How Google Search Engine Works
There are various factors that influence the search engine to figure out what should be placed and where!
Google Search Engine is a mystery and very few people know the story behind this- the fact about what is hidden! However, the good news is that most search engines are easy to understand. You may not know all the factors; sometimes we don’t need to know.
Let us learn what Google Search is:
What is Google Search?
Google Search is a completely automated search engine, that uses web crawlers that regularly inspect the web to find pages and add them to the index. Did you know? Most pages listed in the results are NOT manually submitted to include but are found and included automatically when these web crawlers explore the web.
With the basic knowledge, you can solve the crawling issues, index your pages, and understand how to optimize your site’s appearance in Google Search.
Stages in Google Search
There are 3 main stages in Google Search, it is important to note that not all the pages make it through these:
- Crawling: These are the downloaded text, images, and videos from pages found on the internet using automated programs
- Indexing: The text, images, and video files are analyzed and the information is stored in the Google index- a large database
- Serving search results: when a user browses through Google, it returns relevant information to the user’s query
This is the first phase of the Google search wherein we find out what pages are on the web. Not all web pages have a central registry, hence Google must find new and updated pages, and include them in the list of known pages. This process is known as URL discovery. There are certain pages known to Google as it has been visited earlier. Other pages are found when Google follows the link from a known page to a new page. For instance, a Hub page such as a category page connects to a new blog post. Other pages are discovered as you submit a list of pages for Google to crawl.
When Google discovers the URL of a specific page, it visits the page to find what it contains. You would use a large set of computers to visit or crawl to various pages on the web. The program that fetches is called Googlebot (also known as Robot, Bot, or Spider). This program uses an algorithmic technique to determine which sites to visit, how frequently and the number of pages to search from each site. Crawlers are programmed in a way that they don’t crawl a site too fast to prevent overloading. This technique is based on various responses from the site.
Googlebot does not crawl every page that is discovered. Certain pages would be prevented from crawling by the owner of the site, while a few pages would require logging into that site, and other pages could be duplicates of previously crawled pages. For instance, various sites are accessed through the www and non-www versions of the domain name, although the content is identical under these versions.
Crawling is based on whether the crawlers in Google is able to access the site. Here are some issues with the Googlebot while accessing sites:
- Server issues while handling the site
- Network issues
- Robots.txt directives preventing access to the page
After crawling, Google understands what the page is about, and the stage is called indexing and includes processing and analyzing the content in the text and main content tags and attributes, such as elements in <title>, alt attributes, images, videos, etc.
During Indexing, Google evaluates if this page is a duplicate of another on the internet or canonical. Canonical is a page shown in search results. To select a canonical, you need to group the pages found on the internet with similar content, then select the one that represents the most to the group. Other pages in the group are alternate versions that would serve you in various contexts, such as the user searching from a mobile device or looking for a specific page from the group.
Google also gathers signals about canonical page and its contents, used in the next stage, where you serve the page in search results. Certain signals include the language of a page, country to which the content belongs to, page usability, etc. Collected information about the canonical page and its group would be stored in the Google index, which is a large database hosted on several thousands of computers. However Indexing does not guarantee that every page processed by Google would be indexed.
Indexing is done based on the page content and its metadata. Here are a few indexing issues:
- Lower quality of the content on a page
- Indexing disabled by Robots meta directives
- Website design makes the indexing more complicated
Serving Search results
When a query is entered in Google Search, the machine searches the index to match the pages and responds with the results that are believed to of the highest quality and the most relevant to the user. Relevancy is determined by various factors, including information about the location of the user, language and the device- desktop or mobile. For instance, if you search for “bicycle repair shops”, the results would be different for a user in India and so would it be different for people in the U.S.
Search console might tell you that the page is indexed, however you don’t find in search results. This is because:
- The content on the page is not relevant to the user
- Quality of content is low
- Serving is prevented by the Robots meta directives
Now, there is an interesting question is raised- How does a post find place in Google Search engine results?
If you are a blogger or a developer, this topic is of great concern and importance. Why is it important? Because, once the site is crawled, it is stored on the hard disk of the search engine. However, it completely depends on the index if it would be displayed in the search engine or would be stored permanently. If the blog’s link is indexed, your article would be published in the search engine. The index depends on the quality of the article. If the article is of standard quality and the content is unique, it must be published and thus would top the search engine. Meanwhile if it is not indexed, the web crawlers deletes it from the stored data.
Hope the concept of Google Search engine and its working is clear.