How does Google Search Work?

I often get asked the question “How do I get my website found in Google?” or statement like “My website doesn’t come up when I search for it?”.

Improving your website, so it gets found better in Google is known as Search Engine Optimisation. This topic runs deep and packing everything into one post would just be information overload, for me and you.  I cover the entire subject in our Search Engine Optimisation Online Course.

The intention of this article is to just focus on

“How Google Search Works”

I am a firm believer that sometimes it’s good to understand how something works, how it ticks, the nuts and bolts. That way, we can visualise the process it goes through to run, so we can then use it more effectively. The short video provided helps to describe how Google works and this is a good starting point for you to start.

To support the video, I’ve broken the knowledge down further for you.

Robots, crawlers, spiders or ‘bots’

  • Google has little “crawlers” that follow links on the Internet and ultimately land on your webpage.
  • They could almost be described as little “caterpillars”
  • The Caterpillars make their way out onto the Internet to “eat” webpages we’ll refer to these as “leaves”


  • Once they have finished eating the “leaves” they create a summary of each leaf (a webpage) this called an index.
  • They then take these indexes back to the Search Engine HQ and file it away
  • After indexing your website, Google can show your website in the search results.

The Algorithm

  • When someone then performs a searches in Search Engines the “algorithm” looks up all the Indexes has on file and displays the results.
  • Google’s algorithm decides which pages are shown in which order including advertisements and places.
  • How this algorithm works is a secret. Nobody knows exactly which factors decide the ordering of the search results.
  • Google change the factors that influence the algorithm very often.
  • Testing and experimenting give us a relatively good feel for the important factors and the changes in these factors.

Search Engine Results Page

  • The page that delivers the results Google is known as the “Search Engine Results Page”
  • Google’s results page shows 7 or 10 links to sites which fit the keyword search the best. We refer to these results as the organic search results.
  • Above organics links and down the side are paid links (Google Adwords / Sponsored links) The advertiser pays Google when someone click on their ad.
  • When a geographic term is used in the search, often Google Places (maps) are displayed as well
  • Room listings are now appearing in search results
  • Universal searches for videos, images, news also appear

Google Search Engine Results Page