15 Jul, 2015 How Does Google Search Work 15 July 2015 Rachael Hand Digital Insights and Performance Manager Google is the largest search engine in the world. Founded in 1998 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google was created for the simple task of providing relevant and useful information to individuals when searching on the web. Born with the name ‘BackRub’, because of the search engines determination of a sites relevancy through its links with other pages; the duo officially settled on the name Google in 1998 – a play on of the word Googol to represent the vast nature of the search engine. Just How Does Google Search Work? Picture this. Its 1950 and you need to find out what year the First World War started. You take yourself to the library, search the library index and find out the location of books on the First World War and scan through a range of books to find the information you require. Google works in very much the same way as trawling through a library full of information. To search in Google you will need to enter in keywords to indicate what it is you are hoping to discover. Let’s use the First World War as the example again. Once you have typed in your key words ‘When’ ‘Did’ ‘the’ First’ ‘World’ ‘War’ ‘Begin’ and hit search – that’s where the real work begins. In the same way you would walk to the right aisle, scan the book spines and contents of a physical book – Google uses software programmes called Google Spiders. ‘Spiders’ or ‘crawlers’ are used to crawl through the vast amount of information that is publically available marking keywords and links that may be of interest to people searching. To do this they initially find a few relevant web pages then follow all the links on those pages to other relevant pages to collate a whole host of possible search results. This process is more commonly known as ‘The Crawl Process’. Once the crawlers or spiders have collated all of the possible relevant information, they then need to organise that information in order of relevance in order to give back the most quality results to the searcher. This process is called ‘Indexing’. Indexing is usually the most important part of a search. It is the part which determines which search results will be most beneficial to the searcher and therefore, the part which most marketers are interested in as you will want your site to appear in the search results as high as possible in order to gain web traffic. During a crawl, how does Google determine if the pages are relevant? Quite simply. They ask questions – lots of questions. These questions can include things like: > When was the content published? > Do they contain pictures or videos? > How is the site structured? > What is the site's speed? > How many times do keywords appear on a page? > Do keywords appear on a title? > What is the quality of the website? > Are the key words included in the URL? > Are there any synonyms of the keywords on the page? > What is the quality of site? > In what order do the key words appear on the site? > How often do the words appear together? Once the spiders have asked all their questions, they can determine which of the web pages they found are the most relevant to the user. For example, if a spider found information containing the words ‘world’ and ‘war’ but not ‘first’ and ‘begin’, they would still index the page but it as it is not entirely relevant; it would appear much lower down in the search results. As a general rule, the more quality links you have and the more reputable and credible those links are – the quicker Google will find your website and the higher it will rank. Google Algorithms Google Algorithms are complex formulas used during the crawl process to take search queries and generate more in depth and relevant search results. These complex formulas search for ‘clues’ to go beyond searching for particular search terms to determine what the searcher is actually looking for. These clues can derive from factors such as your region, page rank, other terms on websites and freshness of content. Google is continually updating their algorithms in order to make sure the results they are obtaining are the most relevant and up to date as possible. Google Ranking Google Ranking is a formula created by Google which bases a pages position in the search results on how many external links point to it and how important and credible those links are. Some factors which can influence your page rank include: > Keywords appearing in top level domain > Keyword in Title Tag > Backlinks – from a trusted and relevant source > Longer content articles – and in particular how recent they are > Page Loading Speed > Affiliate Links > URL Length / URL String > Domain Age > Mobile friendliness – Google recently revealed that they favour responsive or mobile friendly sites. These ranking factors are the signals that Google Algorithms look for when ranking a website. If you want your site to appear in at the top of Google, there are positive and simple changes that you can make to your website. Speak to our experts today for more advice or help with your websites Google Ranking.