How Google Search Works

Have you ever wondered how Google search works? How you get different answers on your screen almost immediately you type?

Google search also referred to as Google is a web search engine developed by Google LLC. It is the most used search engine on the World Wide Web across all platforms.  

Google’s search engine is a powerful tool, without this, it would be practically impossible to find the information you need when you browse the Web. In the likes of other search engines such as Yahoo, Bing, Ask.com etc. Google uses an exceptional algorithm to effect search results.

Algorithm is a process or set of rules to be followed in calculations or other problem-solving operations, especially by a computer. Google’s algorithm does the work for you by searching out Web pages that contain the keywords you used to search, then assigning a rank to each page based on several factors, including how many times the keywords appear on the page.

What sets Google apart is how it ranks search results, which in turn determines the order Google displays results on its search engine results page (SERP.

Google uses a trademarked algorithm called PageRank, which assigns each Web page a relevancy score. A PageRank is a value assigned to a web page as a measure of its popularity or importance, used to determine the order in which search engine results are presented.

A Web page’s PageRank depends on a few factors:

  • The frequency and location of keywords within the Web page: If the keyword only appears once within the body of a page, it will receive a low score for that keyword.

Keywords are ideas and topics that define what your content is about. In terms of SEO, they’re the words and  phrases that searchers enter into search engines, also called “search queries.” If you boil everything on your page, all the images, video, copy, etc., down to simple words and phrases, those are your primary keywords.

Keywords are important because they are the essentials between what people are searching for and the content you are providing to fill that need.

  • How long the Web page has existed: People create new Web pages every day, and not all of them stick around for long. Google places more value on pages with an established history.
  • The number of other Web pages that link to the page in question: Google looks at how many Web pages link to a particular site to determine its relevance

Google gets information from many different sources via automated programs called spiders or crawlers, indexing and serving.

CRAWLING

The first step is to find out what pages exist on the web. There isn’t intermediate registry of all web pages. So Google must constantly search for new pages and add them to its list of known pages. This process of discovery is called crawling.

Some pages are known because Google has already crawled them before. Other pages are discovered when Google follows a link from a known page to a new page. Still other pages are discovered when a website owner submits a list of pages (a sitemap) for Google to crawl.

To improve your site crawling:

  • You can submit an individual URL to Google. URL is an abbreviation that stands for “Universal Resource Locator”. It’s another name for a web address, the text that you type into your internet browser when you want to go to a website.

A URL is also called a web address because it works like a house address. You can use an office address to find the location of a friend’s office or store you want to visit. If you give your browser a URL, it can find where to go to find the web page you want to visit.

  • Get your page linked to by another page that Google already knows about. However, be warned that links in advertisements, links that you pay for in other sites, links in comments, or other links that don’t follow the Google Webmaster Guidelines won’t be followed.
  • If you ask Google to crawl only one page, make it your home page. Your home page is the most important page on your site, as far as Google is concerned. To encourage a complete site crawl, be sure that your home page (and all pages) contains a good site navigation system that links to all the important sections and pages on your site; this helps users (and Google) find their way around your site.
  • Search engine Optimization (SEO). Literally, SEO means maximizing the number of visitors to a particular websites by ensuring that the site appears high on the list of results returned by search engine. This will enable Google crawler to be able to discover your page and crawl it to get information.

NOTE: You do not have to pay Google to crawl a site more frequently, or rank it higher. Do not let anyone tell you otherwise.

INDEXING

After a page is discovered and visited by Google crawler (Googlebot), Google tries to understand what the page is about, analyses content and meaning of the page, catalogs images and video files embedded on the page. This information is stored in the Google index, a huge database stored in many, many computers.  This process is called indexing.

 To improve your page indexing:

  • Create short, meaningful page titles.
  • Use page headings that convey the subject of the page.
  • Use text rather than images to convey content. (Google can understand some image and video, but not as well as it can understand text. At minimum, annotate your video and images with alt text and other attributes as appropriate.)

SERVING

When a user types a query, Google tries to find the most relevant answer from its index based on many factors. Google tries to determine the highest quality answers, and factor in other considerations that will provide the best user experience and most appropriate answer, by considering things such as the user’s location, language, and device (desktop or mobile device). For example, searching for “car fixing shops” would show different answers to a user in Paris than it would to a user in Nigeria.

To improve your serving and ranking:

  • Make your page fast to load, and mobile-friendly.
  • Put useful content on your page and ensure you keep it up to date.
  • Understand and follow the Google Webmaster Guidelines, which help ensure a good user experience.

Google provides their Google Webmaster Guidelines to help website owners improve their search engine positioning while following the best practices of search engine optimization, SEO. It outline the official best practices for website owners that want their site to be found, crawled, and indexed by Google.

So, there you have it. This is literally how Google search engine works. It should give you a better picture of how things progress when a user searches a word or phrase.

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