Search Engine Algorithm
It’s time to look at the Search Engine Algorithm. This is probably the most discussed element of SEO. It is extremely important to know what the search Engines actually do to list your site against somebody else’s. So this section explores the details of the algorithm so you can gain an understanding of what SEO will work now and what will work in the future.
To begin the search engine algorithm is based on On Page and Off Page factors. We will be discussing these two factors in later sections of this module, but what I want to give you now is an overview. Search engines look at your website and factors relating to your website in a mathematical way. All of your great graphics and fancy functionality will do you no good in terms of getting you to the top of a search engine. The aim of the mathematical algorithm is to work out the relevance and authority of your website pages.
As they are fundamental to your SEO and rank, let’s focus on those two words, first of all; relevance. When somebody searches for “Blue Duffel Coat”, it’d be no good if Google was to supply them with a website that talked about Blue Whales. People want relevant results and the search engines want to give relevant results.
The Search Engines make their money from the paid listings. People will only pay for listing if others are using that search engine for the natural listings. We trust and use search engines that generate relevant results. So, the search engines have to make sure that your page is absolutely relevant to the keyphrase that somebody is searching for.
To make sure that you are relevant, the Search Engine will do is look through all of the text on your page. It will look at the code, strip out certain elements and consider, “Is this website relevant?” In order to do that, it looks at the keyphrases that you’ve placed on certain parts of the page and compares it with the rest of your page and the rest of your site.
There are always people with the technical skills to con the search engines. Due to this, there are regular changes to the algorithm as technology improves. They’re trying to fish out the people who are trying to con the system. You need to use natural, yet focused optimisation, which is based on your keyword research and provides good and relevant content for your website visitors. In focusing on this you stand the best chance of progressing up the listings and minimise the effects of a change to the algorithm.
The next thing to talk about is authority. Search Engines are looking at the links to a website. The search engines see links in the same way as votes. A high volume of links from reputable sources informs the Search Engines that this is good value content.
This is why it important to regularly update your website with fresh, relevant content, including a blog or news page. As you start to build uplinks from other people linking to your website because of your great content, the search engines start to elevate your position within the rankings. Links from websites that have got a lot of authority themselves cast more of a vote for your website. But remember, those websites must be relevant, because what you’re looking for here is relevance and authority.
Social Signals have recently become a huge part of Off Page optimisation. Which is why an active presence (and of course relevant posts) on social media platforms can prove one source of good links back to your site.
It is important to note that the algorithm changes regularly and nobody actually has the exact details of what it is looking for. We do undertake research to provide an insight into what’s happening. We know it weighs up lots of factors on your page and off your page to work out whether you should be number one, by determining whether you are the website with the most relevance and the most authority. By focusing on these key factors, they are ensuring that they provide searchers with quality results.
What I encourage people to do is to not focus on what the search engine algorithm is today, as it will change. SEO is about putting a big tick in every box that both your website visitors and the search engine might value, so you stay ahead of the competition. With this focus you are less likely to be affected by future changes.
What I want you to do now, is start to build up how you can look at relevance and authority for your own website pages.