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How does Google search work?

9 February, 2021 · 9 min read·Traffic generation
How does Google search work?
Find out how Google search works and learn ways to improve your Google ranking.

Every time you "search" on Google, thousands of search results appear on the search engine results page. (SERP) It's fascinating how the search engine figures out the most relevant search for your query.

Here's a scenario:

Imagine going to the library and asking for books related to Zoology. The librarian returns with at least ten different books about Zoology. You then select the best book relevant to a specific topic you're most interested in.

That's right! Google search works that way. It stores an extensive collection of data from almost every site that you can think of. When searchers key in terms of the Google search bar, the system finds the most relevant results that answer the query. And that's how search engines work!


Let's look at how Google search works and the process involved throughout the process.

Before jumping to other details, let's be clear about one thing!

Google search engine involves a complex process. There are thousands of factors at play to determine what should go where. It is compared to a complicated puzzle, and only a few know how to crack it. If you're one of them, congratulations, you are one step closer to success!

The good news is that Google search engine is pretty easy if you understand the process and integrate a little bit of search engine optimization (SEO) practices.

Why do many people use Google?

Google was founded by Sergey Brin and Larry Page as a part of their thesis while studying at Stanford University. It was launched in 1996 and made public officially in 2004. Google is unique, making it successful (more successful than Bing and Yahoo) and becoming the most used search engine in the US, managing over 3 billion pages a day.

Guess what? 94% of searches happen in Google. But why? Why is Google the go-to choice of users?

Here's why:

  • Ability to Provide Quick Results

The Google search engine can provide high-quality search results for its users in a matter of seconds. The search engine understands the importance of search intent and finds the most relevant and accurate information that answers the query. It also provides simple and better results that make users happy. Happy users will revisit the search, and they become loyal users of the platform.

  • It is a trusted platform the provides the best results

Google provides relevant results, making it a trustworthy online resource. The platform regularly performs algorithm updates to provide better service to its users through relevant results. As a result, more users flock to the site, making it one of the most used and trusted search engines on the web.

So, how does Google search work?

The Google search process involves 3 primary processes:

#1 Crawling

The process in which a search engine sends out a team robot to find updated content is called crawling. It is the first step of having a search engine (Google) recognize your page and show it in search results. However, having your page crawled does not necessarily mean it can be indexed.

Google uses web crawlers to extract data from websites. Web crawlers are also known as spiders because they crawl from pages to pages and web to web, similar to how spiders are.

Crawling is also the first step to finding out the existing pages on the web. Google look for new pages and add to its existing pages. After finding a URL, the web crawlers crawl the page to find out what's on it. It analyzes the text and non-text features, including the page's overall visuals, and decides if it should appear on search results.

Getting crawled means that Google is looking at your page - the search engine is deciding if your content is new or if it can "give something to the internet." If the page is promising, it may be scheduled for indexing, meaning it has the possibility of ranking.

Getting crawled is essential because it is the first step to getting your page notice. So, here are a few ways to improve site crawls:

  • Make sure web pages are correct and Google can reach the site. Perform a quick on the images and other elements of the website using the Mobile-Friendly Test tool. In that way, you can verify the status of the web pages on your website.
  • Inform Google if you have created or updated a single page by submitting an individual URL.
  • The homepage is the most important part of the website, as far as Google is concerned. Make sure to incorporate a good navigation system with links to all the pages on the website. It also encourages a complete site crawl.
  • Link your page to an authoritative site. However, you need to follow the Google Webmaster Guidelines to avoid penalization.
  • Monitor Google crawl rate by performing tests. Use the Google Webmaster Tool. The more often Google crawls your site, the faster it will find and rank your content.

#2 Indexing

So, after your page is crawled and discovered, Google will try to figure out what your content is about. (The process is called indexing) Google analyzes the site elements such as page content, images, videos and makes sense of the entire page.

Indexing also involves the process of organizing information before a search to enable fast responses to ti queries. Google uses an inverted index or reverses index to speed up the process.

Inverted indexing is a system where the text elements database is compiled along with pointers to the document that contains those elements. Search engines use tokenization - the process of reducing words to their meaning to minimize the resources needed to store and retrieve the data. It is a practical approach better than listing all documents against relevant keywords and characters.

