Google Search - A maze

How Google Search Works

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In this article, we’ll explain a few things we understand about it and what that means to you.

  • a) as a website user, to see why sites structure their content the way they do, as a point of interest and
  • b) as a website owner so you can if you need to, see the steps you can actively take to try and ensure your site is getting in on the Google Search action.

About google search

Google Search offers a wide range of features to help you find what you want. You can find anything from web pages to pictures and videos, all ranked in order of relevance to your search query.

You can search for a specific topic, look up facts, explore a particular website, or search for images. Google search works in many different languages. You can also narrow the results by date, language, and type of content. Google search results are usually ranked by its algorithm.

The higher up a search result is on the page, the more important Google thinks it is. You can click on any search result to visit that website or watch that video.

type of information

The type of information categories that search results fall into can be summarised as:

  • Informational – Informational search results are the most common and are the ones that people probably arrive at via a Google search. These results are broad, detailed, and are meant to answer a question or provide knowledge to the user.
  • Navigational – Navigational results are meant to help users get to a particular website. They may have arrived at your site via a Google search or another internal or navigational link on your site.
  • Tansactional – Transactional results are meant to help users complete a specific action. The most common example of this is an e-commerce site where someone lands on the site with a product in mind that they want to purchase.

In order to best serve your users, it’s important to have a mix of these types of results.

The first two categories are very broad and can be used to describe most search results. On the other hand, transactional results are very specific, and you are unlikely to find many of them in a generic search.

The main purpose of transactional results is to enable users to complete a specific task such as booking tickets, making a purchase, or downloading something. Transactional search results are most often presented as a form, with fields for users to fill in and submit.

Where the results landed on the page (as a consequence of their position on the SERP) is dependent on the user’s query.

For the most part, the user will be looking for either a piece of information or a navigational route to something else. In the case of transactional results, the user is looking to complete a purchase, sign up to a service, etc.

When you conduct search queries, you are looking for information that falls into one of these categories.

You may be looking for information about a specific topic, or you may be looking for a website that offers a service that you need. In either case, you are looking for information that will provide you with a specific piece of information.

How Search Works

Search works by search engines operating in a few different ways to determine the best content to show their users.

  • Crawling: Search Engines will use crawling scripts (or “crawler bots”) to look at each URL they discover across the Internet to see if they can find content or code to help them.
  • Indexing: Search Engines will Index content to keep track of and organise the content that is found during the crawling process.
  • Ranking: When answering a user’s query, Search Engines use the indexed results to provide the most relevant content to their users on their ranked results pages, or SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages).

Crawling

A URL might have helpful content if it has a keyword-rich title that is clickable and helpful to the visitor. It might be written in HTML with a semantic structure that crawlers can understand and extract keywords from. It might have social media sharing buttons that make it easy for people to help spread the word about the content and give it a boost in the SERPs.

It might have a sitemap that allows crawlers to discover all of the URLS on a website and help them organize the information on the site. What most people don’t know is that each URL on a website can be set up with a unique configuration (small piece of code) that allows crawlers to extract a keyword from that URL, which can help the website rank for a keyword in the search engines.

Indexing

When the search engine finds a piece of content that it thinks is valuable and useful for its users, it then decides whether or not to “index” or make that content available for its users to discover.

Indexed content is considered more valuable for search engines because it is accessible to their users, who are actively looking for information.

The process of deciding whether or not to index a piece of content is often referred to as “relevancy sorting”. The goal of relevance sorting is to make sure that search results are as relevant as possible to users’ search queries.

One of the best ways to make sure that your content is being appropriately “relevancy sorted” by search engines is to make sure that it includes relevant keywords.

Ranking

In order to accurately display the most relevant results, Search Engines need to process and analyze massive amounts of data in real-time from their users. They do this by assigning a rank to each piece of content based on its relevance, authority, and popularity. If a piece of content has a high rank, it will have a higher position on the Search Engine’s results page and be more likely to be clicked on.

At the same time, Search Engines also have to keep track of the position of each piece of content on their site, which is called its “click-through rate” or CTR (Click Through Rate). By monitoring these numbers, Search Engines can understand what their users like and don’t like and change their algorithms accordingly.

SERPs – the search engine results pages

When a user completes a search query, he is presented with a set of results pages (SERPs). When you conduct a search on Google for example, the SERP, or Search Engine Result Page, displays what it considers to be the best results in order, usually below a block of ads.

The order of the results on the SERP is a result of a complex algorithm that Google uses to determine which websites are most relevant to a user’s query. The search engine’s algorithm takes into account various factors, including click-through rates, how often a website is visited, and the authority of the website.

Search Results - A maze

Ranking factors

Let’s take a look at the various ranking factors that Google says it takes into account when considering a webpage for inclusion into its index and what search queries will trigger its display in the SERPs:

CTR (Click Through Rate)

The higher the click-through rate, the higher the website’s authority in Google’s algorithm, is the general consensus. A click-through rate of 5–10% is an excellent benchmark to shoot for, but the exact number will vary depending on the niche and competitiveness of your industry.

To improve your click-through rate, you’ll want to create content that will inspire people to click on your website in Google search results. The easiest way to do this is to create engaging and helpful webpages that answer people’s questions. Doing so will help people find what they’re looking for in Google search results and increase your website’s click-through rate in the process.

Content Quality

It’s vitally important to be aware that content is king when it comes to Google ranking factors.

Google’s first-ever algorithm update was implemented in 2001, and since then it has been on a mission to provide the best possible search results for its users. As the years have passed, Google has continued to refine its algorithm, and now it is even more focused on one thing: delivering the most relevant content to its users.

