How does Google Search work?

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The Internet – undoubtedly the most important invention of the recent decades – is so cavernous that without the appropriate search tools data search would not be possible. Everybody knows we use Google to search for Information the most often. But… how does Google actually search for anything?

How to find anything in the vast amount of information?

The amount of data available on the Internet can really give you a headache. We can only speculate about its values, but it is estimated that the so-called big four (Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook) collectively store around 1,200 petabytes (1.2 million terabytes, in other words) of data… and we are talking only about four large companies! Managing such a large amount of information is possible only when we have a system to organize it. That is how the career of Google has started – on Internet cataloging.

Google has created ranking systems that analyze this monstrous number of websites in the search index and give search results as close as possible to the original query in a return.

It also happens by chance that many related concepts and professions have arisen around the Google search engine – such as SEO, SEM, copywriter and content writer – so the operation of such a search engine may be interesting not only in terms of human curiosity, but also if we are talking about work and business.

After all, we interact with it every day, both at the office and at home, so let’s get to know Google’s secrets.

How does Google Search work?

Ranking systems use a set of algorithms that analyze websites indexed in their catalogs in terms of many different factors.

The multi-stage verification process purpose is to return a precise search results. Moreover, these factors have a variable significance. When asking about current events (such as covid-19 pandemic), the time of publication is important. In case of general inquiries, substantive and cross-sectional issues matter. Overall, all the process is quite complex – we will discuss its stages step by step.

Keyword analysis

In order to know what to look for, one must understand what he or she want to ask about. Thanks to the researches on the understanding of natural language, the search engine is able to catch typos (spelling mistakes or incorrect writing resulted from ignorance or rush), synonyms for the given word used in the phrase (for example: for the query “how to transfer data from the computer”, the search engine will also display the search results that would appear if the key phrase was formulated differently, eg “how to get data from a computer”), as well as to understand the type of question that the recipient ask.

In addition, the search engine detect whether the timing aspect is an important element of our question. Research that make use of keywords that have grown in popularity recently may indicate that you want to gain the latest information on a given topic.

We already know what we ask about. What is next?

Matching the results to the query

The stage during which the search engine decides which content may match your query. Therefore, it is not difficult to guess that this step is the main interest of copywriters, content writers and SEO optimization specialists.

The main indicator of compliance is, no surprise here, the presence of the same keywords and phrases that have been used in the query on the website. The frequency of their appearance and the place of occurrence (title, headings, content) are crucial. In addition, the search engine tries to assess whether a given research is consistent with the query of the recipient. It also tries to broad the search criteria on what kind of information is user exactly looking for. If you enter the phrase ”cars”, you are unlikely to be pleased if you receive websites with the word “cars” repeated several thousand times. More likely, you are looking for car brands, prices, stock market and rankings.

Google is constantly trying to improve its algorithms to present the most precise search results. That is why you may sometimes be asked whether the search results matches what we type in the search engine.

We already know everything about a pool of potential results for the inquiry. Is this where our journey ends? Not at all.

Top useful websites

We already know that there are millions of gigabytes of data on the Internet, so we would probably receive millions of websites for each key phrase. However, we usually find a satisfactory answer on the first, second or third page of the search results. How does it happen?

Google keeps a watchful eye on websites so it can create suitability rankings. It includes websites that are highly rated by users whenever they search for a given phrase, containing reliable information related to the subject, but also the ones of the greatest technical condition, substantive value and interesting appearance. Therefore, it is not enough to stuff your website with a keyword to win the favor of algorithms.


The universal confirmation of the quality of the website are links that lead to it through other websites. If many websites list only one page that is thematically related to a given query, it is an indication that it can be trusted.

Therefore, we have already narrowed down our search pool. We no longer pay attention to malicious or low-quality websites. What comes next?

Displaying the best search results

Ranking systems first try to display results that contain a fair cross-section of the given issue, not focusing only on a one-sided, single interpretation or opinion. Diversity is a key.

In addition to the substantive value, the technical parameters of the website are also taken into account. Those are: loading time (also for valid internet connections), displaying results on popular browsers, as well as adaptation to the mobile version.

We have precise results and we have already taken care of the quality. The websites that contain the content have also been reviewed. Is there anything else we can do? Of course!

The right context

The search engine pays attention to geolocation, browser setting, private preferences and search history in order to present the most relevant results for a given search term.

We finally have everything taken into account. This “processed” search results are displayed on the screen then.

Has the way of operating of the Google search engine been changing?

Naturally, the search engine is constantly being improved in ever possible way. The exact content of the algorithms still remain a secret, of course, so SEO optimization is like a game of ships where no one tells us if we hit the target.

People for whom Google is an important tool and which they use to work are pretty good at this game. They successfully manage, along with occasional tips from Google, to adjust the content to match the current search trends.

Jan Susmaga

By education - philologist / linguist, by current profession - proofreader and copywriter, by interest - a bit of everything. He enjoys writing, reading both prose and non-fiction (mainly scientific), watching horror movies, training martial arts, trying new things.

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