How Google’s Search Engine Works | SEO – 2

Why is Google Important?

When it comes to SEO, Google search is the primary search engine that is taken into consideration. The reason for this is the widespread usage of Google across the globe.

Google has almost 70% of the search market share while the rest of the 30% is divided among Bing(13%), Baidu(16%), Yahoo(2%).

Moreover, Google is expanding its search to its other products as well such as Google Assistant & more.

Therefore it makes sense to optimise your website for the search engine which owns the majority of the search market.

Also, every search engine has pretty much the same standard of website evaluation. So, if you are optimising for Google then you are automatically optimising for Bing and others.

Original Algorithm of Google

Google first came up with the Page Rank Algorithm to sort websites. It was a very simple algorithm when compared with today’s very complex algorithms. But back then, it was a revolutionary algorithm. Let’s try to understand how it works.

In the Page Rank algorithm, a website was ranked based on how many other websites on the internet were pointing to this website through links.

Each link was counted as an upvote to the given website. The weight of each pointing link was different.

So let’s say a website “A” has 0 incoming links, website “B” has 0 links, website “C” has 2 links. If website “C” points to the website “G”, it indicates that maybe “G” is a very good website and should be ranked. And if there are many websites pointing to “G” like “C” & “D” then the website “G” will definitely be ranked.

Also, the link from “C” has more weight than a link from “D”. This is because “C” has more incoming links than “D”. The weight of the link is also calculated by checking the relevance and anchor text of the webpage.

We have explained it in a simple way. You can read the page rank here.

Illustration to understand weight assignment to links

Notice above that link from page C carries more weight than a link from page F.

At the time of Google, the Internet was already a complex web of interlinking websites. Google used these links as a way to evaluate the website rankings. After that, as the world wide web grew, Google made more and more complex algorithms to sort websites to the point that now it is somewhat based on Artificial Intelligence.

Algorithm Updates From Google

The Page Rank algorithm was only the beginning of Google’s search algorithms.

Since then Google has implemented hundreds of algorithms to sort and rank websites. This was needed as more different kinds of content were being used such as Videos, PDFs, Images, etc. Let’s talk briefly about some of the major algorithms that were implemented after the Page Rank Algorithm.

1. The Panda Update (2011).

This algorithm was mainly implemented to fight the spam and useless content that was not adding any value to the user. Sometimes, spammers write a lot of content just to rank higher without considering what the user is looking for. 

Typically a spammer would insert key phrases into the content randomly without making any sense. 

2. The Penguin Update (2012).

Sometimes, in order to rank higher, website owners would increase the number of backlinks by creating spam, unnatural and irrelevant links. This update addressed that issue so that these kinds of things don’t trick Google.

Irrelevant links mean links that are made on websites that belong to a totally different niche and industry. 

3. The Hummingbird Update (2013).

This update was implemented to rank better and high-quality content that satisfies users’ needs. Now Google was not ranking the content that contained few keyword matches, it started to look at the overall topic and theme of the website.

4. The RankBrain Update (2015).

This update introduced Artificial Intelligence to Google’s search algorithm. Google became smarter at answering user queries accurately. Rank Brain was a big update and a big leap forward at answering user queries.

5. BERT (2019).

The BERT update was another addition to Google’s Artificial Intelligence algorithm. This algorithm aims to understand the webpage content as humans do and answer the user’s queries as a normal human would. The reason why Google is now able to answer your query right at the top is because of this update.

6. Core Web Vital Update (2021)

This was the recent update. This aimed to rank the websites which are good at core web vitals (more about core web vitals in the Advanced SEO section)

7. Mobile Friendly Update.

As more and more users began using smartphones, Google rolled out another update that rewarded websites which performed well on the mobile phone in terms of UI and UX.

We will be talking more about this in a separate section since this is an important ranking factor and even Google announced publicly.

These were only a few updates and there are a lot more such as page speed update, page experience update, link spam update. What you need to know is that Google keeps updating its core algorithm to give better answers to the users.

As the new form of content begins to emerge on the web, Google will be trying to get better and better at search and implement advanced algorithms that try to make search and the web a better place.

As an SEO, you need to keep watch over how and when Google implements some new algorithm and what you need to do about it. Usually, after every algorithm update, Google announces it publicly via social media and its official website. 

Follow these two Twitter handles, @searchliaison and @googlesearchc in order to stay updated about the latest Google search news.

Next we will talk about the 3 step process Google uses to find, crawl and rank your website.

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