Everyone that does online advertising wants to know two things: How Google search works and how to be seen on Google. So I felt the best place to start is this intro video directly from the Google YouTube channel.
The basics of how Google’s search engine works
Everyone that uses the internet knows that Google is the place to go to get the answers you want. What most people aren’t sure of is how Google finds the information it puts up at the top. Google does share a lot of facts and advice on how to structure your website content. However, they also keep the specifics to their algorithms a big secret. It’s a big secret so people don’t learn how to abuse the system.
Google also comes down hard on websites that they think are trying to game the system. They do this because that integrity is what keeps us all coming back to Google when we need answers.
Spider software that crawls the worldwide-web
Most search engines have spider software that crawls the worldwide-web. Most search engines also have a large index of keywords. However, Google is the best out there due to the way it ranks search engine results page (SERP). Google uses a trademarked algorithm they call PageRank because it assigns each web page a relevancy score.
No one besides the folks at Google knows exactly how their PageRank works. However, some of us have a pretty good idea of the main factors Google considers.
What is SERP?
The SERP acronym stands for “Search Engine Results Page”. The higher your SERP the higher your webpage is up on Google. Everyone wants to have the best SERP so more people see their products or services.
What is PageRank?
PageRank (PR) is the first algorithm Google uses to evaluate web pages to determine the SERP. The higher your PR the higher up in the SERP you will be. A website with a PR of 87 will most likely pop up on Google before a website with a PR of 12. Google uses many things to determine a website’s PR. Some of the things that Google considers are reviews, social media bookmarks, backlinks (links pointing back to your site), and bounce rate (how long people spend on your web page) among other variables. The exact formula that Google uses to determine PR is secret.
Google’s search engine is very complex and there are thousands of different factors that are taken into account. It’s one of the biggest secrets in the world because few people know how it all works for sure. However, there are many things that a good Search Engine Optimization (SEO) service provider can use to produce solid results. An SEO company that can’t explain PR, SERP, Backlinks, or many other things you don’t see on this blog should not provide the service.
How do search engines find info on the world wide web?
The worldwide web gets its name due to the way the internet links all the websites of the world together. If you were to draw it out the internet would look like a never-ending series of spider webs. Google and other search engines use software or robots that crawl that web going from one link to the next to find information. This software was given the name “spiders”. The spiders take notes of what sites are linking together and what information can be found on each site. The spiders will take notes on everything that a webpage offers like a title, description, tags, and more. These spiders never stop scouring the web and are constantly coming back to websites to see new changes or updates.
These spiders are what tells Google and other search engines what websites should show up first in the SERP. They also help Google determine PR. PR has a lot to do with what sites are linking to which. If you have a lot of bad backlinks from SPAM sites then your PR will go down. If sites with higher PR give you a backlink then your PR will most likely rise too. Sites are constantly updating and providing new links to crawl so the spiders never sleep.
Indexing the web
Google takes all the info that the spiders send it and indexes into its database. Indexing happens all the time too because it’s important that Google provides the latest and most up-to-date information. Think of Google as a massive card catalog or filing system because that is basically what it is.
Indexing is the process of organizing massive amounts of data and pages so the search engines can provide the most relevant results ASAP.
The datacenters Google uses are huge, purpose-built collections of servers that act as a filing cabinet more or less. These servers are constantly moving websites to the top and bottom of the SERPs depending on the new info the spiders send them. The servers are all over the world so Google can provide us with the information as fast as possible. These buildings that house the servers are also some of the most hi-tech and closely guarded buildings in the world. Google takes the security of these buildings very seriously.
What is an Algorithm?
Algorithms are very complex and lengthy equations that calculate the value for any given site in relation to a search term. The exact formula that makes up the algorithm Google uses is perhaps the most sought after secret in the world. Many people have an idea of some of the main factors that the algorithm uses, but only a handful of people know the exact formula. This is so people can not game the system and ruin the integrity of Google. The integrity of Google is what keeps us all using it. We know that Google is most likely to give us the best answers to whatever questions we are asking.
There are SEOs (people that provide SEO services) that know enough about the algorithms to advise website owners on how to improve their sites. These SEOs help business owners improve their sites so that they can improve their PR and SERP results. Over 3.5 billion searches are made every day on Google so it’s important to know a bit about SEO if you want your website to be seen.