Have you ever searched for something on Google? How many times do you think searches are made on Google every day?
Over 40,000 search queries are processed every second on Google on average. This translates to over 3.5 billion searches per day. In 2016, there are an estimated 2 trillion searches per year worldwide. Clearly, Google Search is something many of us rely on every day to answer our questions, for navigation, recipes, phone numbers, restaurant reviews, to find community, and much more.
As a Google certified search engine optimization professional I am often asked: How does Google Search work?
There are three main components that make up Google Search as we know it today:
- By crawling and indexing the internet,
- using machine learning to pair relevant websites with search terms
- and by fighting spam.
Crawling and Indexing
First, Google crawls and indexes the Internet.
Using bits of code called robots to navigate the web, Google follows links from page to page, discovering websites across the internet. Google sorts those pages by content and other factors and stores them in the Index. In total, the Index stores over 100 million gigabytes of information – that’s one enormous collection!
Google doesn’t just crawl the web and store information. It also writes programs and formulas to deliver the best, most relevant search results possible as searches are being made.
When you search, machine-learning algorithms seek out clues to better understand what you are looking for. Based on these clues, Google pulls relevant web pages from the Index and populates the search results.
The results are then ranked by over 200 factors in 1/8th of a second while the search results page loads. Google learns how to identify important factors of a web page like if it is mobile-friendly, how quickly (or slowly) it loads, how relevant the content is to the search terms and more, and then organize the search results by most useful.
Google’s machine learning works so well, that over 91.5% of searchers satisfy their hunt by visiting a website on the very first page of results. How’s that for customer satisfaction?
Not all web pages contain useful information that searchers seek. Consequently, Google defeats spam websites, which are the equivalent of parasites infesting the Internet.
Spam websites try to game their way to the top of Google’s search results through grizzly techniques like stuffing keywords over and over again on a page, purchasing links with malicious intent, or hiding invisible text on the page.
In short, Google punishes intentionally misleading websites.
Spam websites are bad because real website owners’ sites become buried beneath insidious results, making relevant websites more difficult to find. Google’s machine-learning algorithms pinpoint and defeat the majority of spam websites. For the rest, Google employees manually review spam. As a result of combatting spam, Google is able to create a hospitable environment for regular searchers like you and me.
SEOs Help Websites Recover from Spam
Imagine a business owner’s website that had been miserably treated by a SEO “professional” with questionable practices. The SEO promised a #1 position on the search results page, and over-stuffed each web page with keywords in an attempt to rank high. This practice ended up creating one spammy-looking website! Google quickly noticed this and correctly flagged the website as spam. However, not all hope was lost. Because Google believes in giving websites a second chance, a Google certified SEO like LetsGrow.Solutions was able to fight away the spam and Google eventually welcomed the website back.
How Google Search Works
To recap, Google Search works not only by fighting spam, but also by crawling and indexing the Internet and using machine learning to pair relevant websites with search terms. Behind your simple page of results is a complex system, carefully crafted and tested, to support more than one-hundred billion searches every month. Next time you search on Google, consider all of the near-instantaneous happenings that go into generating your search results!