Every day, billions of people come to Google with a search. Some search for local Chinese food gems while others search for how to repair a water-soaked phone. Whatever your search, Google provides tailored results in milliseconds to answer your exact question. But how can Google give such accurate search results?
Google completes its search results process by ranking existing content. This is done through a comprehensive process of analyzing five key factors to determine Google search rankings. Let’s dive into each of them!
Google begins by ranking search results based on the meaning of your query. To get relevant results, Google first must establish what you’re searching for to find your search intent. To do this, Google builds language models to analyze how to get you the most useful information. This process is done through a few simple steps where google adjusts things like spelling mistakes and uses their synonym system.
As a system that took over five years to develop, the synonym system significantly improves search results by over 30% across all languages. For example, you may search “how to change a headlight,” but the manufacturer has written, “how to replace a headlight.” Google recognizes the words and their intent to automatically connect you to the content you’re searching for, regardless of your word choice.
Next, Google analyzes the relevance of content. To measure whether results contain information helpful to what you are searching for, relevance is tested in a few ways. To begin, Google looks at keywords. If a keyword appears in a web page’s heading, body, or text, the content is likely more relevant.
In addition, Google also looks at content relevancy. For example, when you search for “Coffee,” you likely hope to see content that is considered relevant to your query in additional ways. Google may display different things, such as pictures of coffee, videos of a freshly brewed cup, or lists of different types of coffee beans.
Google will also analyze search results for “keyword stuffing.” Keyword stuffing refers to the practice of overusing keywords on a webpage in an attempt to increase the sites ranking on Google. For example, if you search for “Tacos,” you likely do not want to land on a webpage that has “taco” written 100 times. To avoid this, Google will identify keyword stuffing and flag the content.
After analyzing content for its meaning and relevance, Google will then identify its quality of content. Google completes this process by surveying signals to decide which content shows expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. One of the ways Google measures this is through other websites linking or referring to that specific content. This demonstrates that the information is well-trusted and therefore is a good source.
Google also uses aggregated feedback through its search quality evaluation process. Here they further filter how the system decides the quality of information. This is a process that Google is constantly working through as thousands of new content hits the internet every second.
Next, Google will scan the usability of content. Content will rank higher when it’s user-friendly. For instance, a website with content that has mobile accessibility, quick loading times, and page experience aspects will rank higher in Google search results.
In addition, webpages that have different accessibility features will also increase usability of webpages. In this Google blog update, Google considers features like their read-aloud functions or image alt text to effectively evaluate a webpage’s usability.
Lastly, Google will look at context and settings. Considering information such as your location, search history, and search settings, Google will list content that is most useful and relevant to you. Suppose that you search “Public Transportation” in a suburb. As a result, you will likely see local transits such as bus systems. Whereas, if you were in New York, you’d see results for the Subway or Taxis. Google uses your location to display results that are most helpful to you.
Google will also use your search settings and activity to derive results most relevant to your search. For example, if you search for “Chinese Food Near Me,” Google will tailor your results to nearby, highly-ranked restaurants as opposed to showing you results for Chinese food recipes.
Additionally, Google makes recommendations on what they think you may be interested in based on your language settings and search history. Let’s say you often search “Soccer” on Google. As a result, if you type “Liverpool” into Google, you will likely see results for the Premier Soccer Team, Liverpool FC, as opposed to results pertaining to the city of Liverpool.
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