What Exactly is Google’s Algorithm And How To Use It To Your Advantage?

Did you know that there was a 33 million percent increase in the total number of websites since 1994? There are now more than 1.2  billion active websites online, providing you with more information than you could ever possibly need.

However, the sheer number of these websites isn’t always a good thing. Navigating through the billions of pages would take months, which isn’t particularly helpful if you’re trying to get an answer fast.

That’s where algorithms come in. They’re the frenzied internet searcher’s best friend, scanning millions, if not billions of websites in seconds to help you find exactly what you’re looking for.

So, what exactly are those algorithms, what do they do, why do they matter, and how do they affect your online business? Keep on reading to see all of your burning questions answered.

What are algorithms?

google's algorithm

An algorithm, simply put, is a series of complex codes that are designed for a specific purpose and usually able to work on their own. In terms of search engines, algorithms are codes that scan websites and their content in order to provide you with the information you were looking for.

What do they do?

Apart from scanning the web to find the content that best matches your search, these algorithms also scan websites in order to determine where they will rank on search engine result pages.

They continually scan every website out there according to a predetermined set of filters, and come up with a unique ranking for each of those websites.

Why do they matter?

Well, apart from being responsible for finding relevant results to search engine queries, these algorithms also determine where and how your website appears on search engine result pages (or SERPs as they’re often referred to).

They matter because they’re the thing that dictates the design and the content of your website, even more so than your target audience. Bending your website’s content around the algorithms of dozens of different search engines is out of reach even for large corporations and their million dollar websites, let alone a small business owner like yourself.

That’s why all of your search engine optimization efforts should be focused solely on Google and their incredibly complex and unique algorithm. To be fair, Google results are the ones that matter the most, and trying to conform to other types of codes is just a waste of time.

How does Google’s Algorithm work?

What exactly Google’s algorithm does is still very much a mystery. Major updates and changes are always announced and promoted, but the tiny tweaks to the code happen on a daily base and are kept a secret.

However, as secretive as the internet magnat is, we still know a lot of things about how their algorithm works. People have figured out by now what Google’s code reacts best to, and have based the entirety of the SEO industry around it.

We’re still not entirely sure how much weight these factors bear, but here are some of the main things these algorithms look for when scanning your website:

1. The age of your website

google's algorithm


The newer your website is, the less traffic it will generally have. Older websites exist thanks to the consistent traffic they receive, so this is a pretty important factor when ranking your website.

How to use it to your advantage:

 If you already have a website, try redirecting all of its traffic to a new address instead of starting from scratch. If you can’t do this, then your best bet is to promote your website around social media and blogs in order to increase its organic traffic and wait for it to rank better naturally.

2.Time on page

time on page - google's algorithm

Time on page is an SEO term used to describe the amount of time your website’s visitors spend on your page. This is in direct correlation with the age of your website, but is also closely tied to the quality of your content.

The more time people spend browsing around your website the more relevant it is, and therefore will almost always rank better.

How to use it to your advantage:

Provide fun, interesting and genuinely useful content to your visitors so they’re incentivised to spend more time on your page. You do that by adding videos, providing internal links with relevant info that lead your visitors to other pages on your website, or just by writing compelling text that will have your visitors stuck to your page for hours.


keywords - Google's algorithm

Google’s algorithm looks for keywords in the content of your website that are the most similar to the query typed in the search engine.

Specific, niche queries are always easier to rank in than for wide, general terms such as ‘NYC’ or ‘pizza’. The code searches for keywords in your page’s sitemaps, their meta descriptions, the alt text in your images and the text part of your content.

How to use it to your advantage:

Do a targeted keyword search using Google Ads keyword tool to find out what people search for the most in your niche. The tool will also give you suggestions related to your keywords and tell you how well you’d do by using them.

We suggest aiming for more specific, niche searches as you’ve got a much better chance of ranking high there. So, instead of stuffing your content with keywords such as ‘NYC’ or ‘pizzeria’, try aiming for a more specific search such as ‘artisan pizza Brooklyn’ or ‘family friendly pizzeria Soho’.

4. Location

location - google's algorithm

Another important factor Google’s code considers when ranking your website is your location in relation to the location of the searcher.

No point in displaying bike rentals in Adelaide when the person searching for them is located in Venice Beach, right?

How to use it to your advantage:

Always use geographically targeted keywords in your content. Make sure you mention the city you’re in at least a few times, as well as the neighborhood you’re in. It will help Google narrow down a specific search, and help you gain more local visitors.

5. Updates and maintenance

updates -google's algorithm

The top ranking websites for any query are often the ones that are updated the most often and are build on a platform or code that is regularly maintained.

A lack of fresh content makes these codes think that your information is outdated and that your content is less relevant.

How to use it to your advantage: 

Always make sure you add fresh, new content, update the old one, and answer to any comments, queries and questions about your website and your business. Each time you notice your traffic is down, or that you’ve gone a while without posting – make sure you correct it to maintain a high ranking.

6. Backlinks

Backlinks -Google's algorithm

Backlinks are links on other websites and blogs that lead to your own. The more backlinks to your website are there, the better your website will rank.

It helps show Google that your website and business are reputable, referenced and talked about.

How to use it to your advantage:

 Try to acquire as many backlinks as you possibly can. Use a tool such as MOZ to find high authority websites in your industries, and use the old school way – write an email and say you’d like to be featured.

Not only will it help your marketing efforts, but it will also help Google deem your website popular and relevant enough to rank high.


Although these 6 factors might already seem like a handful, we’ve barely even scratched the surface Google and its complex algorithm. Apart from these few, we know that it also scans for more than 200 different factors – too many to list now (or ever, really).

However, investing a bit of time and effort into optimizing your website for these particular 6 factors will help your business rank high and reap the success it deserves.

Still seems too complicated? Don’t worry – none of this require any particular coding or design knowledge. Using a safe, reliable, responsive and intuitive website builder such as SITE123 will make your SEO efforts a breeze.

SITE123 allows you to create amazing free websites and offers dozens of pre made layouts that make it a favorite among small business owners. The platform automatically does most of the important SEO, which leaves only the subtle tweaks for you to do. Its intuitive interface and easy to use features make it easy to add any changes to your website’s SEO. Your only job is to sit back, relax, and watch your business grow.

Ready to implement these SEO tips? Start by creating a free website now.