Here are a few ways to improve page indexing:

  • Use page headings that sum up the subject of the page.
  • Create a unique, meaningful, and relevant page title.
  • Use texts rather than videos. However, you can support your content with videos and images to help convey meanings.
  • Track crawl status by using Google Search Console. Check your crawl status every 30 or 60 days to determine the potential problems that affect site indexation. Some of the crawl errors are DNS errors, server errors, 404 errors, and Robots.txts errors.

#3 Ranking

When web searchers perform a web search, Google finds the results from its index. It also determines the highest quality results based on location, language, and type of device. In that way, the most relevant search results are provided to the searchers.

There are thousands of possible results available after searchers hit the search box. So, Google must prioritize the results based on relevancy, value, and specificity to the search query. (The process is called ranking) However, there are factors of ranking algorithms that are taken into consideration to determine which web pages should rank for a specific search term.

The Google search algorithm considers various factors in page ranking, such as web page authority, search term used, and the content and site functionality. Web page authority is determined by many factors such as links and the perceived value of the site.

Here are ways to improve site ranking:

  • Publish relevant and timely content.
  • Work on the SEO aspect of your website.
  • Stick to the Google Webmaster Guidelines for a better user experience.
  • Keep up with the Google search algorithm updates.


Google search involves various processes. It is important to understand each process to improve your site and provide a better user experience to those who visit your website.

Related: How to get Google to crawl your site and rank your content

Fool-Proof Ways to Improve Google Ranking

Generally speaking, website owners want to know how Google search works to determine the Google algorithm ranking factors and improve website performance and get a secured spot on SERP.

Now that you know how Google search works, let's move to the different tactics that can help improve your ranking on Google SERP and get your website optimized for organic search results.

  • Optimize Featured Snippets

Featured snippets can be found on top of Google's organic results below the ad in the box. It aims to answer users' questions right away. With featured snippets, you'll get additional brand exposure in organic search results. It's easy to rank for featured snippets if you understand how it works. All you need to do is, know the questions your readers are asking, provide in-depth answers, and create high-quality content.

  • Improve HTML Performance

Improve your HTML code to optimize the website and increase conversions. It can also help the functionality of the website, which increases the crawl rate. Some of the most effective ways to improve HTML performance are reducing image size, reducing HTTP requests by combining CSS and JavaScript files, and applying minifications to CSS and JavaScript documents. In that way, HTML code and performance are improved, bringing positive changes to your website's SERP visibility.

  • Improve low-quality content and links

Low-quality content and links kill your website's SEO and search engine ranking. Low-quality links come from low-quality websites that ignore the guidelines set by SEO and Google's algorithm system. Low-quality content is one of the killer factors that can affect the website ranking on organic search results. But? There is a way to fix it. You should hire an SEO expert who can perform a website audit to assess and identify the quality of links and your pages' content.

Key Takeaways

Google is the most used search engine in the world. 94% of searches happen on the platform, making it more popular than Yahoo, Bing, AOL,, etc.

It is essential to know how sites are crawled, indexed, and ranked to improve the website's performance.

Website owners should know how Google search works to achieve a better ranking on SERP.

Search engines involve a complex process, but you can use them to your advantage in building a highly monetized business website once you understand it.

If Google finds your website understandable and substantial, there is a big possibility of getting crawled and indexed, which means you will get ranked.

Google algorithm system changes regularly. It is essential to stay updated to keep the top spot on the Google search engine results page.

There are various ranking factors Google takes into consideration to rank for keywords, backlinks, and search terms such as language, location, and type of device used.

SEO is the best way to get a high ranking on SERP. There are also different tools that you can use to assess the website's performance and find solutions to improve issues that are hurting your ranking.

Always follow the Google guidelines and incorporate new tactics that can help jumpstart the business.

Hire a company that can help build a professional-looking website. In that way, your business' success will become higher and you'll get your investment back quickly.

Do you need help?

If you're struggling with ranking and optimizing for organic results, B12 is here to help you. We specialize in building websites that are SEO optimized through our hybrid human and AI web builder. Our web design process is so simple and streamlined that you can get a free draft of your new website in the next five minutes.

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