How Do Search Engine Rankings Work?

Search engine ranking

The new mantra for how sites like Google determine search engine rankings is “things not strings.” It’s no longer all about what keywords are embedded in a page, but about bigger concepts.

So what are these variables that determine search engine rankings?

The first thing to consider is a search engine’s scoring. To score a website, search engines will use hundreds of different factors that are nestled in their many algorithms. People tend to refer to the “Google Rankings Algorithm,” which is a misnomer. The truth is that Google has many, many algorithms. These algorithms score the site differently, and then combine over all to make up the initial search engine rankings.

Next is boosting. If a site has elements that make it more optimized, it’ll receive a boosting in its search engine rankings. One relevant example is the move towards mobile Internet. If a site has a mobile platform, or a version of itself designed for mobile devices, it’ll receive a boost in mobile searches over other sites that don’t have a mobile platform.

Then there’s dampening. This isn’t the same as penalties, because according to Search Engine Watch, “a dampening factor is an element that would lower the rankings of a web page after the initial scoring process.” Think about dampening as a search engine’s way of refining and filtering results to provide an even more accurate list of results for a query.

These are just a few elements that determine search engine rankings. It’s a vastly complex process, and this article only touches upon the very base of it. If you’re interested in learning more about search engine rankings, it’s worthwhile to pursue other articles about them as well. If you have any questions about search engine rankings, feel free to ask in the comments.

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