What is a Search Algorithm and Why Does it Matter?

A search engine algorithm, typically referred to as simply an _algorithm, _is the process that search engines use to analyze the content within a web page and how valuable it is. The more valuable the content is deemed within a page for certain keywords and searches, the more likely that page is to rank amongst the highly-coveted first page of search results.

In this article, we’ll discuss how algorithms work, how it collects information, why it’s important to keep in mind when creating content, and how you can use it to your advantage. Let’s get to it!

How do algorithms work?

Typically, most search engines keep this information confidential as they don’t want users to exploit and incorporate shady tactics to rank higher. However, there are a few different techniques that we’re aware of how these search engines work behind the scenes:

1. Spiders & Crawling

Simply put, crawling is when a bot (commonly referred to as a “spider”) downloads various pages listed on your website. It’s unknown how often these bots revisit web pages, but a safe bet is every \~6 months or so. This is why it’s important to occasionally update evergreen pages on your website with fresh, updated content. It’s worth noting that if you have a website with a large number of individual pages, it may take a longer period of time for the search engines to crawl through your entire site.

2. Indexing

After a search engine has crawled your website, it begins to categorize the information it’s obtained. Once again, much of this process is confidential within the companies but in general, these search engines review the data the spider has collected and look for key indicators on the type of content within the site, and whether or not the content is relevant for certain keywords.

3. Ranking

Once your website content has been indexed, the algorithm begins to rank your content on where it should be displayed within the search engine results page (SERP). This is a crucial component and also where having a search engine optimization (SEO) plan can be beneficial. The search engine prefers to give preference to lengthier articles around 2,100-2,400 words in length. However, it’s worth noting that these articles should consist of quality content.

What can you do to improve your SERP ranking?

Now that you have a better understanding of how search engines collect and rank data within your websites, you may be wondering to yourself “How can I improve my SERP ranking?” Fret not, here are a few key takeaways that you can implement in order to start ranking higher and higher across various search engines.

1. Focus on creating quality content

While it is important to frequently post new content on your website, more effort should go into creating lengthier pieces of quality content rather than shorter articles. It’s worth noting that you should maintain a decent variety of both shorter and longer articles – shorter articles tend to perform better when shared on social media.

2. Obtain backlinks from other sites

By offering to write a guest blog on other sites for a reduced price or free, you’re usually to negotiate including one or two backlinks to your own website. This is especially impactful if the website you’re guest blogging for has a large amount of domain authority.

Note: Domain authority is a ranking of how likely a web page is to appear on the first page of the search engine. The higher the Domain authority, the more likely it is to rank in the top of search results for a given key phrase or keyword.

3. Occasionally update evergreen content

It’s common for search engines to reward those that keep their site updated with updated and refreshed content. While it may sound difficult to periodically update a webpage, consider starting small with only one or two portions of your website.

For example, if you own a home cleaning business, consider building out a page of your website with tips, tricks, and recommendations on how clients can maintain the cleanliness of their home in-between home visits. If you come across a new product or technique that works well, consider updating the page to reflect these changes of recommendations.

4. Post frequently on social media

Posting on social media will play some role in how you rank across search engines. This is mostly due to the fact that many of the heavy hitters across social media (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.) have a high domain authority that makes it more likely for them to rank on the first page of search results.

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