How Google Search Works (in 5 minutes)

Every time someone searches for content on the internet, there are thousands, sometimes millions, of webpages available. How Google figures out which results to show starts long before a searcher begins to type.

In brief, Google evaluates the search terms a user enters into its search engine and matches them to the content on the web, seeking the content that is most likely to be helpful and reliable and then automatically putting it all together in a search results page designed to provide the information desired.

Google has been mapping the web since 1998, which creates an “index” of content. The index is like a library, except it contains more info than in all the world’s libraries put together.

In a fraction of a second, Google’s Search algorithms sort through hundreds of billions of webpages in their Search index to find the most relevant, useful results for what searchers are seeking.

Google’s ranking algorithms are constantly evolving in an ongoing attempt to better understand and serve relevant results to users.

The search words used are analyzed with respect to the same or similar words on websites (keywords). Additionally, existing web links leading to the pages are also analyzed, which helps inform relevancy. Furthermore, geographical locations and how recent the content was published are a few other factors that help filter the final results searchers are presented.

Google’s algorithms are also continually being developed to better identify scam websites to remove them from search results.

Google engineers continue to refine search results by conducting hundreds of thousands of experiments every year, resulting in thousands of improvements. It’s a never-ending process of improvement.