How Does Google Rank Websites? (Explained Simply)

How Google Organise the World’s Information & Make It Universally Accessible and Useful

Before getting into the nitty-gritty of SEO tactics and tools for success, lets just like to lay down some basics of how search engines works, how Google organises the web, and why the search giant influences our SEO techniques so heavily.

Google crawling and indexation

Google indexes pages by sending out ‘web spiders’ to ‘crawl’ web pages and document the content on them (Not actual robot spiders, as cool as that would be 😊).

When the spiders (web crawlers) come across a link on a web page, they follow that link and go on to crawl the content on the page they land on.

The process goes on and on, with the spiders constantly following links to allow Google to build up a vast picture of the web.

Each page that is crawled is compiled into Google’s enormous index. Once indexed, the content of a page, including HTML titles, images, videos and ALT tags, is catalogued and used to deliver the most relevant search results to Google’s users.

Check out this video from Google! 🙂

Delivering search results from the index

When you input a search on Google, Google’s software quickly scans through the entire index and finds the most relevant web pages based on the search terms you used.

Usually, there are thousands upon thousands of potentially relevant pages, so Google’s software then uses hundreds of ranking signals to present the most relevant first.

It will consider things such as, the frequency of the search term in a page’s content (although this is becoming less important all the time), whether the search term appears in the page title or in the URL, if there are synonyms for the search terms on the page, whether the page is on a high-quality or low-quality domain and how important the page is based on the links referring to it.

Once all of these and many more complex factors have been considered, Google scores each page and delivers a search engine results page (SERP) with what they believe to be the most relevant web pages to your search at the top of the list.

All this happens within around half a second – How incredible is that!? 😊

Improved results with Geolocation

One important way that Google works to deliver relevant search results is by Geolocation.

Geolocation is the process of digitally identifying the geographical location of a person or device via the internet.

Google use a combination of GPS, cell tower triangulation and WiFi to decipher your location, and they use this information to serve you customised search results.

Let’s say, for example, you’re searching for ‘new conservatory roof quote’.

Google will attempt to decipher your location to serve you results from local businesses which could provide conservatory quotes in your area.

Location-based search is particularly valuable for mobile users who may be at a whole new location each time they perform a search.

How the search results pages have changed over time

Google is constantly updating the ways in which it delivers its search results to users to become more and more useful.

Back in the late 1990s when the search engine first launched, every person who performed a search was provided with the very same results.

Someone in New York looking for ‘how to make pancakes’ would see the same results page as someone in London. Over the years, however, Google has worked to make their service more personalised and dynamic.

Now, users will see vastly different results based on their past search history, their location, and the device they are using to search with.

Google has also introduced rich snippets and rich cards, which showcase the most relevant web pages by providing content previews.

At the time of writing this in 2017, Google has even announced that in the coming months, their index will be split between desktop and mobile so that people on mobile devices will only see web pages which give a high-quality experience when browsing on small screens.

NOTE: The team at Bubblegum Search have created a scrolling interactive infographic ‘SEO history & evolution timeline’ illustrating how the Google has changed over time.

Google’s impressive market share and growth

Source:

It is Google’s incredible ability to adapt and consistently improve its experience for users that puts it way ahead of the competition.

It is estimated that Google has around 74% (2017) of the search engine market share, with the likes of Bing, Yahoo, Ask, AOL, Baidu and DuckDuckGo falling far behind the search giant.

When Google first went public with its stocks in 2004, it generated $800 million in revenue. 10 years later, and its revenue had grown to a whopping $16 billion.

In 2015, the company’s revenue was an astounding $74.54 billion. In 2004, Google employed just over 3000 people. Today, their workforce is made up somewhere around 60,000 individuals.

Matt Cayless is the Director of SEO at Bubblegum Search. He is an expert in Search Engine Optimisation having worked on campaigns for some of the world’s biggest brands and has a passion for helping businesses grow online. When he’s not chasing the Google algorithm he can be found training for his next marathon. Follow him on Twitter 

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