Google’s Search Algorithm: What Business Owners Need To Know


Written by Luke Glassford

Google's Search Algo - what businesses need to know

Google’s recent Helpful Content Update (HCU) has got the whole content marketing and SEO world talking.

Some business owners are already anxious because of the algorithm update, while other businesses and entrepreneurs are embracing the update and executing accordingly.

If you’re reading this and thinking, what in the— is this ‘algorithm’ and how does Google's search algorithm work? - you’re not alone.

Yet it’s essential to have a solid knowledge of the algorithm, what it entails, how to match your ideal customer's search intent and how to leverage the algorithm for high ranking and traffic generation.

All these and more will be covered in this guide.

First, let’s define this Google search algorithm.

What is the Google algorithm?

There are over 8.5 billion searches a day on Google. The latest data curated by Oberlo shows that Google processes over 99,000 searches every single second.

Google’s algorithm is simply a complex system used to retrieve data from its search index and instantly deliver the best possible results for a search query. It is the internal process Google takes to rank content.

So when someone searches for "car insurance", for example, the algorithm will find all the pages in Google's index that it believes are relevant for "car insurance" and then display them in the search results in the order it feels is best for the searcher.

How does Google’s algorithm work?

There are a lot of assumptions made about how Google’s algorithm works, along with a lot of spurious ‘advice’ about how best to ‘beat it’ or ‘trick it’. Understandably, Google doesn’t reveal exactly what their algorithm looks for when ranking content.

However, they do reveal some information:

“To give you the most useful information, Search algorithms look at many factors and signals, including the words of your query, relevance and usability of pages, expertise of sources, and your location and settings.”

How often does Google update its search algorithm?

Google has said that on average they update the algorithm 1-2 times per day. Most of these are minor tweaks and changes, but sometimes there are much bigger updates that make a noticeable difference to the search results.

Back in 2003 Google began naming these bigger updates when they launched the ‘Florida Update’, which signalled a new era of SEO. Since the ‘Helpful Content Update’ on August 25th, 2022 - which proved to be one of the most talked about updates in the SEO community – Google has released three more named updates: the September 2022 Core Update, the Product Reviews Update and the October 2022 Spam Update.

There have been eight named and announced updates so far in 2022, and there's no doubt that Google will continue to update its algorithm as it constantly evolves the way it identifies and ranks the best content for searchers.

Book your FREE SEO strategy call!

Get real-time, face-to-face SEO advice from our SEO expert Luke Glassford.


Book your FREE SEO strategy call!

Get real-time, face-to-face SEO advice from our SEO expert Luke Glassford.

How to get your business website to rank better in Google

It is important to stay up to date with the algorithm changes that Google announces, as this is a valuable insight into the sort of content you need to produce if you want to rank high in their search results.

To help, here are four proven ways to get your business website and content to rank better on Google:

1. Improve your on-site SEO and target keywords

The first step to ranking high on Google is to optimise your on-page SEO. On-page SEO (also known as “on-site SEO”) is the practice of optimising web page content for search engines and users. Common on-page SEO practices include optimising title tags, internal links and URLs.

Identifying which keywords to optimise your content for is the starting point. Think about what people might search for to find your product or service and use keyword research tools to discover more ideas.

When you have your target keywords, the next step is to optimise the content on your website so that is relevant for those keywords.

Which brings us to…

2. Create 'Quality' content

Improving your on-page SEO is only a piece of the pie. You have to create quality content to stand out on Google these days.

Right from the famous E.A.T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness) algorithm update for Google rankings, the search engine shows more quality content to satisfy the intent of users.

Write for people first!

3. Build backlinks

Getting backlinks (links from other websites to yours) can help to show Google that your website, and your content, is trustworthy.

However, not all backlinks are created equal and Google can be very unforgiving if you build links to your website in a way that violates their guidelines.

As links play such a big role in Google’s algorithm – some estimates suggest up to 70% of the algorithm is based on link signals – many website owners try to ‘game the system’ by getting ‘unnatural’ links.

Regarding links, Google says:

Google uses links as an important factor in determining the relevancy of web pages. Any links that are intended to manipulate rankings in Google Search results may be considered link spam…

The following are examples of link spam:

  • Buying or selling links for ranking purposes. This includes:
    • Exchanging money for links, or posts that contain links
    • Exchanging goods or services for links
    • Sending someone a product in exchange for them writing about it and including a link
  • Excessive link exchanges ("Link to me and I'll link to you") or partner pages exclusively for the sake of cross-linking
  • Using automated programs or services to create links to your site
  • Requiring a link as part of a Terms of Service, contract, or similar arrangement without allowing a third-party content owner the choice of qualifying the outbound link
  • Text advertisements or text links that don't block ranking credit
  • Advertorials or native advertising where payment is received for articles that include links that pass ranking credit, or links with optimized anchor text in articles, guest posts, or press releases distributed on other sites. For example:
  • There are many wedding rings on the market. If you want to have a wedding, you will have to pick the best ring. You will also need to buy flowers and a wedding dress.
  • Low-quality directory or bookmark site links
  • Keyword-rich, hidden, or low-quality links embedded in widgets that are distributed across various sites
  • Widely distributed links in the footers or templates of various sites
  • Forum comments with optimized links in the post or signature

4. Increase website page load speed

Google’s algorithm is designed to give searchers the best possible experience when using the search engine. This means returning the most relevant and trustworthy websites for a given search term quickly, and it also means recommending websites that will also provide a good user experience.

If your website is slow to load the content, Google may deem it to be offering a poor user experience – which could result in a lower ranking position and therefore fewer visits from the search engine.

To combat this, make sure your website loads quickly and is easy for newcomers to navigate and get to where they need to be.

To learn more about how Gambit Partners can help your start-up rank better on Google, book a free consultation call with us today!

Latest posts

Mode Insurance case study

Case Study: Web Design, Brand Identity and Online Marketing Campaign for Mode Insurance

May 28, 2024

The marketing team at Gambit Partners was tasked with designing and developing a website for a new insurance company. This…

The Power of Client Testimonials: How to Use them to Build Trust and Credibility

December 20, 2023

Are you maximising the potential of your client testimonials? If not, you might be overlooking a powerful tool that can…

Ecommerce SEO Tips

Ecommerce SEO – 6 Quick Tips To Help You Improve Your Rankings

December 5, 2023

Ecommerce SEO is the process of optimising an online shop to improve its ranking positions in search engines like Google.…

Written by

Luke Glassford

Marketing Director at Gambit Partners