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Understanding Googles Algorithm
What is the Google Algorithm?
An algorithm is a mathematical equation that uses certain information from your website in order to define its rankings. If you're looking for a printout of the specific equation Google uses to rank sites and how much each factor is weighed, this is not the place to get it. The actual algorithm used by Google is a secret, and will stay that way for as long as they can keep it. Although the specifics of the algorithm are not released at all, Google patented the basics of their algorithm, which makes it easily accessible to the public. If you would like to view the patent in all its splendor, simply search in whatever search engine you would like for the phrase "Google Patent."
This is a general overview of the general things this algorithm searches for, written in plain English for the average webmaster. This guide will go over some of the things Google's spiders are looking for, and how to utilize this knowledge in order to boost your rankings on the Google search engine. Keep in mind that while this guide is written specifically for staying on Google's good side in regards to placement in their search engine, the same tactics are definitely portable to the other major search engines such as Yahoo and MSN. Although Google's algorithm is extremely complex compared to those of Yahoo and MSN many of the same strategies still apply.
So, how does it work?
Basically, when a Google spider, or robot, finds your site a number of things are taken into consideration. Not only does this spider search through the content and links on your page, cataloguing keywords, page titles and descriptions, backward links, and meta tags as it goes along, it even looks through your whois information. Whois information is the information provided through your hosting company on who exactly owns the website, including name, telephone number, email address, physical address, how long your site is registered for, and more. To check the whois information on your site, as well as others, visit Complete Whois and type in the URL of the site you are checking information on.
All of these are major factors (yes, including your physical address and name and the duration of your registration on a particular domain name) in the algorithm. Therefore, it is extremely important to optimize every single part of your site, visible or invisible to the common browser.
Great, but what do we need to know the algorithm for?
Knowing the Google algorithm, or at least the basics of it, will give you an edge on your competitors by making you more likely to get higher rankings under desired keywords. In addition, you will receive more traffic from those listings, thereby increasing the chances for getting links to your website, adding further traffic. Through a few high listings on Google, or the other search engines for that matter, the sky is the limit when talking about traffic and potential sales or users.
For example, if you wanted to broadcast a new song over the radio, but only did so using old equipment, regardless of the quality of the song, your entire station could be drowned out by the larger broadcasting companies armed with new equipment and a larger range capability. Using the latest tools and tactics will keep you on top of the search engine listings, as well as put you on the cutting edge in regards to your website's capabilities.
It is almost painfully obvious that using the best tactics to get your website listed would, of course, produce better results than using outdated tactics and trying to acquire the same effect, even if you spend three times the amount of time promoting your site through these tactics. Quality is greater than quantity in today's internet.
Alright, then how can I use the algorithm to my advantage?
There are quite a few things to focus on when optimizing your site for the Google algorithm, but the most important ones would have to be inbound links to your site and good, relevant content. Other things come into play, such as click through rates, the frequency of updates to your site, the physical address listed in your whois information, technical and administrative contacts, your host's IP address, and the length of time your domain name is registered for. All of these things, although some are weighed more than others, have a serious impact on your rankings and on your PR (Google Page Rank).
Having a high volume of inbound links, or links coming from other related sites to your own, is king with Google, although there are specific "rules" you must follow to be sure that these links are counted as "suitable links." Get as many links back to your site as possible, but be sure these links are from related sites, or at least are in a category on their links page that is closely related to your own. Also, try to stay away from "FFA" pages, free for all listings pages with thousands of links on a single page, as these actually prove to be a detriment to your site in search engine listings. This would also include doorway or portal sites, which focus on having as many links to their site as they can, with as many keywords stuffed into the site as possible, as an alternative to real content.
Be sure to alter your text links slightly from time to time. Google's algorithm picks up on varied text links to your site much more than if they are all the same. This also helps to assure the spiders that your links were not spammed out to the sites you are listed on.
If having a multitude of links is #1 on your priorities list, then having a large selection of unique, relevant content should be #2. There are so many benefits to having a lot of original content on your site that it's hard to list all of them. The most obvious would be the amount of keywords and phrases that are picked up by the search engines spidering your site. Original content also helps to prove that your site is not a "spammer" who simply stealing articles and content from other sites to attract more visitors. Increased traffic is another major benefit from having a lot of relevant content, which is never something to scoff at.
Overall, unique, relevant content is as much a requirement for getting high listings as getting high quality links to your site, if not more so. Focus on both equally, and make sure both your content and your links page are updated monthly at the very least. Ideally, you would want a high volume of incoming links being added daily, as well as site updates with fresh content, but if you don't have the time or energy for the constant writing and editing of your site, you should still be okay. Just remember, you will only get out of the algorithm what you put into it.
Other Optimization Tips
Generally, just try and be careful on how you promote your website, and how it appears to Google in the first place. If you keep your site clean and updated often and your whois information current, you should have no problem getting decent listings on desired keywords. Just make sure your site in no way resembles a Spam site, either through falsified contact information or physical address, or through the amount of keywords used on each page, or having your domain name registered for only one year.
For more detailed information on strategies and tips for utilizing the Google Algorithm, refer to Advanced Uses for the Google Algorithm.
You can see other articles by Claude Beavers on this topic at: SuperFaster.com - Free Search Engine Optimization Articles and Resources
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