How Does Google Search Work?

If you’re like me, you probably use search engines everyday. But do you ever stop and wonder how Google returns relevant search results in the blink of an eye? And do it better than any of its competitors.

Well let me guide you down the path of Google enlightenment.

First stop, Google’s own technology overview:
The software behind our search technology conducts a series of simultaneous calculations requiring only a fraction of a second. Traditional search engines rely heavily on how often a word appears on a web page. We use more than 200 signals, including our patented PageRank™ algorithm, to examine the entire link structure of the web and determine which pages are most important. We then conduct hypertext-matching analysis to determine which pages are relevant to the specific search being conducted. By combining overall importance and query-specific relevance, we’re able to put the most relevant and reliable results first.

Maybe that wasn’t as clearly explained, or written in plain English as your were hoping. Perhaps an illustration will help.

The (illustrated) Life of a Google Query:

google search queryImage Copyright © Google Inc.

That helps you to get the picture, but only focuses on a search query. Let’s look a little deeper at the technology under the hood. In fact, why don’t we have Google’s own Matt Cutts explain in his own words:

I hope that helps you understand the technology behind your searches!

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