How Google ranks web pages

Around 10 years ago the world wide web had plenty of search engines to choose from; AOL, Lycos, Yahoo, MSN and Ask Jeeves to name a few. The problem was, all of these were fairly basic. They would rank web pages for relevance based on how many times a word was mentioned on the page.

Then along came Google

Google’s big innovation was PageRank, named not because it ranks pages (although it does), but because it was invented by Larry Page.

Instead of simply looking at a page to estimate how relevant it was, it would also look at other pages and other websites to determine how trusted the website was. Each page was given a PageRank which was calculated by looking at how many other pages linked to it and how trusted those page were.

That was over 10 years ago. These days Google take into account over 200 factors when ranking pages in search results.

Trust signals

PageRank was the original signal that a website was trustworthy. It assumed that if lots of websites link to another website, it must be a trusted source of information. It didn’t take long for people to attempt to manipulate the system by paying for links from reasonably trusted websites. Search engines now fight back. They look for signals that a link is a sign of trust, rather than an attempt to manipulation the results.

Google has plenty of way to do this, here are a few:

While links seem to still be the most important method of gauging trust, Google is placing an increasing amount of importance on usage data (e.g. how long people spend on a website and how often they return to it) and social media signals (e.g. how many Facebook Likes, Tweets and Google +1s a page has).

Relevance signals

Search Engines also need to determine which pages are most relevant to the phrase being searched for. They take several things into account when doing this:

Learn how Tari can use relevance signals to improve your Google exposure.

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Google PageRank

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