting that Google updates their algorithm regularly. The primary objective is to improve their user experience.
The ranking algorithm is constantly changing and adapting to the evolving way in which people search, so it's a good idea to stay up-to-date with best practices in SEO.