Definition of a Search Engine Algorithm

Written by Nick Stamoulis

A search engine algorithm is a set of rules that search engines use to determine how important a web page is. Each search engine has its own set of rules. The rules determine if a web page is real or spam, if it has important information that people are looking for, and other factors. The algorithms used by the various search engines are not public knowledge, but they do have things in common, which include:

• Relevancy: Relevancy is one of the most important factors in how a webpage will rank in a search engine results page. Keywords and how they are used will be scanned by the algorithm and determined whether it is relevant. The location of keywords also decides how relevant a webpage is. For example, if a webpage has a keyword in the title and within the first few lines of content, the page is more likely to rank higher. If a keyword is used frequently, but avoids keyword stuffing, this will also help the webpage rank higher.
• Off-Page Factors: Off-page factors refer to things such as click-through rates and linking. These can both be an important indicator in determining how relevant a webpage is to users. If a webpage has a high click-through rate, it is deemed useful. While off-page factors can be more difficult for website creators to craft, they can determine ranking in the search engine algorithm.
• Individual Factors: Individual factors refers to the unique algorithm of each search engine. You’ve probably noticed that if you search the same query in Google and then in Yahoo!, you see different results. This is due to each search engines unique algorithm formula.

Google, as an example, has a process that ensures Search algorithms meet high standards of relevance and quality. Their process involves thousands of trained external Search Quality Raters and live tests. The Raters are to follow the strict guidelines that Google has laid out. These guidelines are available for the public to see. Google uses the following types of algorithms and search engine algorithm updates including:

• Panda: The Panda algorithm update assisted in judging, filtering, rewarding, and penalizing content based on certain characteristics.
• Penguin: The Penguin algorithm update judged links and addresses any spam issues. This algorithm requires data from other algorithms to do its job.
• Organizing algorithms
• Task-specific algorithms
And algorithms that collect data and put it into a context that a search engine results page that users will find helpful.

Search engine algorithms examine many characteristics of a website in order to rate and rank them. These can include the URL, content, external links, internal links, images, and speed of a website. The search engine algorithms decide on we will see the webpage results on the SERP.

A search engine algorithm is a complex algorithm that is used by search engines to determine the significance of web pages. With over 150,000,000 websites on the Internet, search engine algorithms are especially helpful for finding relevant websites.


Search Engine Algorithm Definition Sources:

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