How do search engines rank your website?


After the website crawls, indexes, and categorizes your website it must use its search engine algorithm to determine how to rank your website.

When comparing your website to over 1 Trillion other websites (Yes, that is Trillion with a capital ‘T’) it must determine the EAT (expertise, authority, and trustworthiness) of the website. To put it bluntly, the higher the quality of your website the more likely it will get ranked higher.


One of the ways search engines determines the quality of the website is how many other websites link (refer) to your website. These are called backlinks. In the past, the more websites that linked to you determined how important your website was. But people took advantage of that and signed up for link farms to generate a ton of links to your website. Did you ever see an advertisement that said I will get you 1,000 backlinks for $49.99? These are the works of link farms.

The search engines soon got wind of this dirty (Black Hat) technique and adjusted their algorithm to put quality over quantity to keep unimportant websites from ranking higher.

How often does Google update its algorithm?

Major updates are done every month or so and tweaks to the algorithm are done 500 to 600 times per year. So good luck on trying black hat techniques that stay ahead of Google!

More information on what types of links help you or hurt you can be found in later publications of this Digital Marketing Course.


When you do a search on your phone, the search engines pull up your device’s IP address to help determine the location of your device. So if you do a search for ‘salt therapy room near me’ then it will read your device’s location and give you a list of salt therapy places that are closest to your location.

The order of the list is also determined not by location alone. If one salt therapy website has more positive reviews and more quality backlinks than another salt therapy website that is also close by it will list the one with more positive reviews and quality backlinks first and the other second even if the second one is 5 miles closer.

How does the search engine know where a business is located?

  • Reading the website’s domain and IP info (not very accurate)
  • The website’s business address is listed in Google Maps, Mapquest, etc.
  • The website tells the search engine so by displaying its NAP.

What is a NAP?

NAP stands for Name, Address, and Phone number. It is recommended to display this contact information on every page of the website.

Browser History

Part of the purchase of the AI company by Google is to help determine the searcher’s intent. This means that search engines like Google will keep track of the websites that you visit to help bring more relevant websites for you.

That is why the concern of people has been increasing about how much search engines know about you. People use search engines like DuckDuckGo so that their browsing history is private and I foresee the popularity of search engines like DuckDuckGo going up.

Google also uses your browsing history to determine what types of ads to put in front of you and that was the starting point of online privacy began. but it also uses it to put the most relevant websites in front of you as well.

So do they put their advertiser’s websites first in the organic listings then?

No, Google Ads are affected. The organic listings (listings not using Pay Per Click Ads) are not affected by this.

An example of this is if someone does a search for ‘what is the best pitcher out there?

If your browser history shows that you browse a lot of baseball sites then the results will bring back a bunch of websites about baseball pitchers.

If your browser history is full of cooking how-to’s, catering websites, etc. then your results may bring back a bunch of websites about kitchen pitchers.

Homonyms are words spelled the same way but can have multiple different meanings.

What Device You’re Using

Whether you are using your smartphone (which just became the most used device for doing searches a few months ago so make sure your website is mobile-friendly!), a tablet or desktop computer will determine what websites are shown up in your SERPs but not as much.

Reviews, Shares, Likes, and Comments

When someone gives your business a positive review, someone shares the content on your website, or someone likes your blog post this adds a vote of confidence in the search engine’s eyes that helps boost your website ranking higher.

To help with this be sure to add share and like buttons to the pages of your websites that are relevant, encourage visitors to your website and business to leave you reviews online, and ask them to recommend your services.

Go back to Digital Marketing Course

Related Content:

How do search engines crawl your website?
What is a robots.txt file?
How do search engines index your website?
What is a sitemap?
How to get Indexed and Ranked Faster?