The term ‘algorithm’ is one that can send shivers through anyone who doesn’t quite understand just what they do. An algorithm is essentially a set of instructions needed to solve or problem or complete a task, usually for a computer. Essentially, an algorithm will tell a computer or device how to go about solving a problem or set of problems or to reach a certain outcome. One of the biggest and most well-oiled algorithms you might not even realise you utilise every day is Google’s search result algorithms. Without these, users would never get the results they need without potentially hours of search. Through clever SEO techniques, sites are able to show off their relevancy and value to Google’s crawlers to sit comfortably at the top of page one – but what signals are Google’s algorithms looking for? We’re exploring in more depth below.
If you own a website or follow any digital news, the term SEO will be a familiar one to you. SEO techniques are often the power behind Google’s top-ranked sites, and understanding the ins and outs of SEO best practicescan give any sight the boost they need to reach that much sought after top spot. Google’s algorithm has distinct signals that it is looking for to deem a site worthy of the very top spot and there are over 200 of them, but some are more important than others. Here are some of the most important:
If there was ever a ranking signal to shake up how a business forms their website, Google’s announcement that they were rolling out their new mobile-first indexing this year was most definitely it. What this essentially means is that a business’s site mustbe mobile friendly, or have a mobile friendly version. What do we mean by mobile-friendly, exactly? In short, you’ll need to make sure your content, design, meta data, site speed and more are all ready for mobile as Google have begun to crawl mobile sites first and desktop sites if a mobile site isn’t available.
In order to rank highly within Google, a site needs to hold relevancy. This includes everything from relevancy of keywords, to relevancy of backlinks. If your site isn’t relevant, Google is likely to push it further down the rankings in favour of a site with up-to-date content and contextual relevancy as a whole.
Content on a site must be of a high quality, high value and ultimately high relevance. The digital world is full to bursting point with content, but not all of it is good and as a result, Google is searching for better content to rank higher. If your content is stuffed with keywords, seems spammy or is simply of a low quality, you’re unlikely to reach the top spot. The term ‘content is king’ has never been so relevant.
Meta descriptions, titles, site speed and that all-important mobile friendliness are all ranking signals a site cannot ignore if they want to reach the top spot. Google’s algorithms seek out sites that load in 2 seconds or less, are optimised for smart phones, and have keyword rich – but not spammy! – meta descriptions, titles and even URLs. Google’s algorithm is designed to provide searchers with relevant content for their search queries, so having keywords within your meta data will ensure it’s picked up.
The RankBrain Update
Google introduced RankBrain as part of its Hummingbird algorithm in order to improve its overall effectiveness in quite the innovative fashion – through machine learning. This update had made Google even more confident in analysing search results and making links between words to ensure even the strangest of search queries are given relevant results. This is making it more important then ever for businesses and webmasters to include long tail keywords and relevant content to ensure they appear in this search terms too.
Your backlink profile is designed to build up trust flow and trust citation – two factors of your site that Google’s algorithm will undoubtedly be looking at. A healthy backlink profile of natural links from relevant and trustworthy sites can increase a website’s trust flow and improve citation. Google’s algorithms are ultimately all about trust and if a business can prove that their website is worthy of that trust through ‘recommendations’ in the form of backlinks, then it’s more likely to rank higher in Google’s SERPs.
Do Any Other Industries Benefit From Algorithm Signals?
Forex trading in particular uses signals to help traders make those all-important decisions regarding their possible buys and sells and algorithms can help pick up and utilise these signals to their fullest. The algorithms in use tend to ‘generate’ signals by closely scrutinising existing charts and current trade trends. These algorithms act not too unlike a human trader would in what they’re looking for, but with the added benefit of not having to deal with the emotional side of things. Instead, there’s clear cut rules to follow that can’t be deviated from because of nerves or hesitation. The signals are passed on to the trader and will advise them whether or not to make an investment. For beginners or frankly for anyone looking to make a valuable investment, these algorithms are truly invaluable.
Artificial intelligence doesn’t tend to run off of one single algorithm, but AI technology utilises signals and outcomes to better predict and provide the appropriate response as a result. While algorithms have been fairly clear-cut in terms of instruction in the past, developments and improved engineering is making it possible to turn our machines and devices smarter, giving them the opportunity to better cater to our search queries, our requests and even our talking and writing styles when you consider voice and writing recognition. The possibilities are endless in this case, making algorithms as we know them not quite as simple as we might initially think!
The future of algorithm and the signals that algorithms pick up will ultimately differ depending on technological advances and demand in general. With Google releasing updates on a regular basis and our lives becoming more and more digital by the day, the need for automated and smart technologies is growing, so watch this space!