For most webmasters, search engines may be full of mysteries. You are always looking for ways to cater to them, and try to be friendly to them. Unfortunately, they change their algorithms all the time. Search engines just take their own roads. Here,you may want to know how search engines work. But there is still a good news: some basic and core ideas that search engines rank web pages are not changed.
Important signals on your websites
First, you should learn about what signals on your websites are useful to search engines. Once search engine crawled your website,some signals have been captured. These signals can work for many things such as categorization, geo-localization, behavioral, demographic, and more. Not only for ranking purposes. Some might be used as signals of quality, while others are used in display elements in the search results.
So how do search engines view your websites? We divide different signals into three simplest levels:
- Site level signals: Authority/Trust, Classifications,Internal link ratios,Localization,Entities,Domain history,Thin content.
- Page level signals: Meta data,Classifications (and Localization),Entities,Authority/trust (external links),Temporal signals,Semantic signals,Linguistic indicators (language and nuances),Prominence factors (bold, headings, italics, lists, etc.)
- Off site signals: Link related signals,Temporal signals,Trust elements (known by the company you keep),Entity/Authority, citations, co-citation, etc,Social graph signals,Spam signals (that might incur dampening),Semantic relevance (of the other signals).
There may be tiny differences in different search engines. But they indeed use most signals as assessments.
Different types of structures on your websites
Above are some details that search engines use them as one aspect to rank webpages. At the macro level, there are something on your websites that can be another aspect. We tend to think these things as “structures”,which can help you understand some of the various classifications, categorizations, relations, and correlations that a search engine might employ.
- Link structure: Most commonly known one to SEO professionals, all the links to sites that determine relevance, authority, and trust.
- Social structure: Connections, topicality, behavioural data, etc.
- Entity structure: People, places, things, events, etc. (named entities).
- Knowledge structure: Information related to entities.
- Term and taxonomy structures.
So these different structures can also influence your webpage ranking. After knowing these two aspects(signals and structures), let’s start to understand ranking mechanisms.
A webpage rank is determined by a lot of factors. Now we just introduce you some simple concepts which may help you have a better understanding.
- Scoring. Search engines may score webpages based on signals and structure or any other factors. There are actually many algorithms in each search engine. Different algorithms score different different factors.
- Boosting. This is another element or signal that might raise a page's position in the rankings. One example is a statement Google made that fast mobile sites are given a boost in mobile search.
- Dampening. Different from publishing, dampening is an element that would lower the rankings of a web page after the initial scoring process. Just like Google Panda and Penguin algorithms.
Search engines try to score webpages,boost webpages and dampen webpages through different algorithms. As a result, the final page ranking is showed on the search result. So you have a global understanding about webpage ranking. Today,there may be some extra factors that search engines include in the criterion of web page ranking.
- Behavior: based on search history,query reformations, last query, etc.
- Society: based on social networking services,such as Google+,twitter,etc.
- Geographic: based on the location of the user.
- Temporal: based on user activities (daily, weekly, annual, etc.).
- Demographic: somewhat linked to the social, but categorizes users.
Now you may be startled by the various factors that can influence your webpage ranking. But what I want to say is to keep clam, because all of your competitors are in the same condition. Just be yourself, do your basic SEO work, try to make your website friendly to users, and search engine will reword you.