You might be using a lot of search engines in your everyday life. Say, for example, you might be using Google, YouTube, Amazon, and a lot of different search engines in your life.
In this article, we'll talk about some of these search engines and specifically, we will be focusing on Google. We’ll discuss step by step how the Google search engine and its algorithm work.
Google Market Share
Google basically has the biggest share in the market. Almost 75% of all searches happen on Google.
It is followed by Bing which has almost 8% to 9% of searches. Baidu is basically the search engine that you find in China. It also has a significantly 7% to 8% share and you have yahoo which basically captures around 6% share in the global search market.
Why are search engines so important?
Search engines are extremely important because of one specific reason: you get hold of the customer right at the time that the customer is searching for a product or searching for a requirement, and that is why search engines are very critical in the digital marketing eco-space.
It is known that almost 60% of customers out there start their purchase process from a search engine.
Think about it. You wanted a new mobile phone. You might be going to google and try to search for mobile phones or specific product types or specific models of mobile phones or else you might be going to Amazon and searching for a mobile phone, for any product that you want.
If you're thinking about going to a tourist destination, if you're thinking about going on holiday with your family, you might be thinking about going to google and searching for things to do in such a location. You might be searching for hotels in such a location on a search engine.
So search engines become extremely important.
What about SERP?
When you are going to give a search term or a keyword, you basically are getting a result page which is generally known as search engine result page, SERP.
Now the SERP has basically different components for you. You might all be aware of these things. When you search for something, the first links that you get are paid advertisements. This is generally known as search engine marketing where advertisements are shown in the first couple of links.
Then you have a set of links which basically are not advertisements. These are generally known as organic links or organic links based on search engine optimization techniques that are out there and on the site you might find something that is a knowledge graph.
You might find something that is Google my business application. You might also have other applications like the map or other information, addresses to organizations, etc. all provided on the search page.
In some cases, you will also see that towards the bottom of the search result page, you'll also have some advertisements. So if we take the entire search result page or the entire output that a search engine provides to you, you will have organic search engines or organic SEO, which is the phrase used to describe processes to obtain a natural placement on the organic search engine result page.
So this is where you are naturally and organically trying to make sure that you are ranked highest on the search engine.
If probably you're not very high on the search results organically or automatically, you don't come out to be the best person out there, then you might be able to pay a certain amount of money to google and provide an advertisement there.
So that is where we call it to search engine marketing, which is the process of gaining traffic by purchasing ads on search engines. It is also many times called PPC or pay per click advertisement.
How Google search engine actually works?
It might be very difficult for you to understand. How does the search engine work? How does google know which pages to show to you?
There is a saying that google knows everything, but that is not always true. Google uses an algorithm, google uses a process by which it comes out with these search results and gives you the best websites that are out there.
The best way of understanding how google works or to use an analogy, it will be good if you think of going to a library.
What do you find in a library?
In the library, you'll see there are collections of books and books. There are books on a different number of subjects. There are a lot of books. Probably the number of books in a big library might overwhelm anybody.
So in many cases when you go to a library, you might go to the librarian and you might ask the librarian where to find books in the library.
Google does something very similar, not exactly like what the library does, but it's easy to understand from the context of a library.
Say, for example, you want to read something on physics. You might go to the librarian and ask the librarian to help you with books on physics. Now the input to the librarian's mind is this term that you have given the librarian, which is physics.
Now based on this term, the librarian will show you that the books are available on such and such shelf, or the librarian is now going to go to the shelf, pick up these books and bring these books to you and give it to you if you have a really nice library.
So, in many cases, he will just show you the shelf where it is kept.
How does the librarian know where the book is kept, in which shelf exactly?
This is because the librarian has created an index. There is a kind of sequencing of books in the library. The librarian knows which shelf has which kind of books. There are content markers. There are ways in which the librarian has organized the entire bookshelves.
So based on the input that you gave to the librarian, the librarian might go to shelf A, B, C, etc., pick up a set of books, bring it back and give it to you.
You had given the input which was only physics. Now think of the case where you went to the librarian and this time you asked him for astrophysics.
Now the librarian is not going to give you the same set of books that he gave you earlier.
He might give you a set of books which are a little bit more advanced, books which are very specific to astrophysics, books which are generally used by people who are interested in astrophysics.
How did the librarian make this change?
The librarian made the change because now you gave the librarian two words rather than just one word.
Earlier you gave the librarian only one word, which was physics. Now you have given the librarian two words, which are Astro plus physics or astrophysics.
Now, depending on the input that you're going to give to the librarian, he's going to give you the set of books based on the indexing that he has done.
Similarly, Google uses the keyword that you're going to provide. You go to google and talk about physics.
Google is going to go out there and look for the websites that match this keyword that you have provided and give you the best websites that are out there.
If you're going to go and talk about basic physics, it will give you another list.
If you're going to talk about astrophysics, it will talk about something else.
If you're going to talk about quantum physics it will talk about something else.
So how does google do all of these things?
