It’s no secret that Google is a driving force in the world of search engines. People are constantly looking for a way to get the most out of the IT giant’s core ranking algorithms, and many are even making a career out of it helping website owners succeed in the online space. However, most of their recommendations are just guesses, since Google has never revealed the secrets of their algorithms and always talked about them in riddles. Why is this happening, and what do we know about the principles of ranking this search engine at the moment?
Why Google is keeping it secret
Google has recently been heavily criticized by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who accused the company of hiding data about its algorithms. Its main argument was the transparency of all processes required for the harmonious functioning of society. Daily work with search shapes our behavior, and if we do not know about the mechanisms that influence it, this can negatively affect our interaction with the outside world.
However, in Google’s defense, it can be said that the data about the algorithms is not hidden enough to harm society. There are two good reasons for this.
Firstly, the algorithms developed by Google are the property and patent of the company, which, in turn, is the leader in the search market. If its competitors have free access to the projects on which everything rests, they can easily implement them in their work and go on a par with the largest search engine. Secondly, over the entire existence of ranking algorithms, we’ve seen how easy it is to turn good promotion tactics into spam and fraud. If Google publishes all the information about its search algorithms, it will be much easier for attackers to find weaknesses in them and wreak havoc on the results.
Where do we get information from
So if Google doesn’t talk about its principles of ranking, how do SEOs and private optimizers know how to increase it?
- Google public statements. Don’t exaggerate – Google doesn’t keep its webmasters completely in the dark. Yes, the company does not want to open one hundred percent, but, at the same time, its representatives are always willing to talk about the basic principles of the algorithms. For example, the team at the largest search engine has long since released a document describing how Google ranks page quality. Also, users always receive an official comment from the developers with each update of the algorithm (large – required) with an attached list of actions for webmasters.
- Research. If you read the history of the release of Google algorithms, which was published by the resource Moz, you will find there dozens of small updates that company representatives were silent about and, moreover, sometimes refused to recognize. How does the SEO community know these updates were actually happening? There are a number of services like Moz Cast that track changes to search results pages over a period of time. When a site’s rankings start to change dramatically, it is a sign of a change in algorithms. Some in the community are experimenting by testing two different tactics on two different pages and tracking their further rankings.
- Experience and intuition. Finally, after years of trial and error, you can already rely on your experience and intuition. It often happens that every time on the eve of and during updates, the same things happen naturally, and certain conclusions can be drawn from them.
What do we know
So what do we know about Google’s search algorithms at the moment?
- The basics. We know about the main goal of the largest search engine: to provide users with the best and highest quality results for their queries. To do this, Google ranks them in SERPs according to their relevance (how well the topic is covered) and authority (how respected and trusted the source is).
- Key ranking factors. In addition to all of the above, we know which factors are most influencing the ranking of our pages. We learned about some of them directly from Google docs for webmasters, the rest were guessed as a result of multiple experiments.
- Fluctuations in search results. As I said before, jumps in rankings directly indicate changes in algorithms. As a rule, they are preceded by official statements by Google about the intention of the company to change something. Thus, if something like this happens in the SERP, we can always find a logical explanation for this.
Although we do not know any details about how Google’s algorithms work, we have all the information we need to make our sites better and increase their ranking potential. If you do not understand how to do this, refer to the official documentation of the largest search engine and read about the experiments of influential representatives of the SEO community – I assure you, you will quickly get up to speed.