How Does Google Actually Work?

25 April 2016

How Does Google Actually Work?

Google isn’t just a noun, it’s a verb – that’s how much it’s infiltrated our lives and activities. “Just Google it…”; “Dr Google says…”. In a short space of time, Googling has become something we take for granted and do almost reflexively; but how does it work?

The size and scale of Google is immense – there is at least 40,000 searches every second, 3.5 billion a day and 1.2 trillion a year. How is this possible?

Google crawls

Not literally, because that’d take ages. Google has programmes called spiders that crawl along Google’s index of webpages. They pick out a few that match your search term, then follow the links in these pages to related ones, and so on.

When you enter a query, Google crawls through its index for matching pages – there can be hundreds if not thousands of results – and returns them to you in order of relevance.

The Google algorithm

The algorithms are all-important. Google has developed them to work with your search term and to understand them better. No-one outside of Google knows how these algorithms work, but we all know that the company changes them frequently, keeping SEO experts on their toes!

Spiders will look at how frequently your search terms are in the page, and where they crop up – titles and URLs are important. They’ll also look at the overall quality of the page – is it spammy or informative?

200+ ranking factors

Your results are ranked by these factors, which include content and site quality. Google only wants to bring up trustworthy pages, so one of its main algorithms is PageRank, which examines how many other reputable sites link to a page. This is combined with other scores, giving a rank for each page, which appears as your results, usually in as little as one-eighth of a second!

Google also assesses how new the content is; it also takes into account your location and your search history to personalise your results.

Still wondering how you can leverage the power of Google in your business? Get in touch!

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Paul Smith

Paul Smith

With more than 20 years of industry experience in the UK, USA and Australia under his belt, Paul Smith is a seasoned professional who will infuse your digital marketing with his wealth of knowledge and expertise. Paul specialises in digital strategy, SEO and data analytics.