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How Google Works

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Google became the top-ranked website in 2007, within 12 years of its birth. As a result, it became a “go-to” website for computer users to look for answers to their questions. Google was not the first search engine. There were others like Yahoo before it. So, what exactly made Google the king of all search engines? It all boils down to its strategy to address queries from customers.

Google uses a number of computer algorithms to generate relevant answers for search queries of its users. Google has publicly explained many of its SEO factors. However, the exact and detailed internal structure of Google has not been made open-source.


Google makes use of automated tools known as crawlers or spiders. These spiders continuously collect data from across the web like meta-descriptions, tags, navigation, and content and process their findings to maintain a place on the search engines.

Google operates via storing an extremely huge list of keywords. Whenever a user types a query, Google does not look around for it in the web. Instead, it utilises its database, also called index. The index stores vast datasets of online information. The information discovered by spiders is maintained here.


One of the most famous Google algorithms is PageRank. PageRank sets a relevancy score for each webpage. Some of the factors computed by PageRank are the following.

  • The “hyperlinking” of multiple web-pages to a specific website.
  • The history of a web-page (i.e. how long has it been operating). The bigger the lifespan of a web-page, the better score it can achieve via PageRank.
  • The placement and frequency of keywords in a web-page.


Another of Google’s famous algorithm is the RankBrain. RankBrain was credited as the 3rd most important algorithm for processing search results. It is unique because it employs AI (Artificial Intelligence) and machine learning in its working. It incorporates several languages and converts them into mathematical components which are called vectors. When RankBrain is unable to decode a sentence, it mimics human behavior and tries to “guess” the actual meaning of a query by employing similar words or phrases.

What makes RankBrain different is that it does not work with a pre-determined approach like other Google algorithms. Instead, it updates itself with the passage of time and keeps learning with experience. To display its effectiveness, Google carried out an experiment where its engineers and RankBrain had to guess the real meaning of queries. When the results were announced, RankBrain won with an impressive 80% success rate in comparison to engineers’ 70%.

So How Do Images Work?

Based on the above, you might wonder how images are ranked in Google’s image search. Spiders are not effective as humans to visually discern images. Therefore, they depend on context, alternative text, and filenames of images for indexing. This is why it is a good SEO practice to label your images with meaningful and relevant names. Names like “IMG00042.png” are a lazy and inefficient practice because spiders have no idea about them.