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Monday, October 16, 2006

The Secret Formula to Google’s Ranking Process

Posted by @ 6:22 pm

Are you obsessed with knowing how Google determines its rankings?

While the rules seem to be changing constantly, I discovered an algorithm equation recently that gives a fairly accurate representation of how Google probably determines its rankings.

Randfish’s post on SEOmoz, has provided a suggested formula for Google’s algorithm. While he believes the weight/factor expression is oversimplified, it does give a good indication of the elements that determine the enigmatic Google ranking.

So here is his formula:

GoogScore = (KW Usage Score * 0.3) + (Domain Strength * 0.25) + (Inbound Link Score * 0.25) + (User Data * 0.1) + (Content Quality Score * 0.1) + (Manual Boosts) – (Automated & Manual Penalties)

So what does it all mean? Below is an brief explanation of the factors.

Keyword (KW ) Usage:
Keyword usage is comprised of several elements of website design and optimization. They include keyword usage in your Meta data optimization, keyword density of body copy, internal linking, and URL construction to name a few.

Domain Strength:
Domain strength refers to the age of your domain and its registration history. Older domains with a strong stable history are viewed more favorably.

Inbound Link Score:
There’s no secret to the value of inbound links in Google rankings. When assessing inbound links, Google looks at factors like link age, quality of web page source, linking text, and relevance of source website to determine your link score.

User Data:
This is based on Google behavioural data from their users. The number of times your URL is clicked on, search requests for the domain, and other historical usage factors contribute towards your User Data score.

Quality Score:
This is probably determined by Google manually either by using human scoring, or specialized algos that determine page quality independent of the core algorithm.

Manual Boosts:
Randfish believes that Google on occasion manually boosts a website that it perceives to be important and relevant but is not strong enough to rank highly on its own. I am unaware of this practice, but on occasion, I have questioned some of Google’s rankings.

Automated & Manual Penalties:
Of course with all the positive factors, there has to be negative factors, and by going through Google’s guidelines, you’ll get a better understanding of the numerous factors and practices that can get a web page penalized.

While this is not a authorized version of the Google algorithm (as if they would share that sort of information), I think Randfish has covered the key ranking elements quite well in his suggested algorithm formula.

Now you know the key factors, what are you waiting for? Remember high rankings rarely happen over night, and optimization is an ongoing process, so don’t be fooled into thinking that you’ll get to the top tomorrow by acting now. The issue is, if you don’t act – you’ll never get to the top.

Thanks Randfish for the heads up on the formula.

Rene LeMerle Rene is the marketing manager of - a global search engine marketing company. He also leads the marketing for - a web 2.0 style community for online and digital marketers. Rene has been in the industry since 1997 with much of that time spent helping businesses embrace the best of the internet and digital world.

View Rene LeMerle's profile

Discussion (1 - comment)

Interesting…so, I’m assuming it would work for any web site. For example I have a successful work at home business online, if I apply the same principal it will work for my site as well?

By Top google rankings - December 11, 2008

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