How Google Search works
For a typical query, there are thousands, even millions, of webpages with potentially relevant information.
So, how does Google figure out what to show in your search results? Well, the journey starts before you even type your search.
Before you search, web crawlers gather information from across hundreds of billions of webpages and organize it in the Search index. The crawling process begins with a list of web addresses from past crawls and sitemaps provided by website owners. As Google’s crawlers visit these websites, they use links on those sites to discover other pages. The software pays special attention to new sites, changes to existing sites and dead links. Computer programs determine which sites to crawl, how often and how many pages to fetch from each site.
This stresses the importance of submitting a sitemap to Google via search console to assure your site is in the Search indexes. We offer this service as part of Search Engine Optimisation packages – more information can be found in our digital brochure – Digital Brochure
The Search Algorithms
You want the answer, not billions of webpages, so Google ranking systems sort through the hundreds of billions of webpages in their Search index to give you useful and relevant results in a fraction of a second.
These ranking systems are made up of a series of algorithms that analyse what it is you are looking for and what information to return to you. And as Google evolved Search to make it more useful, they refined their algorithms to assess your searches and the results in finer detail to make their services work better for you.
Analysing you words
Understanding the meaning of your search is crucial to returning good answers. So to find pages with relevant information, their first step is to analyse what the words in your search query mean. Google build language models to try to decipher what strings of words they should look up in the index.
Matching your search
Next, Google look for webpages with information that matches your query. When you search, at the most basic level, their algorithms look up your search terms in the index to find the appropriate pages. They analyze how often and where those keywords appear on a page, whether in titles or headings or in the body of the text.
Ranking useful pages
For a typical query, there are thousands, even millions, of webpages with potentially relevant information. So to help rank the best pages first, Google also write algorithms to evaluate how useful these webpages are.
These algorithms analyse hundreds of different factors to try to surface the best information the web can offer, from the freshness of the content, to the number of times your search terms appear and whether the page has a good user experience. In order to assess trustworthiness and authority on its subject matter, Google look for sites that many users seem to value for similar queries. If other prominent websites on the subject link to the page, that’s a good sign the information is high quality.
Returning the best results
Before Google serve your results, they evaluate how all the relevant information fits together: is there only one topic among the search results, or many? Are there too many pages focusing on one narrow interpretation? Google strive to provide a diverse set of information in formats that are most helpful for your type of search. And as the web evolves, Google evolve our ranking systems to deliver better results for more queries.