How does Google rank websites?

Written by: Ryan Walsh

Date: 30/12/2023

It’s not just a question that business owners will ask themselves- it’s also something that marketing agencies like ourselves constantly have to consider. That is How does Google rank company websites?

The reason for this is vital for a lot of businesses to get onto page one of Google. However that task in itself, well its not easy. Google employs complex algorithms, which don’t stay static and unchanged- they are constantly being improve.

So Google is constantly adjusting its algorithms, sometimes making rather small changes, sometimes on the other hand making huge changes, called “Google’s Core Updates”.

It’s unknown how many algorithm engineers work on perfecting the algorithm at their HQ, with a business the size of Google, its quite safe to say they have vast resources constantly perfect its algorithms.

So therefore us SEO consultants, we are kept on our toes. We have a very complex job on our hands, we have to try and improve our clients SEO as far as we possibly can. However we are dealing with a Rubik’s cube and constantly changing. It doesn’t stay the same for long, the algorithm is shifting, and that what our SEO team love, that’s staying on top of, and learning how Google’s algorithm is changing, evolving and improving.

It does boil down to what are called “on and off-page SEO factors”

The simplest explanation we can offer for how search engine optimisation works and how Google ranks websites, is Google works out how strong the businesses on-page and also off-page SEO factors are.

This can range from backlinks, to how good the company has internally linked its pages.

Now this explanation is way too simplistic, because in reality there are over 200 ranking factors which Google’s algorithms takes into account and considers, when working out where to rank a business.

Then there’s the matter of whether that page or blog post, can even be placed in the Google index itself. Is it good enough to even be indexed? Because for Google to even rank that page, in its index, it has to be a certain quality through to even be placed on the index.

Googlebot will first “crawl and index” that page, then Google’s algorthim will assess the quality of the page, is it good quality?
A lot of pages are immediately deemed as “low-quality” and “spam”, and therefore never make it into Google index.

 

Google’s Algorithm Explained

So how does Google rank websites?

This is fairly complicated to explain, yet it can be broken down into different parts to help us to explain it more simply:

Googlebot and crawling and indexing

So you have to think about is Googlebot a bit like a spider, so its like a giant spider which is roaming around trying to find an insect. However it’s Googlebot job to find new content marketing and new websites to “index”.

Googlebot will then assess the quality of the website or the content marketing, and whether it’s worthy of adding to the index. If it’s clear that the work is high-quality and follows Google E-EAT, (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness) then it’s likely to be added to the index.

Google’s algorithm

Then basically Google’s algorithm job to assess how good is that piece of content marketing is?

For example Google’s algorithm will ask:

– Is the content marketing original?
– Is it well-written?
– Does it satisfy Google’s E-EAT?
– Are there any backlinks leading to that page?
– Is the dwell time high?
– Is the bounce rate low?

Then Google’s algorithm will decide where the page should rank, should it rank in the first 10 pages of Google? Should it be on page 1 of Google? Or should it for example be ranked on page 7 of Google?

Backlinks

It’s also important to remember that Google algorithm will decipher how many high-quality backlinks lead to that particular page or blog post.

If a page has a huge number of high-quality backlinks, or even just a few, from high quality sources, let’s say from the Independent Newspaper, this will help improve the businesses SEO.

That pages which earned a lot of high-quality links, which are sending a large amount of link equity through to that particular page, and that page is likely to rank much higher on Google.

Let’s say for example Ford, the car manufacturer release a new vehicle onto the market and they create a page explaining the benefits of owning a brilliant Ford vehicle.

It’s likely that that page is going to get a huge amount of incoming quality backlinks. The page is likely to have backlinks from numerous motoring journalists websites, such as Top Gear, various car magazines, such as WhatCar, as well as also car dealers based all throughout the country linking to that page.

These backlinks are therefore likely to be relevant, they are high quality, and they will be built in a white hat way, that page will soar up Google’s ranks and will most likely rank on page one of Google.

How does Google assess the quality of the page?

NLP, will or Natural Language Processing

What Google wants businesses to do is to publish a page which is very good quality, so that a shopper thinks that excellent information that is offered.

One of the ways that Google will do that is to natural language processing or “NLP” for short. Google, has a really good understanding of how sentences should be written, if they flow nicely and written to a high standard. Basically if they have been written for humans, and not just to try and improve the businesses search engine optimisation.

If on the other hand the company makes the mistake of trying to over optimise the sentence, with keyword stuffing it with keywords, this is a big mistake. It will lead to a Google Panda penalty.

Spam
Built into Google’s excellent algorithms, what are called “spam filters”, these have been enhanced and perfected over many years, to notice if the pages spam and low quality.

So, let’s say for example that the company hires the wrong digital marketing agency, and they keyword stuff a paragraph, will this could lead to a Google penalty.

Google’s algorithm uses over 200 various ranking factors

When you talk to most really good seo consultants, which are at the top of a game and well respected, they will often tell you not to focus overly on improving a business’s search engine optimisation- though this might seem odd at first but let us explain further.

The really good SEO consultants, such as the ones working for our prestigious and well-known agency, they will tell you that what you should do instead is focus on the quality of the work, offering a good U.X and offering brilliant customer service to the customer.

So just as you are let’s say you are within a shop, say John Lewis- everyone knows they offer absolutely fabulous high level of customer service to all their customers.

This is the mindset that you should adopt when you are enhancing your businesses search engine optimisation. That’s to say, offer good customer service, and offer high quality, super useful information. Then as more and more customers find you website is offer good customer service, and the following is likely to occur:

– The bounce rate will decrease
– The number of backlinks may increase
– The dwell time is likely to increase

 

Put yourself in your customers shoes
What you should do is put yourself in your customers shoes, and into offer the best customer service you possibly can.

 

User experience

When you go on various SEO company websites, they often talk about enhancing the businesses user experience.
To break that down what that actually means, and explain it in simpler terms, it just basically means making it easy for your customers to find the products and services they want to buy. As well as that offering the best possible customer service you.
So here are some of the ways you could improve your businesses user experience:

 

Content quality
You can offer a really high quality content marketing, which addresses commonly asked questions which your business frequently gets asked.

Backlinks

You could build quality backlinks, helping more people to find the content marketing. For example, lets say a company wish offers awards to solicitors, place you as their number one company in Wales, a lot of people are likely to click the link, and find your solicitors practice.

Page speed

It’s important that your website is superfast, and incredibly fast hosting might be expensive but in our opinion it’s worth every penny.

If the website is too slow, this is likely to contribute to your company’s bounce rate rapidly increasing, which when you talk to any good marketing agency, they will tell you that’s negative your businesses seo.

Mobile-friendliness

It’s important to make sure that you have a mobile version of your company website is well designed.

Domain authority

Work on improving your businesses domain authority, use the best and latest white hat seo methods to do this.

Major Google algorithm changes

Way back in 2011, Google launched “Panda Update” which cause a seismic change in terms of where many businesses rank. Websites with low quality, spam or poorly written content marketing were penalised sometimes overnight.
Some of these businesses might not have even recovered from that large algorithm update that was rolled out by Google. This has to be kept in mind, that you should look for shortcuts when trying to improve your businesses seo, instead don’t look for shortcuts, and instead only implement quality work.