A straightforward explanation of how Google search engine works

It is estimated that there are more than 10 billion pages on the World Wide Web.

An infinite pool of information, where searching would be impossible without the right tools.

It is, therefore, necessary that something, such as an algorithm, can analyze and store the data present on the web and make them quickly accessible and knowable.

To understand how Google search engine works you have to follow the three phases –

  • Crawling
  • Indexing  
  • Ranking and creation of SERP

The crawling process

The first phase of the entire process performed by the search engine is the web scan.

The crawling phase starts from the sites considered most authoritative and is carried out through special software called bots or crawlers.

These examine the HTML code of all the documents on the web, of whatever type they are (text, images, videos). The bots during this analysis focus on some specific parts of the code: the <title> of the page, the meta description, the alt text of the images, the parts in bold or italics of the text and the links.

Among these specific components, the software will search for more recurring and relevant keywords that will then be useful in the indexing process.

Furthermore, the bots will transfer the documents inside a giant database during this phase.

The journey that the bots makes on the web, passing from one page to another, is made possible by the ability of this software to recognize the links and simultaneously use them to move to the linked page.

The indexing process

During the indexing phase, the impressive amount of web documents, previously transferred to the databases, is put in order.

The search engine, utilizing unique algorithms, classifies the pages by keywords, categories, themes and based on various other parameters, creating a library.

The resource can be indexed in different levels: it can be stored permanently or temporarily, or it can be inserted in secondary or specialized indexes (for example in the index reserved exclusively for images). So when the user starts a search, the engine will not go to consult, as we are used to thinking, the entire web but its own database or its own library containing the data already perfectly ordered.

Ranking and creation of the SERP

When the user enters the search query, through advanced and refined algorithms, the engine takes the documents semantically closest to the query from the indexes, ordering them in a sort of ranking.

Most search engines, to decide this ranking, take into account more than 200 factors, among which there are –

  • The most frequently searched words on the page
  • The presence or not of the words forming the query in the URL, in the meta-tag title, in the title and in the first lines of the text
  • The synonyms of the words sought in the text
  • The quality of the site
  • The importance of the site, established by the search engine through the semantic analysis and the analysis of incoming links to it.
  • The page with the search results is the final ranking, called SERP  in descending order from the best content to the worst. 

A basic understanding of how Google search engine works is essential if you wish your website to be viewed by the broadest category of users. To display a site in the top positions of the search engine, it is necessary to know well the operation of Google, to be able to take advantage of SEO mechanism.

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