Understanding How Google’s Search Algorithm and Ranking System Affect Brand Visibility

Getting on Top: Google’s Algorithm

How does it work?

For years, Google has been using its proprietary program PageRank to sift through countless webpages and decide which of them to show in the search results and in what order. This ranking system is based on more than 200 factors – including keywords, how old the site is, responsiveness – that ultimately scores the relevance of your site for Google’s end users. The higher you score, the higher the chance of getting on top of search engine results pages (SERPs).

Additionally, Google revealed the top three factors that contribute to your PageRank score: links, content quality, and its newest AI program RankBrain.

Google revealed the top three factors that contribute to your PageRank score: links, content quality, and its newest AI program RankBrain..

Backlinks as Votes

Backlinks are the backbone of any good SEO. Backlinks are hyperlinks from other sites that connect to your site. PageRank treats these backlinks as popularity votes. The more websites citing you as a relevant source means you must be a credible site. But it’s not a one-to-one correspondence. How Stuff Works reports that high-ranking webpages cast heavier votes than low ranking ones. Also, the less backlinks contained in the pages, the more points their links contribute. This ensures that votes counted by PageRank rely on the quality of the links rather than the quantity.

The most effective backlink strategy is still creating quality content that’s relevant to users. Collaborative projects and partnering with credible sites can boost your brand’s visibility.

The most effective backlink strategy is still creating quality content that’s relevant to users.

Creating Quality Content

Google’s SERPs are shifting to end-user optimization more than ad monetization.

Three years ago, Google announced the launch of its new AI program RankBrain. In the same way you want people to stay on your site, Google wants people to keep using it as their search engine – that’s what RankBrain does. It scores your page relevance based on how many users click on your site when they search a keyword. RankBrain also scores the users’ dwell time on your page – how long they stay, and your bounce rate – how many users decided to stay for more than 3 seconds.

The higher the organic clicks the higher the Google ranking.

Frequently updating your site with relevant and helpful content will result in higher dwell time and lower bounce rate.

Changing Brand Awareness Strategies

Most internet users are now searching Google on mobile devices. In the last few years, Google has been demoting sites with slow loading JavaScript and large image files, as they aren’t mobile-friendly. Google observes that by the time the page has loaded, the users have already clicked off the site. Faster loading time for mobile users means lower bounce rates.

This shift also means short and easily digestible content are preferred over long and complex articles.

Another thing brands consider nowadays is voice search optimization. You can use Google’s Speakable program to check how your brand ranks when users search using their voice.

Google also uses these programs in ranking pages even in its pay-per-click business. That’s why Design Positive advises that technical enhancements in SEO can give you higher rankings and optimize brand awareness campaigns.

All this points to how much online awareness now plays an important part in a brand’s strategy. Speaking at a JP Morgan retail conference, Gap President and CEO Art Peck enumerated the importance of creating quality content to retain loyal customers: “If you look at the difference between a customer who’s casually engaged and one who is really deeply engaged in our brands across channels, it’s at least 10 times the value of that [first] customer.” It is for this reason that digital advertising has overtaken all other forms of marketing. In fact, an in-depth look into the marketing industry by Maryville University notes that digital advertising spending will grow to $335 billion by 2020. It already surpassed television advertising in 2017. The internet has now become the primary way for brands to attract and sell to customers, and the importance of Google’s search algorithm and ranking system is a clear indication of the future.

Indeed, a brand that doesn’t deploy effective SEO strategies will be quickly left behind.

Article written exclusively for spencerbrenneman.com

Spencer Brenneman, LLC
© 2020

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