Understanding Google Rankings

by | Jan 13, 2017 | Blog |

Businesses everywhere are competing to optimise their website, in the hopes of appearing high in search engine results. In such a competitive area, the first thing you need to do is understand Google Rankings.


How do Google Rankings work?

There is a three-stage process for how Google works, which are:

  • Crawling
  • Indexing
  • Providing answers


Google uses software known as ‘web crawlers’ to discover publicly accessible webpages, the most well-known crawler is called ‘GoogleBot’.

These crawlers (also known as bots, or spiders) look at webpages, and follow links on these pages to other pages/ websites. Much like you would do if you were browsing the web. They follow these links, and bring back data about the pages they have been on to Google’s servers.

The crawlers start by re-visiting pages from previous crawls, as they look for links they pay special attention to new sites, changes to existing sites and dead links.



Pages gathered during the crawling process are then put into an index, so we know exactly how to look things up. Google’s index is over 100 million gigabytes and staff have spent over 1 million computing hours building the index so far.

When you search for something in Google, the algorithms in place look up the search terms in the index to find the appropriate pages.

Googles indexing systems will look at different aspects of a page, such as:

  • When they were published.
  • Whether they contain pictures.
  • Words and their locations.
  • And much more.

Pages with a variety of media will be given a higher quality score, as no one who searches for the term ‘design’ wants to just see a page full of the word ‘design’ and nothing else.



Google rankings is the term for how your search results are displayed in Google.

The algorithms look at your query and use over 200 signals to decide which of the millions of pages and content are most relevant answers for the search query. Google rankings are constantly changing and the algorithms that are used see over 500 improvements per year.

Examples of these signals include:

  • The freshness of website content.
  • The number of links to your site and the authority of those links.
  • Words on the webpage.
  • Synonyms of your search keywords.
  • Quality of the content on the site.
  • URL and title of the webpage.


Spam results

Google works 24/7 to fight spam, in an attempt to keep your results relevant and the majority of spam removal is automatic. If spam is found, manual action is taken and they attempt to notify the website owners. Website owners can fix their sites and let Google know.


By understanding how Google rankings work, you can start to piece together why it’s important to use effective SEO and how to implement it.

We have previously posted about the basics of SEO, which may help to give you a little more direction for your digital marketing. However, we know how complex SEO can seem, especially as trends are constantly changing, and time is often short in your working day, so our experts at Hyphen are always here to chat. We would be happy to meet up to go through what you are looking to achieve from your website and help put a plan in place to boost your Google rankings.

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Until next time,