During the early days of Google, websites were mainly judged on the number of incoming links they had, and the volume of traffic they received. Now, it is widely accepted that the quality of that traffic is more important than the quantity. This is why Google’s engineers implemented the concept of semantic search, which enables the search engine to understand the context of words and phrases entered by its users.

Backlinks

The number of backlinks a website or webpage has is a decisive Google ranking factor.

Links are an important factor in Google’s algorithm. The overall quantity and quality of backlinks are what matter the most. A website or blog with a few high-quality links will rank higher than a website with a lot of low-quality links.

Therefore, it is important to focus on getting high-quality links from authoritative sites. This can be done by publishing helpful and original content on your site, joining social media groups and forums, and building links from these sites. There are many ways to generate high-quality links for your site, but these are a few of the most common and effective.

Search Intent

The search intent of your content is one of the crucial ranking factors for Google. In essence, search intent refers to what a user wants. In other words, it’s about creating content that is helpful or relevant to the user’s query.

When creating content with search intent, you should make sure that it has a high “click-through rate.” This means that readers should be likely to click on your content when they see it in search results. The easiest way to accomplish this is by creating helpful content.

Page Speed

Page speed is a factor when Google looks at ranking webpages in its search results.

Having a fast site increases the likelihood that Google will crawl your site and rank your content. Google has an algorithm that determines how fast a page loads, and it considers speed when determining what to show in the search results.

Google has announced that it now considers the speed at which a page loads when determining how relevant it is to the search terms. This is significant, as it means it is not just the speed of the entire site but also the speed of each page that matters.

It is important to understand that each page has its own speed situation, and you cannot just take the slowest page and say that is the speed of your site.

Mobile-Friendly?

Looking at whether your website is (or webpages are) mobile-friendly is just as important as looking at how fast it loads.

Mobile devices have smaller screens, less RAM, and slower download speeds than desktops or laptops. To accommodate this, websites need to be responsive and easy to navigate on mobile devices.

Mobile usability testing tools allow you to create a virtual lab with a proxy, record your user’s actions, and play them back to get detailed insights into how your website is viewed from the perspective of your mobile visitors.

This will allow you to see how they navigate through your site, how long they stay on each page, what they click on, how they find your contact information, and more.

Domain Authority

The domain authority (DA) of your website is another important Google ranking factor.

DA is a logarithmic scale from 1 to 100 that Google uses to rank websites according to their authority. DA is calculated by averaging the number of incoming links to a website according to its Google page rank. The higher the page rank of a website, the more value it has in Google’s eyes.

DA is not a perfect science, but it is widely considered a useful metric for websites seeking Google rankings. The higher your website’s DA, the more likely Google is to place it in high-traffic search results. DA is a logarithmic scale, which means that it is not an even playing field. The DA scale is exponential, which means that the difference between a website with a DA of 10 and another with a DA of 20 is not just double, but 10 times greater.

Contextual Keywords

Google’s algorithm is often referred to as a semantic search. Semantic search is all about understanding the meaning of words and phrases. Google is especially good at understanding the meaning behind your keywords when they are used on your site. By including keywords naturally within your content, you are helping Google to better understand the intent of your site, which improves its ability to rank your site.

Site Structure

While keyword optimization is important, you should also consider your site’s structure if you are about to launch a new website, or looking at developing an existing one.

By creating a site structure that is search engine friendly, you can improve the discoverability of your content, and make it easier for search engines to crawl your site and index your pages.

There are several things you can do to improve your site’s structure, from choosing relevant keywords for your domain name to the order of your content.

Choosing the right domain name for your website is essential, as it is the first thing people will see when clicking on your website in search results. It’s also very important for search engines, as it is the URL that they will crawl and index.

There are many factors to consider when deciding on the order of your content, but it’s worth keeping in mind that the closer your most important content is to the top of the page, the easier it is for readers and search engines to find, increasing the likelihood of a good outcome.

Website Security.

Google now considers site structure and security to be ranking factors. HTTPS connections are preferred for serving webpages in SERPs.

This is because of the added security that HTTPS provides by encrypting the connection between your website and your visitors’ browsers. In order to switch from HTTP to HTTPS, you will need to obtain an SSL certificate, which can be purchased from a vendor or self-signed.

After installing the certificate, you will need to make some changes to your website’s code to enable SSL. Once these changes have been made and your site has been migrated to HTTPS, you will then need to make some changes to your site’s structure to make it Google-friendly.

User Experience

The overall user experience of your website is another Google ranking factor.

This means that Google wants to display websites that are easy to navigate, load fast, and are easy to find what you’re looking for. Google uses a variety of metrics to determine the user experience of a website, including bounce rate, time on site, and click through rate. A high-quality website should be designed to optimize these metrics to provide the best experience possible for users.

It is not just about the look of your site, but also how easy it is to navigate and how helpful it is for your visitors. To improve your user experience, make sure your website is interactive, easy to navigate, and has helpful content. These are all essential for increasing your website’s conversion rate and can also be helpful for Google rankings.

Local Business Listings

Another key element of search results today are local business listings. Some time ago Google decided that it wanted to be a Business Link Directory as well as a search engine and started building in features that up to that point were the preserve of Yellow Pages style websites around the world.

Google created a system that allowed businesses to claim their listings and add relevant information such as opening hours, a phone number, and a detailed description of their business. The company also allowed businesses to add their Google profile to their website, making it easier for customers to find their website and start purchasing from there. The result was an increased conversion rate for customers and a boost in revenue for businesses.

Now, when people search for services or goods in their local area, they often come across Google’s new business listings and can click on a map that shows where the business is located. When the user clicks on the map, they will see a popup containing basic info and some ways to contact the business.

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