Looking at Google now you would never think that it started off as college project by two people in Stanford University’s Ph.D. program. Larry Page and Sergey Brin simply wanted to create an efficient search engine that gave users relevant links to their queries. What started off so humbly is now a multibillion dollar corporation that in 2007 surpassed Microsoft as the most visited site on the web and the control a staggering 60% of search engine traffic. Companies pay heavy amounts of money to rank high on Google searches and entire countries, like China, have been forced to deal with Google.
No one but Google really knows how their algorithm works but we do have some idea of what goes on. Like most search engines, Google uses little programs called spiders or crawlers, to search for key words across the internet. They also have a large index of where these key words can already be found on sites, but this is just the beginning.
Google has come up with their algorithm that they call PageRank. This system assigns a score of zero to ten to determine a pages relevancy and authority. A few factors that determine PageRank are: The frequency and location of keywords within the web page, how long the page has existed, and very importantly, the number of other web pages that link to the site in question. You average blog will have a score of zero while a good site might get a two or a three. Anything above that takes a really dynamic site with a lot of content, keywords and links.
As of the Penguin and Panda algorithm that were released a while back they have added some extra criteria to the rankings system. Their emphasis is on “natural” links to build up SEO and page rank. This involves the heavy use of social media to promote a site. The more links a site has from social media the more likely it is to attain a higher page rank. Examples of this include the use of Facebook, blogs, Tumblr, Twitter, Google Plus, Pinterest, Bookmarks and just about any other social media you can think of. So an online university might set up a Facebook page and promote a Tumblr blog every week on Twitter.
Google wants the internet to be place of natural relevancy and links, not through forced SEO or spamming. PageRank is sort of a mythical creature so to speak off. Everyone is in search of how it works and how to build it up but nobody seems to know for sure. Nobody except Google of course and that is exactly how they like it and exactly how it is going to stay.
Jeff Jordan writes and lives in Southern Celifornia. He writes about social media, marketing and SEO. Military colleges are another example of a business that could benefit from social media.