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How Google Search Algorithms Work

Updated: Feb 21, 2023

As of December 2021, Google continues to dominate search engines with a market share of 86.19%. Since its launch in 1997, Google has remained an undefeated search engine market leader thanks to its complex algorithm.

The Google algorithm is possibly the most potent and intricate code ever written. They control how the world access the information found on the internet and how much is visible. But, most importantly, the Google search engine is the basis of billions of dollars worth of eCommerce.

What is Google Search Algorithm?

Google Search Algorithm, otherwise called PageRank(PR), is the complex system that Google uses to rank content in their search results page. It employs over 200 ranking factors, including quality, relevance, context, and many more, to determine the rankings.

The process of ranking is split into three stages.

● Crawling: In the first stage, Google crawls the web using bots called Spiders, looking for new and updated pages. Naturally, the more links a webpage has, the easier it is for the bots.

● Indexing: As the next step, the URLs are analyzed, particularly the content and images. The information is then stored in the Google index.

● Serving: The final step is the ranking stage, where the pages are ranked for a search query. And this is done using the Google Search Algorithm.

How Does the Google Search Algorithm Work?

Google search algorithm has been a closely guarded secret for quite some time now. However, y to understand the inner workings with the information, ranking factors, and metrics being widely documented.

Google ranking systems are designed to sort through the billions of web pages and find relevant results in no time. They are made of a whole series of algorithms that work together to present the results helpfully. The algorithm considers many factors, including your query, relevance, location, expertise, usability, and the weightage applied to each element is not the same for every question. It varies heavily depending on the nature of the query, and so is the relationship between them.

Google often tweaks its algorithms and issues updates throughout the year. Rather than changing the metrics, the weightage is often tweaked for better results.

Key Factors that Determine the Ranking


Understanding the meaning and intent of the query is the critical first step to establishing the information you are looking for. After that, the goal is to understand the language and interpret the spelling mistakes to name a few.

● Scope of the Query: What is the size of the search query? Is the researcher looking for a specific answer or a broader topic?

● Synonyms: The system understands the type of query using natural language understanding. It allows Google to comprehend the different synonyms for the search query and use them accordingly.

● Language: When the query is in a specific language, it analyses and interprets if the user wants the answer. Or if it references to a business and local info.

● Locality: The algorithm also determines what information you are looking for, more general or specific to the locality.

● Freshness: If the researcher searches for specific information, say weather or stocks, it gives the latest and up-to-date information.


Once the algorithm has determined the meaning and intent behind the query, it combs through the Google index to find relevant pages. One of the key indications that the webpage is relevant is the presence of keywords similar to the search query, particularly in the headings.

Having said far beyond the keywords to identify relevant pages. The webpage should have appropriate content pertinent to the search query to ensure that your webpage is being read.


Since 2019, quality has been an important ranking factor. This ensures that the web pages have the best content they can have. To do this, the search algorithms prioritize reliable and trustworthy sources firsthand.

If many sites refer to and value a particular website, it is looked upon as a good source of information and hence well trusted.


Another often skipped part is the usability of web pages. Pages that are easy to use are indeed ranked higher. The algorithm considers signals such as page speed, user experience, mobile adaptability, to name a few.

Context and Settings

Google tailors the search results based on various factors such as the user location, search history, and search settings. It helps the algorithm find relevant information that's useful at that moment. Localized searches also hold weightage, and the results page will show priority to local results.

The search results will also vary depending on the device. For example, a search on a mobile device yields different results than that on a desktop/laptop computer.

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