Google is the most popular search interface on the planet, with a 65.2% share of the search engine market and over 3 billion searches each day. Understanding how Google works is essential to search engine optimization, the process of obtaining a high-ranking placement in search results to dramatically increase the number of visitors to your website for online brand visibility and sales  benefits. Which brings us to the important question : how does Google search work?

Web exploration

Google uses what it calls a ‘Googlebot’ to crawl the World Wide Web, following links from one web page to another. Starting from its first crawl status, Googlebot looks for new sites, changes to existing sites, and invalid links.

Data organization

After crawling the web, web crawlers report on the pages visited to update Google’s 95 petabyte index (1 petabyte = 1 000 000 000 000 000 bytes. Googlebot processes most types of content, except for some, like dynamic pages and rich media files.

Data presentation

Google then analyzes the content with certain factors in mind, to present the most relevant search results. These factors include :

  • Type of content (search term)
  • Quality of content
  • Freshness of content
  • Legitimacy of the site
  • User’s location
  • Website name and address
  • Links pointing to the page and the value of those links
  • Synonyms of the search words/terms
  • Social media promotions

Based on these factors, Google sets a score for webpages, which determine their PageRank. A higher PageRank ensures a higher position in Google search results.

Tips on getting more out of Google

Some search methods are more efficient than others. They bring up the relevant results you seek and cut down on the time to find the one or more websites containing the content you want. Here are some useful tips you can use for your daily Google searches:

Exact phrase match

Operators help you get specific results as opposed to generic ones. For example, say you have to prepare a consolidated report of articles on Greece’s debt situation appearing in leading financial website Bloomberg.com.

site:bloomberg.com ~ “Greece debt” will throw up all the articles on this topic on the website

site: bloomberg.com searches only the pages of this website

“Greece debt” searches for the exact phrase and not each word “Greece’ or “debt” separately

If you want an exact phrase match, just put it in quotes.

Title search

Use “intitle” to match only the text appearing in the specific title you want to search for.

site:amazon.com intitle:”the social network”

Excluding a specific word

Use the (-) operator to exclude a word. Google will find pages related to the topic that don’t mention that word/term.

site:amazon.com ~wealth management -investment

The above search query will bring up results on wealth management that don’t necessarily contain information on investment.

Calculation

Instead of opening a calculator app, you can type equations using simple operators such as +, -, / and * for basic functions.

(3500*12)/6+121-2

Unit conversion

Why open a unit conversion website and spend a few seconds figuring it out, when you can get the answer you need with a simple search query?

66 pounds in kilograms

1.71 m in feet

Definition

For a quick word definition, add ‘define:’ before the word you have in mind.

define:record date

Watch this space for more tips and tricks on using Google search like a pro!