The marketers and digital advertising experts have been successful in decoding some of the different ways Google’s algorithms work, but there is no detailed diagram to explain the methods an algorithm uses to crawl and rank the websites.
Google has spent many years improving the algorithm that provides you with millions of matching results within microseconds when you type a word or phrase. This is not an overnight achievement. And while most of the core factors are still kept confidential, you can get an understanding of the basics.
1. Hummingbird – a name assigned to the overall Algorithm
Google alters its core algorithm with different programs and codes and every major update has its own name.
For example, we all have experienced the abrupt changes in SERPs due to Panda, Penguin, Pigeon, etc. Then, in 2013, Google merged all previous changes into a single update and called it Hummingbird. This removed the need to identify each separate updates, as the overall algorithm is now known under this single name that groups the entire rules and guidelines for webmasters.
2. The algorithm was developed to eliminate spam websites
Google has a client-centered approach when it comes to its search engine. It has to provide an improved user experience so that clients can easily use it. So, right from the very first day, Google developed its algorithm to remove spam content, which not only manipulates search results for the end users but it also deviatesx the target community of its sponsors.
This is the core reason Google makes regular and frequent changes to the way it indexes and ranks websites, so it can provide a constructive search experience.
3. Hummingbird helped Google understand websites
With the hummingbird update, the Google algorithm was empowered to understand synonyms and semantics and how websites use them. It also helped the search bots to know different words the users search for when looking for a product or service.
This facilitated semantic search, which allowed users to get results matching their words, as well as the meaning of the phrases they searched. This also enabled Google to interpret the meaning of the search phrases and retrieve the best possible results for them.
4. Google frequently changes the algorithm
According to the Moz marketing community, Google has performed 500-600 small changes to its core algorithm to help users find things easily. These modifications are not generally made public, although major core changes are reported and discussed openly.
Since the very first day, Google has been working on improving search results. Initially, the users were less prone to search products and services on the internet, which is why few changes were made. Moz reports that Google has undergone 140 modifications since 2000, in addition to the minor ones. Furthermore, in the early years, fewer modifications were required due to the limited number of users, whereas in later years, the number of changes increased as the number of users and clients increased.
5. PageRank was named after Larry Page, Google founder
PageRank technology was introduced into the algorithm so that Google could easily rank pages – and named after Larry Page, one of the founder members of Google.
6. There is a term called Google Dance
The term Google dance defines the fluctuation in the search engine results of websites. Any website that pursues higher ranking in the search results against their core search queries has to account for such moves when the rankings are not stable. The minor increase or decrease in ranking is normal. But when these results significantly move from a page to another, it is considered keyword dancing.
Search engine optimization is not only meant to help achieve the highest possible ranking, but retaining that rank is also important. The retention is achieved through quality backlinks, content-based strategies, and connecting with high authority websites.
7. There’s no formal procedure to name an algorithm
Google has the tradition of naming algorithm updates – including Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird updates. Although you might think that the update carries an attribute that connects it to that specific animal or bird, Moz reports that there is no formal process to naming an update, and that no reasons have been specified as to why such name is adopted.
In fact, the names are there just to differentiate the latest update from the previous one, as spending a lot of time in deciding a name is not productive at all.
8. Algorithms are smart enough to scan images
Because of deep changes and the continuous struggle to provide matching results, Google has empowered its algorithm with cloud vision API technology. This helps search robots evaluate the content of images.
This technology can identify objects, persons, animals, buildings, facial expressions, and lots of other factors within the images, which makes it one of the remarkable stepping stones towards the implementation of virtual intelligence.
9. Searches are evaluated by humans as well
In addition to robotic evaluation, Google carries out around 40,000 examinations through human evaluators to filter searches and improve results. This is done by individuals who determine the relevancy and usefulness of a website against the search queries.
If you want to better understand how evaluators determine the effectiveness of a website, there are resources out there to help you. For people who want to work as evaluators, as well as marketers and web developers, these resources can help you avoid common mistakes that can result on your website being removed from the search results.
**About the Author: Simon Walker has more than seven years of experience in eCommerce development & consultancy. He currently works for FME Extensions, a Magento custom development company, where he has developed several Magento extensions and themes. He also consults with businesses to help them increase their online exposure and reach. You can reach him on Twitter and Facebook.