By Carrie-ann | Apr 07, 2013 | SEO

How Google Search Works

Going back to basics is always a positive thing to do, looking at how Google search works is definitely one of those ‘must knows’ for all website owners wanting a Google presence.
One thing separating internet marketing consultants from their clients is that consultants are much more likely to be concerned with the inner workings of Google search. But I believe small business owners can benefit from developing an understanding of how it operates.  That way you are more likely to connect the online strategies you use and how you implement them with the end results!
Google clearly believes there is some benefit too. After releasing their interactive infographic the ‘Story of Send’ they have followed it up with ‘How Search Works’. The good news is the format makes it very easy to understand. Google clearly had a wide audience in mind. However they have not missed the opportunity to provide information for website owners on how Google deals with spam and what they can do if Google isn’t happy with their site.

So how does Google search work?

It’s useful to break down Google search into 3 elements :

  • Crawling and Indexing
  • Ranking Pages with Algorithms
  • Spam Fighting

Let’s look at each briefly in turn….
Crawling and Indexing
Google has to find each page first before it can rank them. This is the process of the Google Bot crawling over 30 trillion web pages – quite a feat. And the number of pages is obviously growing all the time. When it finds pages it then files them away. This is called indexing.
Ranking Pages
For many Google watchers this is where the real magic happens. Google uses more than 200 ranking signals to decide what to show and in what order. The new Google infographic reminds us what’s used to determine rank. Essentially Google is looking for clues to assess what pages mean.  Some elements are semantic search. Others are based on quality factors such as spelling and ‘freshness’.
Spam Fighting
Google clearly sees some benefit to sharing with the world just how gigantic its spam fighting mission is. You can even see live spam being removed and can click on the factors that indicate the presence of spam, such as unnatural links and even hosting environment. As a website owner you should be impressed with the large increase in spam notifications but perhaps also slightly worried. You can see live Google spam being removed here.
 Summary
Getting a better understanding of search should leave you with few illusions about how important it is to produce quality, customer centric content. Google’s quest to improve the search experience is relentless. If you understand that, you’re much less likely to disappoint Google.