Google goes in a sequential pattern. There are five things that Google does. It does web crawling, it does indexing, it does the processing, it calculates relevancy and it retrieves all the results.
So again, on my right, you'll see all of these different stages, web crawling, indexing, processing, calculating relevancy, and retrieving results.
Now, before I go into explaining what each of these means, we need to also understand what business Google is in.
Google or any other search engine is only going to be worthwhile, popular, and interesting to customers if the search results are going to be extremely relevant.
Think about the case where you went to google, you type for some information, it gave you information which was not necessarily relevant to what you're looking for.
Would you attach a lot of value to this website or this search engine? Most often, not. You might find that this website or the search engine doesn't give you the most interesting or most relevant results.
So to be the market leader in search engine businesses, every search engine has to now provide you results that are the most relevant to whatever you're searching for.
So how does the search engine identify which is the most relevant result?
This is where the search engine uses a lot of different techniques, a lot of different algorithms to identify which website is the best, which website should be ranked highest, which website should come in the second page, third page, etc. and something that needs to come in the 10th page.
So what the search engine does is, it has bots, robots which basically keep crawling through the websites, all websites that the search engine can access.
There are a lot of websites with which the search engine cannot access. There are a lot of websites which the manufacturer or the owner of the website doesn't want search engines to access.
But everything that the search engine can access, it will keep crawling through all of these things. It will keep indexing what content is there. It will keep looking for keywords. It will keep looking for the content that is available.
It will keep looking for all of these things and try to create an index.
Like the librarian’s index, Google will create an index and at times it will start processing this index to identify when you give a keyword, which is the website based on that indexing that it has done, is the most relevant and it will give you in order, in ranked order, the first most relevant website, the second relevant, third relevant, etc.
So, all of these things are done by the google algorithm.
It starts with web crawling where the crawler is going to, or the spider as they call it is going to keep looking into different websites, different parts of the website, different ways in which the content is provided and try to create an index of what is there in the website, what keywords are the best matching to each website.
It will process all of this information when you give a search term, it will calculate relevancy when you give the search term and it will retrieve the results and provide it to you.
So this is essentially how the search engine works.
There are different elements that are extremely important to these search engines. One of the important elements is the keywords that a person is providing and the keyword that you have used on your website.
The next one is the website structure and the sitemap that you provide. You would have seen sitemaps on many websites. Towards the bottom of the page, you'll see there's a small link called sitemap, you click on it, and you'll see a structure of how the web page is designed. So structure and site maps are essential.
There are different browsers out there. I'm talking about internet browsers. You have Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, and a lot of different browsers out there.
There are a lot of devices that customers use. Say, for example, the customer could be browsing from a desktop, the customer could be browsing from a mobile phone, the customer could be browsing from a tablet; the customer could be browsing from any of these devices.
There are different operating systems that the customer uses. Say, for example, the customer might be a Windows desktop user. The customer could also be an Apple desktop user. The customer could be browsing from an Android-based mobile phone. The customer could be browsing from an iPad as well.
So depending on the kind of browser, the kind of operating system, and the kind of device the customer uses, your website should be compatible with all of them.
So browser, device, and operating system compatibility is another key element of ensuring you have better search engine optimization.
You also need to understand that the website is nothing that stands alone.
The website is connected to a lot of other websites. A website might be connected to social media pages, a lot of blogs out there, etc.
So backlinks and forward links, different links that you see of websites connected to other websites, are also key elements as to how the search engine calculates relevance.
Speed of the website, a slow website is always going to be frustrating for the customer. You'll have seen many times, you click on one website link and it will keep rotating for many seconds. It will not give you the content immediately.
So the customer generally has a feeling of going back to the search result page or the customer has a feeling of closing this tab because he doesn't want to wait or she doesn't want to wait.
So, the speed of the website, relevance of the content that is there, and something that we call bounce rate is the few important elements.
What is the bounce rate of a website?
What happens if you go to a website from google and the website doesn't give you information about what you're looking for.
You either hit the back button or you hit the close button because you don't have anything on this website. You don't have any reason to be on this website, so that is generally called the bounce rate.
How many customers did come to my website and decided to quit the website or go back to the search page very soon?
So it is a factor of time because if the website has a lot of content, if a customer finds that content relevant, then the customer is going to spend time reading through the content.
If the customer doesn't find that content relevant, then the customer doesn't spend time on the website, immediately goes back.
Say, for example, you're talking about a website that has a lot of advertisements, a lot of popup advertisements. The customer comes through this website from the search page.
The customer sees that a lot of advertisements, you can't see any content or there is immediately a page that pops up and says that now you have to give me a lot of information like your mobile number, email address, and register on this page and only then will I give you content.
Most customers will go back to the search page hitting the back button or close this window altogether.
So when the customer starts doing this, google calculates the bounce rate and the bounce rate is also an important element of how the relevancy of the page is decided.
All of these aspects are covered in the SEO category of our websites. Please follow the link to read more about search engine optimization.