How Does Google Search Work?
Learn How Google Search Works & It Could Help You Grow Your Business
Perform a search on Google, and the search engine quickly combs through 30 trillion webpages and then lists the top 10 results for your requested search.
92% of the time, Google says a person will click on one of the top 10 results on page one.
Finding the top 10 of any topic is pretty tricky when you are looking through 30 trillion webpages. It indeed is like a needle in a haystack. Google does it in about a half-second, and they provide just what you are looking for most of the time.
So how does Google do it?
So how does Google do it?
Google doesn’t really visit every web page on the internet each time you request a search. Google stores information about web pages in massive databases and then uses algorithms to interpret the data in the databases to determine what results to present to you.
Here’s how it works.
First, Google requires a database of every webpage on the internet. Google then uses programs called “spiders” to “crawl” each webpage until it’s found all of them. The spiders start on a few webpages and add those to Google’s list of pages, which are called “index” pages. Then, the spiders follow all the outgoing links on the webpages to find a new set of pages, which they add to the index.
Next, they follow all the links of those pages, and so on, until Google exhausts its search.
This process never stops.
Google is always adding new pages to its index or updating existing pages.
The index is huge, weighing in at over 100 million gigabytes. To give you some perspective of that, if you tried to fit that on one hard drive the size of a terabyte, you would need 100,000 hard drives — if you stacked them up they would quickly reach a mile high!
When you search Google, it takes the text you type into the search bar and sifts through its index to find the most appropriate web pages that are relevant to your search.
So the logical question is, how do they determine which results to serve up?
Well, it comes down to Google’s core innovation, an algorithm called PageRank, which was created by Google’s founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin back in 1998 for their Ph.D. thesis at Stanford.
Page and Brin realized that a webpage’s importance could be estimated by looking at which other important pages link to them. The more popular a page, the more links they will have. PageRank gives each webpage a score that’s based on the PageRank scores of every other page that links to that page.
For instance, we recently created a new webpage about Managed IT Services; since it is a new page it currently has a very low PageRank. If someone who is reading this or comes across our Managed IT Services page linked to our page, our page would get a small boost to its PageRank.
PageRank is more interested in quality over quantity, so the more traffic a site has that provides that link to our Managed It Services page the better the boost. For example, if the Houston Business Journal linked to our page (like I just did here to their webpage), it would give a massive boost since they have 203,098 visitors to its site from organic traffic and the site relates well with our topic of Managed IT Services for businesses.
In addition to PageRank, Google ranks the results for search based on many many other criteria, including user experience signals.
One of the most important ranking indicators is one of the most recent innovations from Google called RankBrain. Google says this is their third most crucial ranking factor.
What is RankBrain?
RankBrain is a machine learning system that helps Google sort their search results by measuring how users interact with the search results and then ranks them accordingly.
The primary focus of RankBrain is two things:
- How long someone spends on your webpage (Dwell Time)
- The percentage of people that click on your result, known as Click-Through-Rate.
Before You Leave
A recent study by SearchMetrics found that the average Dwell Time for a Top 10 Google Search Result is 3 minutes and 10 seconds.
Now let’s see, according to my trusty editor, this article has 772 words, 45 sentences, and takes 3 minutes and 5 seconds to read. If you would, please invest another 5 seconds on my page. If you are feeling super generous, please give my new page, Managed IT Services a backlink. Here’s the page link. Thank you.