Ranking Algorithm Definition & Meaning

What Is A Ranking Algorithm?

A ranking algorithm is a set of mathematical systems of calculations that ranks web pages and documents in search engine results pages according to specific criteria.

Bing, Google, and other search engines use different ranking algorithms to serve results to users, but most platforms keep the details about their ranking algorithms secret. Still, most search engines utilize probabilistic ranking algorithms that grade web pages based on their relevance to a search query and the number of links pointing to the URL to measure its importance.

Google’s PageRank algorithm generates search results based on the authority score of the incoming links, while Bing’s ranking algorithm utilizes hubs and authorities (also known as Hyperlink-Induced Topic Search or HITS) to show the most relevant results for a query. The authority metric in the HITS ranking algorithm estimates the value of the content of the page, and the hub value estimates the value of its links to other pages.

Ranking algorithms are frequently updated to provide better search results for users, which makes determining their key factors more difficult. For example, Google’s algorithm has more than 200 ranking factors that range from the website’s page speed, keyword prominence, backlink quality, E-E-A-T (experience, expertise, authority, trust), user experience signals, and more.

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