What happens when you “Just Google it”?

The following post is part 1 of 2 introducing the basics of how Google operates and understanding this is extremely important to knowing how and why Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is useful to businesses.

Google is everything and everywhere and is an indispensable part of the daily lives of billions of people around the world. And not too shockingly, most people have no idea exactly what happens when they type words in the search box and press enter.

Why is it important to know how Google works? Probably because we humans tend to be lazy and rely on others to do the work for us. If I want to know “Where is the best taco restaurant in Sacramento” all I have to do is type that exact phrase in Google and voila!

Screen Shot 2017-04-15 at 2.36.23 PM

After the paid advertisement, there’s a nice map and a list of tacos places in Sacramento. Now, if you owned a business selling tacos in Sacramento, wouldn’t you want to be on this list? That’s why knowing how Google works is so important for businesses.

How do we/you know they’re the best tho? Well, let’s pretend we’re looking for information to decide that. I assume that the “best places” are usually the most popular, the most talked about, the most shared and referenced. We might look for key words like “taco, best, Sacramento” and see how many of those words are grouped together. And in essence, that’s what Google does. Only the Google algorithm uses over 200 different criteria to decide what the answer to “Where is the best taco restaurant in Sacramento.”

Obviously, the process and algorithm Google uses to rank search results is complicated but I’ll try to simplify it to show the more important points. First, let’s do a little searching…on Google..for the answer to the question, “How does Google work”?

These are the rough steps google uses when analyzing a search query;

  1. Determine users needs such as location, country, and language
  2. Determine users intent and reason for the search including recent searches, past behaviour, popular search items,
  3. Rank search criteria such as the quantity, quality, reputation and relevancy
  4. Factor in penalties and filters such as online ads, untrustworthy sites, sites misusing or overusing keywords
  5. Display results 

There’s a great infographic on seobook that show’s a more in-depth breakdown of these steps.

Once you understand how Google works, it’s possible to optimize your website and increase your chances to be selected as the relevant answer to a search query. And by using simple search engine optimization (SEO) techniques and tips, I can help drive traffic to your website.

That’s the beauty of SEO.


Follow my blog for part 2 when I’ll discuss ways that can increase your chances to be found first in a Google search query.

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