Search Engine Algorithms

When doing SEO it’s important to be aware of the different types of search engine algorithms and how they can affect your website. In this post I will discuss algorithms in more detail and point out a few important things to be aware of.

This post isn’t going to delve into any mathematical break downs or anything too complicated. It’s more directed at building awareness that will help you avoid some potential pitfalls that newcomers are prone to.

Because the internet grows at an exponential rate search engines like Google use algorithms (essentially mathematical formulas and programming) to determine where to position sites in its database of rankings.

In the previous post in this series (On-page SEO) we discussed some of the different factors and best practices that help you better rank in search engines. The conclusions came as a result of understanding how the current search engine algorithms score websites and determine rank.

If you’re new to the game of SEO then don’t worry, most of what you need to know about algorithms is outlined clearly by Google and the SEO community. You’re not going to need an advanced degree in mathematics or even a calculator.

Although there are certain best practices and known facts about how the current algorithms work the actual formula and math behind these algorithms is not divulged to the general public. The reason for this is fear of search engine ranking manipulation.

Google does not want people abusing their search engine and filling it with spammy websites that offer little to no value. In fact, Google spends a great deal of resources to counter any type of manipulation.

The reason I bring this up is because the truth of the matter is that there is no one out there (except for a few internal employees) that know exactly how a search engine like Google works. Furthermore, search engine algorithms are constantly adjusted and refined and new algorithms can be introduced at any given time. Google is known to change their algorithm up to 500 times per year so the next time someone guarantees you page 1 rankings their either lying or are Einstein reincarnated.

Knowing this, it’s vitally important to not get caught chasing the algorithm. What do I mean by this? If you focus too much on trying to decipher and reverse engineer the algorithm you will find yourself fighting an uphill battle. Even if you manage to do so you will most likely lose any progress by the next algorithmic update.

Those who typically focus on chasing the algorithm fall into what’s referred to as “black hat seo.” The problem with black hat seo is that it involves doing all the wrong things that Google and other search engines are completely against. This typically yields fast short term results (hence its appeal), however, with time Google closes the loop holes and any progress as a result of these manipulative tactics is completely gone. If you’re someone who wants to build a business and is shooting for long term results then avoid anything black hat at all costs.

This doesn’t mean you should ignore the algorithms completely. You should definitely stay aware and keep up with new developments. What worked 3 years ago no longer works today and things that work today will likely not work the same way a few years from now. Adjusting your SEO strategy is part of the game. To keep up-to-date with Google algorithmic updates I highly recommend visiting this page:

At the end of the day focus on creating good content and provide as much value with your website as possible. Apply best practices but don’t get caught up in trying to reverse engineer or manipulate your way to the front page.  By following this very basic principle you will find most algorithmic updates will only help your rankings while those trying to game the system will find themselves needing to start over.

What Is SEO & How Does It Work? (Part 1)
How You Build Your Website Matters (Part 2)
On-Page SEO Factors & Best Practices (Part 3)
Search Engine Algorithms (Part 4)
Link Building Explained – Off Page SEO (Part 5)