Things You Didn’t Know about Google Search

Published by Rohitha Perera on

Understanding Google

In the beginning, Google made plans to become the Search Engine God of our time. There are a few things you didn’t know about Google Search, and you’ll realize that Google Search is a mystery to some; it is something that all content marketers and businesses are trying to understand. Not many forecasted the many updates that Google would introduce to become what it is today. The exact number of websites keeps changing every second, and there are well over 1 billion sites on the world wide web today. While there are so many articles detailing how Google works, in this article we try and simplify the process so that you understand what exactly is going on behind-the-scenes in layman’s terms.

How does Google Search Work?

Google has been mapping the web with its billions of pages in order to create an index. An analogy would be a vast library where you search to find your favorite book. When you key in a search term like ‘commenting platform‘, Google will try and understand what you are looking for. It is at this point, Google will come up with the most relevant search results and offer it to you page by page. Hyvor Talk comes in at number 5 on the first page for the search term, ‘commenting platform‘. The question is how does the algorithm decide what makes it on the first page?

Caption: Hyvor Talk ranks number 5 for the term ‘commenting platform’.

The answer is: There are hundreds of factors. The obvious one would be the term you used while the captions and titles matter as well. There’s more to ranking than just words. There is also the factor of how pages link to each other and how authoritative and trustworthy the site is. Linking is important and so is location. Also how fresh the page is i.e. how new it is. There are so many scammy sites present online. Millions more are cropping up almost daily, and Google tries its best to stay ahead of these scammers. Let’s look at another search topic; in this case, ‘easy installation commenting platform‘. Hyvor Talk appears at number 1 on the first page.

Caption: Hyvor Talk ranks number 1 for the term ‘easy installation commenting platform’.

The process of how Google Search works has 5 simple steps as shown below. The Google search process is refined all the time. You are assured with the best search results for the terms that you key in.

Caption: 5 step process of how Google Search works.

A Brief History

Since 1998, Google has been making information very easy to access. The web is changing and so too is the way Google indexes data to ensure you have the best experience. There are so many searches taking place daily. The best part is that there are so many searches being done that have NEVER been done before!

Caption: A History of Search.

There are thousands of updates being done on Google Search just to make sure it is being extremely helpful to the end user. This is done through search quality raters who adhere to Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines. However, this does not affect directly how search results are compiled on Google.

4 Things To Do to Rank on Google

There are 4 main aspects that you need to look into to be ranked well on Google. Boost your SEO rankings by helping users find what they are looking for with ease. This is where user experience comes in. You can achieve this by ensuring that your website has good architecture and navigation. The more attractive a site is to your users – the more attractive it is to search engines. It is important to improve the logic of your site architecture. The navigation and structure should make it easy for visitors to access the information they came to your site for.

1. Quality Content

Caption: Create great content like this!

Top 12 Disqus Alternatives in 2020 is one of the best blog posts that we have done. The content you create in 2020 must first and foremost fulfill the user’s requirements. There should be genuine queries inspired by the content that you create. The content you write should be reliable, detailed and well-researched. High quality content is a must, and a few of the things that you should look into are: long-form articles that are in-depth, search intent, keyword research, and rich results.

2. Page Optimization

Caption: Optimize your title tags and meta descriptions. The screenshot shows the Yoast plugin in action.

Title tags are displayed on search engine results pages as the headline that is clickable. As you would suspect, these are factors that are integral when it comes to things like social SEO, sharing, and usability. Your title tag is important to SEO; the reason for this is because it will determine your display title in search engines. Search engines show the meta description in search results when the searched for phrase is within the description. Therefore, it should match the content and include the main keyword.

3. Secure Website

Caption: A simple step that you can take to improve your SEO rankings is by switching from HTTP to HTTPS.

Authentication, Encryption, and Data Integrity are three aspects that are covered when you go HTTPS. Security is a huge issue in 2020, and Google has stated in a straightforward manner that the security of sites is a ranking signal in the search algorithm. Think about it, with all the scam alerts and spammy sites present today, if you get an alert from Google that your page is not secure chances are that visitors to your site would have second thoughts.

4. User Experience and Site Structure

Caption: Hyvor Talk has a very simple site structure that is logical and easy-to-use.

To improve site architecture, it’s important that the hierarchy of your site is logical. The navigation and structure should make it easy for visitors to access the information they are looking for. Information should be readily available and the design of the website itself should be simple. Complex structures and ambiguous signposting can put visitors off and cause them to click off your page.

Usage Statistics for Google Search

Google’s dominance goes a long way; it is not only a search engine, but it also has Gmail, YouTube, Google Playstore and Google Maps etc. While inching towards US$ 1 trillion in terms of market cap, Google employs over 100,000 individuals today. There are over 2 trillion Google searches every year and it should be said that Google owns more that 90% of the worldwide search market.

Caption: Some Google statistics.

We’ve drawn up a simple infograph with some eye-catching usage stats. The idea of meeting consumers where they already are isn’t something that is new as such. Every single year, consumers are tapping the power of Google to look for solutions to their problems. Since visibility is certainly a metric per se, you have to let them know that you exist and that you have what they want.

Google’s Search Engine Competition

The question is does Google even have any competition? Google’s main goal was to create algorithms to sort through the mass of content on the web. Google’s page rank system made relevant information and sites easily available to internet users. The ease of use and access made Google the preferred search engine for most people. It isn’t wrong to say Google has cemented its place as the king of the search engine arena. There are, however, some major players in the search engine game.  Bing and Yahoo! come to mind.

Caption: Google Search Engine Market.

That said the truth here is that Google is leading the pack. The statistics are bound to change with the evolving ‘webscape’ every single year. Yahoo! was the first search engine that organized the index in a hierarchy. But it was Google that first used backlinks to rank a webpage. At this juncture it would be prudent to mention DuckDuckGo, which calls itself as the “anti-google” of search engines. This search engine describes itself as “the search engine that doesn’t track you”, and is something that even I personally use.

What Exactly are Google Trends?

Google Trends is an excellent tool to check the interest in a given keyword. What Google Trends does is show the relative popularity of a search query. It’s a tool that gives an excellent way to identify seasonal trends, then create and promote content at the right time.

Caption: Why was there a spike?

I’m a huge fan of Scuderia Ferrari and consider myself a part of the tifosi. That spike happened during the month of May when Sebastian Vettel ‘left’ Scuderia Ferrari; it was at this moment that there was a spike of interest since it was a shocking moment for all F1 fans. From a content perspective, this would have been an ideal moment for an F1 publication to take advantage of this breaking story to put their own spin on it.

The fact is that search volumes for some keywords are affected by seasonality. So if your business is seasonal (think Christmas), you can estimate its peaks and bottoms by analyzing the relevant search queries in Google Trends. Using Trending Searches, you can find search queries that have seen significant jumps in popularity over the past day in any given location. 

Google Search Console. What’s that?

Google Search Console (GSC) is a system that offers you tips, tricks, and a list of to-do’s for improving your site’s performance in the Google search engine. GSC offers an extensive list of tools and reports that can be utilized. The reports you require and how you would use GSC would depend on whether you are a small business owner, having multiple websites, and if you are an SEO professional. 

Caption: Google Search Console.

I wrote a long form article on this topic titled, A Comprehensive Guide to getting Started on Google Search Console (in 2020), which is rather extensive. We encourage you to read it.

What is Paid-Per-Click (PPC)?

You would agree that Google Ads is the most popular paid search platform used by search marketers, followed by Microsoft Advertising, which also serves a significant share of ads on Yahoo!. To put it simply, pay-per-click (PPC) is an advertising model that lets marketers place ads on an ad platform and pay the host of that platform every time their ad is clicked.

Caption: How PPC works.

The idea of a PPC ad is to lead the person viewing it to click through to the advertiser’s website or app, where that visitor can complete a valuable action, such as purchasing a product. Search engines are popular advertising platforms. They allow you to display ads that are relevant to what users are searching for. We’ve put up a great infograph that shows exactly how PPC works.

Searching by Images on Google

This is another excellent feature by Google where you can search for images just using a screenshot. It would be an ideal tool to check for any images that have been plagiarised or to verify locations etc.

Caption: A screenshot of the Villas Wadduwa in Sri Lanka.

The above image is a screenshot I took from a PDF document, and it was pasted on Google Image Search. The following results came up.

Caption: An image search led to these matching images on Google.

A review of The Villas Wadduwa was something I wrote for Esteem Magazine, and which was originally published on their website; this result came in at number three in the search results.

Is Google Search biased?

If you were to believe this article titled, Google Engineer Reveals Search Engine Bias, then it does seem as if Google does have a certain degree of bias. Google CEO Sundar Pichai had a 3.5-hour-long hearing before Congress in 2018, where many lawmakers questioned whether Google favors certain pages over others in its search results. 

Caption: Google CEO Sundar Pichai testifies during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, December 11, 2018.

Google’s algorithm is written by humans, and yet the fundamental reason for its partiality is its artificial intelligence-powered search result customization. It is largely due to this premise that search engines like DuckGuckGo have become popular. Then there is the central issue of Google’s filter bubble, which is the nefarious manipulation of your search results based on your personal data. The doubt that crosses your mind is whether you are being gaslighted online and if Google is changing your reality by showing you things that only you want to believe.

Final Thoughts

Knowing about Google Search and how it works along with these SEO pointers should help you on your way to creating a more optimized site. We know this is helpful and that SEO is a huge machine with a number of moving parts, which is why we touched on the subjects of GSC and PPC. So if you have more questions on SEO, then leave them in the comments below. Have you used SEO tips we didn’t mention? We’d love to hear them!

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