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Estimating Google’s search engine ranking function from a search engine optimization perspective

Cheng-Jye Luh (Department of Information Management, Yuan Ze Univeristy, Taoyuan, Taiwan)
Sheng-An Yang (Department of Information Management, Yuan Ze University, Taoyuan, Taiwan)
Ting-Li Dean Huang (Department of Information Management, Yuan Ze University, Taoyuan, Taiwan)

Online Information Review

ISSN: 1468-4527

Article publication date: 11 April 2016

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5004

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to estimate Google search engine’s ranking function from a search engine optimization (SEO) perspective.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper proposed an estimation function that defines the query match score of a search result as the weighted sum of scores from a limited set of factors. The search results for a query are re-ranked according to the query match scores. The effectiveness was measured by comparing the new ranks with the original ranks of search results.

Findings

The proposed method achieved the best SEO effectiveness when using the top 20 search results for a query. The empirical results reveal that PageRank (PR) is the dominant factor in Google ranking function. The title follows as the second most important, and the snippet and the URL have roughly equal importance with variations among queries.

Research limitations/implications

This study considered a limited set of ranking factors. The empirical results reveal that SEO effectiveness can be assessed by a simple estimation of ranking function even when the ranks of the new and original result sets are quite dissimilar.

Practical implications

The findings indicate that web marketers should pay particular attention to a webpage’s PR, and then place the keyword in URL, the page title, and snippet.

Originality/value

There have been ongoing concerns about how to formulate a simple strategy that can help a website get ranked higher in search engines. This study provides web marketers much needed empirical evidence about a simple way to foresee the ranking success of an SEO effort.

Keywords

Citation

Luh, C.-J., Yang, S.-A. and Huang, T.-L.D. (2016), "Estimating Google’s search engine ranking function from a search engine optimization perspective", Online Information Review, Vol. 40 No. 2, pp. 239-255. https://doi.org/10.1108/OIR-04-2015-0112

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited