How does Google really work?
So how does really Google work? Well, you type in a question and you get an answer. Simple as that, right? Wrong. There’s a lot more to a Google search than meets the eye and in this article we’re going to cover some of the processes that make it possible.
Before we get started, here’s a few interesting facts and general information about one of the world’s biggest and most successful tech companies.
- Google was originally named ‘Googol’ but was changed to ‘Google’ due to a typo.
- Google’s corporate motto is “Don’t be Evil”.
- Want to know what’s trending on Google in your country or globally? Google has a trend tracking website that provides you with a list of what people are searching for. Just a heads up though… it’s kind of disappointing, the Kardashians regularly rank number 1…. Here’s the Google trends URL: https://www.google.com.au/trends/
- Not much is known about Google’s data centres but we do know that they can cost upwards of $600 million dollars!
- Google has been acquiring, on average, more than one company per week since 2010.
Who is Google?
Google presently controls 75% percent of the search engine market, beating out their closest competitor, Bing, who sit at just 8.5%. They’ve diversified into a range of areas and acquired companies that are juggernauts in their own right like Android and Youtube. All this activity has lead to Google earning a gargantuan $75 billion USD in revenue in 2015! That’s more than the GDP of Uruguay…
This enormous revenue has allowed Google to reinvest in its search engine service to make it more efficient and to expand its features and functionality. But how does a Google search actually work?
In this article we will run you through some of the behind-the-scenes digital processes that occur when you type, “why does my cat hate me?” into the Google search bar.
How’s it work?
The purpose of Google’s search engine is to return the most relevant information in response to a person’s query. The words and sentences that people type when asking these queries are called keywords and keyphrases.
For example, somebody looking for a coffee in Sydney might type in, “where is the best coffee in Sydney?”. The keywords in this case are “Sydney”, “coffee”, “where” and “best”. Google will scan the web for pages that contain these keywords and produce relevant pages that contain them. But anyone can say they have “the best coffee in Sydney”, can’t they? So there are other things for Google to consider before producing an answer.
Domain authority is a measure of the strength of a website and it’s content, and is directly related to the position that a page will hold on an associated Google search. A webpage with high levels of domain authority is one that people trust and is more likely to have higher amounts of traffic.
The authority of any given webpage is primarily based on the amount of other websites that link back to that site, and the authority that those websites hold themselves. If you run a car review business and Audi’s website links back to yours, then your website will have a higher level of authority.
Domain authority is basically like what happens when someone who commands respect puts in a good word for you at work, people trust that person and will trust you in turn. Website’s with good, relevant content are more likely to be linked to by other sites in similar fields. This is why Google prioritizes them in search ranks, and this is why content is everything.
To bring it back to the “best coffee in Sydney” example. Say a cafe’s website has heaps of good reviews from other trusted food review sites. This means that this cafe’s website is trustworthy and Google will reward them by ranking them higher in the results!
There’s so much content on the Internet that it’s mind boggling. Something like 5 trillion individual web pages…. Filters are exactly what they sound like, sieves that help Google sift through the millions of results to narrow it down to the best few answers.
Some examples of filters are:
- Personaliation: Google will take things like user personalisation into account. This means that you’re everyday browsing will affect the results Google returns. In fact, the only way to get an unbiased Google search result is to search when in incognito mode or some other form of private browser.
- Links: As I said before, pages that are full of links and interconnected with other sites in similar fields will receive a boost in their search ranking.
- Trends: If the term that is searched is popular at the time of typing then Google will add additional weight to the term.
- Vertical searches: Google has a number of search field options when you make a query. These include choosing whether you want to specifically search images, videos, maps, shopping or news.
Search Engine Optimisation
The first question you might ask is, “how can I make my website rank higher on a search”.
Services such as SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) exist to make this happen through an understanding of how Google operates. But given how complex Google’s search process is, it actually isn’t as simple as just throwing a few more keywords into a sites content.
SEO results aren’t immediately visible in a Google search and it can often take up to 6 months for significant change. This news is going to be frustrating to some but it’s a consequence of the way Google functions and there is nothing that can be done about it.
Fortunately, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. SEO results grows over time, they build and compound and the results you can get after a year will be significantly greater than after 6 months.
It’s also wise to consider that SEO is about more than just ranking higher in a query, it’s about driving leads and generating sales. SEO that focuses on simply ranking highly in a search won’t necessarily lead to more sales and attention. What I mean by this is that SEO should be focused on creating content relevant to actually solving the problems of customers and not just being relevant to keywords that the customer might search.
A lot of SEO is based on content creation and link building which are parts of an ongoing process that occurs over time and THIS is why change in a website’s ranking doesn’t appear immediately. π
Every few years we see a new emerging technology that flips the world on it’s head. Advancements like smartphones have forever changed our everyday lives, and now it’s virtual realities turn.