# Algorithm

If you can't dance, you don't have any Algor-rhythm 🕺💃

In mathematics, an algorithm is a set of instructions that will result in a certain output. In computer science, algorithms are very much the same thing: an algorithm is a set of processes that are designed to solve a problem, compute something, or otherwise provide an output.

What does that look like in the application? An algorithm might determine which search results are most likely to be useful to you. Algorithms are highly important to understand conceptually in order to understand SEO, simply because almost everything in SEO relies on algorithms, whether directly or indirectly.

## Importance of algorithms in SEO

Search engines carry out specific tasks defined by the algorithms that help them find the most useful content for their users. These algorithms may take into account factors such as the location of the user and the keywords that the user queried to determine what information they might be looking for.

Additionally, algorithms are used to rank the search results pages for different keywords, taking into account factors that may signal how helpful different websites are — metrics such as number of visitors, how regularly pages are updated, the presence of keywords, high-quality content, and more.

While each algorithm may vary, and the exact algorithms that search engine giants use for various cases may be proprietary information, understanding algorithms, in general, can be quite helpful. By understanding how algorithms work and what kinds of content can be prioritized as a result of them, it may be possible to more effectively position yourself to benefit from the mechanics of these important algorithms.

Here’s a notable example: Google, the world’s most popular search engine by active users, relies on a “Helpful Content” system, which helps them rank websites by how helpful they are to users. This is to deliver Google’s users the best experience when they’re searching for helpful content, and it can be important for businesses to understand so that they can position themselves to rank highly. The Google algorithms that power this system look at signals designed to indicate how helpful a user experience is and attempt to rank websites accordingly.

## Beyond search rankings

Google isn’t the only search engine or the only website using algorithms to connect users with what the systems estimate they’re seeking. In fact, algorithms are widely used across digital communication systems, and whether you’re trying to rank in SEO or secure visibility on a social media platform, it’s important to understand how those algorithms work in order to position oneself to leverage them to the ends of positive outcomes.

That may be as simple as populating your website with keywords, removing dead links, and removing unhelpful content, and it may be as complex as redesigning a website to ensure that it’s well-mapped, contains helpful links and content, and is easy to navigate. However, without first understanding the algorithms that dictate which actions will result in higher traffic or better rankings, this may essentially be like operating in the dark.