Customers often ask us: How does Google Search work? This particular question is not only asked by customers, but something we might be sharing on a birthday party ever now and then as well. Google came up with its own explanation presented in a rather special presentation.

How Search works

Google breaks it down into 3 steps. And this ain’t a easy job, since the Internet consists trillions of pages. The challenge for Google is to to show the correct results each time someone enters a search query. It requires a lot of computer power and special software to make this happen. Every day Google comes up with new ways to improve search results.

3 steps to get best search results:

1. Crawling en indexing
2. Algorithms
3. Fighting spam

Crawling and indexing

Every day a lot of new websites and therefore web pages commence. Currently there are more than 30 trillion web pages! By crawling all these pages Google knows what is described on each specific page. They will review all content and will store these in an index. The crawling goes from (web)link to (web)link. So Google will start at a specific page and will follow all specific links on that page. In this way, eventually they will index all pages. Both the pages within a particular website, as well as the pages to web sites of someone else who are linked.

If the page is viewed it will be sorted by content topic but also other factors. All this information is stored in an index. This index is currently 100 million gigabyte in size. By sorting the pages they can quickly be linked to the different searches, but ..


Not every page is placed at a top position in the searchengine, there won’t be enough ”space” to do so. Therefore, Google has an algorithm which decides which pages meet the search query the best to order the to display the best results. The data that matches the search query will be shifted by:

– Quality; is the web page of sufficient quality?
– “Freshness”; the website is up to date?
– Safety; is the page is safe to visit?
– User context; whats the relevancy with the search query?
– Translation; is the content in the right language?

On top of that there are about 200 factors which Google will consider in order to show (a set of) of web pages that will find your search. And these can be different for each user.

Fighting Spam

All relevant pages will be displayed to an user. But there might be pages that are not that relevant enough or maybe there are outdated..

The majority of spam is automatically deleted from the search results. If questionable pages are detected, manually action is required. Google will track down the website owner to send a message that there are problems with the website. This is usually done through Google Webmaster Tools. The moment a website owner receives a message from Google, they are able to adjust the website so it will be according Google’s guidelines. After changes are made the website owner can notify Google that changes have been made and can be included within the search results (again).

So this is how it works

Now you know there is a lot happening on the background when you use Google. See how it’s done.

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