Gamemode directory question

Hi, I was wondering what the factors exactly are about how steam actually decide which servers will load up first in a gmod game directory, e.g. Darkrp, Is it to do with ping? or if the server is full all the time, then it’s ranking will improve and it will be loaded faster than another server which has less slots? Because I see a lot of empty Locked servers which have medium ping and never have people on them, which load nearly right at the beginning when I refresh my listing, but other servers which are used more often and have less/more slots/ with the same ping, load up ages after

The server’s ping/latency and average playercount tie into the ranking.
Servers which are more popular have higher average players therefore their rank goes up.

Ok but, how come a locked 0/8 slot server which is never used, will load faster then lets say a 50 slot server that gets an average of 20 people?

The amount of players has little to do with how fast it will load.
The physical location of the server, serverside internet speed/bandwidth, and amount of dowloads all play a part in how long it takes to connect.

Let’s say I host a server on a 100/100mbs connection, with no addons to download, in New York.
If you live in the US, connecting to the server will be very fast assuming your connection is decent, regardless of the playercount.

On the other hand, if another server has a 1/1mbs connection and it’s located in Australia, you will spend a noticeably longer time connecting to it and your ping will be consistently higher, solely due to it’s location and connection speed.

This doesn’t account for the popularity of the server. Players tend to pick servers that have good content and good performance relative to where they live.