Do you know how Google ranks pages in 2024?

Last updated by Chloe Lin [SSW] 8 days ago.See history

Overview

Google's remarkable success in search engine technology is largely due to its sophisticated ranking algorithms. While the original PageRank algorithm laid the foundation, Google's approach to ranking pages has evolved significantly to combat spammy content and ensure quality. Let's explore how Google ranks pages as of 2024, considering the most recent updates and principles.

Evolution of Google's Algorithm

The Original PageRank Algorithm

Formula: PR(A) = (1-d) + d (PR(T1)/C(T1) + ... + PR(Tn)/C(Tn))

Explanation: PR stands for PageRank, 'A' represents the number of links from page A, 'd' is a damping factor, and 'T' represents pages linking to 'A'. Essentially, when a page links to another, it endorses its quality. More endorsements equate to higher perceived quality.

Modern SEO Factors
  • While PageRank remains a factor, modern SEO includes numerous other elements:
  • On-page factors: Keyword proximity, frequency, and repetition.
  • Inbound anchor text relevance.
  • User engagement metrics: Time spent on page, bounce rate.
  • Mobile compatibility.
  • Page loading speed.
  • Content quality: Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (E-E-A-T).

Recent Algorithm Updates

Googles Search updates

September 2023 Update

AI-generated Content: Google acknowledged the difficulty in distinguishing between human-written and AI-generated content. Emphasis was placed on content quality adhering to E-E-A-T principles, regardless of the content's origin.

March 2024 Core Update
  • Timeline: Rolled out between March 5 and April 26, 2024.
  • Objective: To promote or reward high-quality web pages, not to penalize.
  • Global Impact: Affected all regions and languages.
  • Result: Aimed to reduce low-quality, unoriginal, and unhelpful content by 45%.

Observations: Many websites, especially those mass-generating AI content, saw declines in rankings or were completely deindexed for violating Google's guidelines or employing questionable SEO tactics.

March 2024 Spam Update

Timeline: Rolled out between March 5 and March 20, 2024, with a subsequent update on May 5, 2024.

Objective: To penalize spam techniques that violate Google's spam policies.

Global Impact: Affected all regions and languages.

Targets: General search spam, scaled content, expired domain abuse, and site reputation abuse (in May 2024 update).

Recovery: Sites affected should review and comply with Google's spam policies. Recovery can take many months and is subject to periodic refreshes.Key Principles for SEO Success

May 2024 Update

Timeline: Rolled out in early May 2024.

Objective: To further refine content quality assessments and target spammy websites.

Global Impact: Affected all regions and languages.

Results: Quickly after implementation, many sites were heavily penalised or completely deindexed for violating Google's guidelines or using dubious SEO tactics. Websites generating mass AI content for organic traffic saw declines in rankings or were removed from the index.

Content Quality

High-quality content that answers user queries effectively and follows E-E-A-T principles is paramount. Ensure your content is thorough, accurate, and created by experts.

User Engagement

Monitor and improve user engagement metrics. Content that keeps users engaged and satisfied will rank higher Google calls this "people first content".

Technical SEO

Ensure your site is mobile-friendly and loads quickly. Technical aspects like site structure, meta tags, and schema markup are also crucial. Google call this a "great page experience".

Backlinks and Authority

Focus on building high-quality backlinks from authoritative sources. Your site's domain strength and the authority of linking sites play a significant role in rankings.

Adaptability

SEO is an ever-evolving field. Stay updated with Google's algorithm changes and adjust your strategies accordingly.

Avoid Search Engine-First Content

Create content for people, not search engines. Avoid tactics like extensive automation, writing on trending topics without value, or changing dates to appear fresh. Focus on adding value and meeting the needs of your audience.

Conclusion

SEO success in 2024 hinges on creating high-quality content that addresses user needs, maintaining technical excellence, and continuously adapting to Google's algorithm changes. By adhering to these principles, you can improve your site's visibility and ranking on Google.

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