How Do Search Algorithms Work

With hundreds of billions of information already available across the net- how does a search engine’s quick crawl determine your search query?

In the early years, search engines took search queries literally, a mere mention of the word on a webpage, and it was more than likely to show up in the searches. But that’s no longer enough these days, the mad scramble to rank to Page 1 and indeed 1st on Page 1 on Google, means mentioning a keyword on your page, isn’t enough.

That’s where algorithms come into the picture. Google’s ranking systems are specially designed to look through the billions of web pages from their search index to provide you with the best and the most useful results in just a minute fraction of a second.

To make these ranking systems work, they are powered by a set of algorithms. These algorithms are able to look at many key factors. 

will contribute to the overall quality of every search that the users do:

Understanding query intent

Page usability

Keyword relevance

Authorial voice and expertise of sources


Quality of technical SEO and page settings

To make search even more reliable, Google also has thousands of specially trained search quality raters from all over the world. 

Google’s search quality raters are there to enhance our overall search experience. They spend their time evaluating websites whether the purpose of the page is clear and not meant to deceive. Whether a website’s independent reputation aligns with its internal and external sources, and whether it qualifies as an authority site under its applied category. 

Here are some key factors that affect the search results you receive with your search query:

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What your query means

For search engines to know what you are really looking for, it has to understand what your query is. That alone involves a lot of complicated maths, and algorithm after algorithm, Google has improved on understanding what our search query means. Understanding your search intention is basically trying to understand the nuances of natural human language and it is known to be the most important aspect of searching. With that, Google has built several language models for it to try interpreting what they should look for in their search index. The latest algorithm for interpreting natural language is called the BERT.

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Web Page relevance

This is the first and often easiest way that Google’s algorithms will examine web pages and whether it really has the information that the user needs. If it contains the same words in your search query- it could be an exact match or density of keyword mentions in a page. It uses a mix of simple keyword matching and aggregated and interaction data to assess query relevance.

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Content quality

Aside from matching the words in your query with the relevant information on the web, search algorithms will put importance to sources that are deemed the most reliable. To make this possible, these algorithms are specially designed to know whether these pages exhibit professionalism, authority, and trustworthiness on a specific topic.

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User-friendliness of webpages

Search engines also determine whether a certain webpage can be easily used by users. These algorithms are specially made to prioritise more user-friendly pages than less usable ones. The algorithms test whether a particular site works across different browsers, different device types and sizes like desktop, Macs, tablets, and smart phones and if the web page works even for users with a slow Internet connections.

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Context and settings

Search engines also use your location, your past searching history and search results to provide you with a more personalised results according to what is the most useful and relevant to you. This is especially important for queries such as weather, sport or movie times.

Searching the internet for information is a significant part of everyone’s lives.

We now heavily depend on searching the internet for every little question we have. Google is constantly improving its algorithms to provide the best search results possible

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