Whenever you see the search results pages of a search engine, aren’t you amazed at how the system works to provide relevant results? Showing appropriate search results is the work of complex search algorithms—a set of instructions for making calculations or solving problems. In this case, it’s a set of instructions to calculate which web page offers the most relevant content in relation to the keyword sent.
Considering that there are at least two billion active websites online, this is by no means an easy task. Search algorithms are responsible for identifying, filtering, ranking, and presenting available information in a fast and efficient manner.
If you want to understand how search algorithms come up with the most relevant information to online users, read on. This article will show you the basics of search algorithms, including how they filter and rank search results.
The Fundamentals of Search Algorithms
Knowing how search engine algorithms work is critical to search engine optimization (SEO), one of the main elements of digital marketing.
Industry sources say that search engines often modify their ranking categories, but the main components are static: site authority, search intention (of the user initiating the query), page relevance, and reliability of the sources.
There are other important factors, too, such as backlinks, metadata, mobile device-friendliness, and so on. These factors fall under two categories known as off-site and on-site SEO.
Either way, algorithms go through the following stages to deliver search results:
- Analyzing keyword and search intention
- Screening of appropriate pages
- Ranking of relevant sources
- Presentation of results
Let’s take a closer look at the first and third stages in order to learn how algorithms deliver the most relevant information to you.
1. Algorithms Assess Webpage Relevance
Search engines also instruct its systems to analyze web pages as it scans them. This is where your SEO efforts come to fruition. As mentioned, algorithms consider several factors before ranking web pages and presenting the results to you.
Search engines match the search keywords to the words included in the webpage. The matching keywords should appear in any part of the page, most notably the body and the headings.
Simply put, search engines work similarly with aggregator sites like Mytrendingstories and other websites that search and rank trending stories on the web.
2. Algorithms Factor in User Search Settings
Algorithms also consider factors such as user’s location, search history, and search settings to present more relevant results.
For instance, if you’re from the United States and you type in ‘St. Petersburg,’ search engine results will show pages about St. Petersburg, Florida first before moving on to show information about the breathtaking St. Petersburg, Russia.
Similarly, if you key in the name of your favorite television series as well as episode number, and your history shows that you’ve searched for (and viewed) the 3rd episode, the engine places episode 4 on the top results.
3. Algorithms Analyze User Intention
Through algorithms, search engines are able to analyze the reason for the query. Industry reports reveal that the world’s most widely-used search engine processes approximately two trillion searches a year. This means millions of searches are done on a daily basis globally.
Algorithms are tasked to literally read between the lines and understand what the search is all about before moving on to look for relevant results. This includes checking for spelling mistakes and matching query words with their synonyms.
Algorithms can also offer search results in specific languages or fresh content.
4. Algorithms Check for Content Quality
Search engines also audit indexed pages for reliability and trustworthiness of the information or content. One of the ways that algorithms check for page authority is the number of people who have visited the page, left their comments, and the number of external pages that linked back to the page or cited it as a source.
Again, the parameters for content quality, site authority, or page credibility is being continuously changed and updated. Hence, your SEO strategies may need to be tweaked every now and then, for your site to stay relevant.
5. Algorithms Evaluate Web Page Usability
Algorithms also monitor the usability of web pages presented to their users. Search engines will also check how the users find the page content. Page likes, shares, and comments are a few of the methods used by algorithms to determine the usability and value of a webpage.
More than measuring user impressions, the system also evaluates the appearance of the page when portable devices are used to access it and how fast the page loads even for users with slow connections. Web owners then should consider mobile site friendliness and page loading as important factors in creating or improving their websites.
The Bottom Line
Search engines rely on algorithms to analyze search intent, evaluate page quality, user context, search engine, settings, usability, and relevance before ranking indexed pages and showing the most fitting results to the user. All of these processes are done in a lightning-fast manner.