Gain valuable insights into Google’s search engine algorithm with these seven findings that dive into how Google determines website rankings today and how their algorithm might affect SEO.
Search results are designed to meet the specific search terms, search queries, and desired information.
These seven insights illustrate how to use what we know about Google’s algorithms to construct a winning SEO and content strategy.
Patents and research papers released by Google are helpful in formulating ideas.
Insight 1: Follow the Correct Intent
Some content writing systems use the analysis of the top ten to thirty web pages to mine high-ranking websites and use the results to generate quality content writing and keyword ideas.
I have heard that information from several people who have tried the software, and they have told me that it doesn’t always assist. Because that is certainly not surprising, as it would result in a noisy dataset that is erroneous and of limited value.
Because every query involves many user intents, it’s difficult to discern the intent.
Google handles this by displaying the top-recommended web pages related to the most common user intentions.
For example, the researchers address the role of user intent in deciding which results to present first, as seen in the following research study on automatically classifying YouTube channels (PDF).
To make the point more clear, when the author uses the word “entity,” he or she is talking about things like people, places, and things.
The search terms used to arrive at the Wikipedia page for a particular entity were analyzed to develop a mapping of names to entities.
A particularly creative way to present this information in tables, like the one shown above, that use different headings to map the names Jaguar to a number of things, such Jaguar automobile (at around 45%) and Jaguar animal (at roughly 35%).
The report found that 45% of Jaguar-related web searches are for information on the car, while 35% are for information about the animal.
This represents an attempt to understand the intentions of site visitors based on popularity.
Here is the conclusion: If the pages you’ve created are designed to sell a product, and the most popular pages focus on the product itself, then it is probable that the users’ primary aim for that keyword is to learn how to build that thing, rather than where to buy it.
When thinking about this insight, it’s possible that fresh information is required to address the “how to do” hidden question contained in the search query.
Insight 2: Link Ecosystem Has Changed
It was at its highest point about twelve years ago when blogging was popular. The content was being churned out and links were being created in order to help search engines identify sites of relevance.
It is no longer the case, and it is unknown whether that has affected the ranking signal that Google utilizes. This is quite crucial to consider.
Insight 3: Link Drought Link Building Strategy
Due to the dwindling amount of freely available natural connections, it’s time to reassess the strategy of frantically obtaining valuable anchor text and an abundant supply of links.
It is unlikely that you will be asked to include a link to your site, but when you are asked, a freely given link that is relevant in terms of anchor text is valuable.
Moving away from the outdated traditional link building that prioritizes anchor text and guest posting may be in order (which today means paid links).
Instead, connecting with relevant organizations and some educational institutions may be advantageous.
Despite if outreach produces links, more attention must be paid to outreach nowadays. Just be patient with the traffic.
Insight 4: Search Results Show What People Want to See
While walking through a supermarket cereal aisle, have you ever noticed how many sugary cereal options are available? It’s hard to overestimate the value of satisfying a user. Many people anticipate seeing sugar bomb cereals in the cereal section of the supermarket, while supermarkets go out of their way to meet the user’s needs.
When I see Fruit Loops in the cereal aisle, I always wonder who the heck consumes that. A lot of people are expecting to see the box on the shop shelf, which is why it is there.
It’s the same as the supermarket, providing the same thing for customers. Like that cereal aisle, Google shows results that people will be satisfied with.
In order to help newbies learn, it’s necessary to display basic 101 level answers. For instance, if we present something extremely bigoted and distressing, it is to create an emotional response.
Another such case occurred in 2009 when Google had to publicly apologize for displaying an altered image of First Lady Michelle Obama whenever someone Googled her name.
What was the point of Google showing that result? As a result, many individuals who performed the Google search for “Michelle Obama” discovered an image of her that resembled a monkey instead of an actual person.
To gauge user happiness, click-throughs and other user data revealed that’s what users wanted to see. This confirms Google’s intent-based algorithm awarded it to them.
Don’t you still get a sugar crash after eating cereal from the supermarket? Those kinds of outcomes are typical. I call it a “Fruit Loops algorithm,” since it generates content that matches user expectations.
Google uses the term “relevant results” to refer to fulfilling user intent. Showing pages that contain the terms that a user types used to mean search engine optimization (SEO). To state the website that the majority of users anticipate seeing is now interpreted as “display the webpage”.
To put it simply, the search results pages are equivalent to the aisles of your supermarket’s cereal department. I am merely stating an observation, not making a criticism.
Using a supermarket analogy, I believe it’s beneficial to consider the search results as an aisle in the store and the popularity of different cereal types. This may improve your content approach.
Insight 5: Expand the Range of Content
Google’s search results tend to prioritize information that consumers are more likely to expect to see.
To this day, Google’s search results feature YouTube videos because of this. Most folks like to witness that.
In other words, it’s why Google features highlighted snippets, and it’s what the majority of mobile phone users want nowadays.
A common complaint is that Google’s search results favor YouTube videos, however, that statement is only partially correct. There’s plenty of demand for video material. It helps people learn new things, particularly the how-to variety. The reason why Google displays it is because of that.
There is, indeed, a bias in search results. Although it’s an indication of users’ bias, not Google’s, this is an example of how bias manifests.
What should your internet strategy be if your users have a predisposition in favor of YouTube videos?
Build more links to your content? Should you respond by shifting to different types of content, which are people’s primary requests in this example, videos?
For example, if you notice search results are putting more emphasis on a particular type of information, adjust your production efforts to focus on that type of content.
By learning to read the room using what Google is ranking, you may get a better understanding of what customers want.
Insight 6: Drops in Ranking and NLP
Drop in ranking occasionally occurs when Google interprets search queries differently.
The Google search algorithm has included Natural Language Processing (NLP) in recent years, and it influences what Google believes users are searching for when they search.
Let’s use the previous example. Sixty percent of the pages have informational content at the top, with just thirty percent commercial content near the bottom of the top 10 results.
There was nothing wrong with the sites that Google believed should have remained, but how it interpreted user intent had changed.
Rather than trying to “repair” commercial sites by increasing the number of links, disavowing connections, or introducing new keywords, a better approach is to focus on site content instead.
Trying to improve something that is fine as it rarely helps.
When it comes to identifying why a site lost rankings, looking at the search results ahead of time can be useful.
Everything appears to be in order. However, adjustments may be required.
When you see your site’s ranks have fallen, check with Google to see what it’s now ranking for.
It’s possible that your website could have declined because of a change in the type of material that is now ranking instead of because of something that’s wrong.
Maybe something has to be changed.
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