How Google Works


It never ceases to amaze me – I type something… anything… into the Google search bar and in less than a second or two, I get this huge list of web pages that can help me. Since I first started playing with the internet back in 1995 or so (AOL anyone…2400 baud rate…remember the sound when you tried to connect via dial-up…lol!) – since then I have been fascinated by how search engines work. HOW do they get all those different web pages and then list them in some sort of order of importance? Let’s talk about that…

Getting Search Results

Just now, I went to Google and typed in keyword marketing research. In “.26 seconds” almost 4 MILLION web pages were returned just waiting to give me the information I need.

HOW does that happen?

How Does Google Work?

When you are working online, I think it is REALLY important to understand how this happens. While Google isn’t usually anywhere near as competitive for the keywords that we will need to rank for, it’s still important to understand how this phenomena of Google indexing and ranking really happens.

Google is BIG… as in B-I-G big. It is claimed that Google has over 19 data centers in the United States and at least 17 more all over the world (which explains why sometimes your search results are different from what others see).

Now, these data centers are HUGE…. 500,000 square feet EACH with a cost of something like $600 MILLION each.

Google is a very complex beast – no one person will completely understand exactly what happens… and just when you think you are getting close, they change again. When you consider all that people do to manipulate the Google search engine, you can imagine that staying at least 50 steps ahead is a really good idea to preserve their business model, agree?

So let’s get into how Google works. Let’s start at the top with what happens as soon as you add content to the web. This could be a comment on a blog, a “tweet”, a new blog post , a new page on your site, a comment in a public forum, an ebay auction, a social bookmark… or an entirely new website… anything that makes the web bigger.

So what happens after we add something to the web?

How Google Works

This image/flow chart from was shared on aforum not too long ago. I think it is fantastic!

Go ahead and start at the top and follow it all the way down. This chart takes you from you adding new content to the web to how pages are returned and ranked when a user searches Google for related terms and phrases.

It’s a BIG image and I did the best I could to get it to fit on my page here – but if you can’t read it, just click the image to view it in full size (MUCH easier to read it and follow it that way).

How Google Works.

Infographic by PPC Blog

If you want to rank well in Google – GIVE GOOGLE WHAT IT WANTS.

It’s not magic. When you combine the factors that Google wants with the factors that PEOPLE want, everything will be just fine.


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