Giving an exact number of the amount of data that are currently existing online is hard to know. Some people who do not have much to do during the day have counted that in 2020 were around 40 zettabytes of data, which are equivalent of 40 trillion of gigabytes.
How does Google know what exactly we are looking for in this ocean of data in less than a second?
The answer is through its ranking system and all the algorithms they are made up of.
Skipping all the technical and boring stuff, we can mainly identify 5 key factors that determine what and which results will be displayed:
- Meaning of the query
- Relevance of webpages
- Quality of content
- Usability of webpages
- Context and settings
Meaning of the query
The first step Google does is to understand our intent. Interpreting spelling mistakes, applying research on natural language understanding are just few of what Google takes in consideration. A brilliant example of the complexity of this first step is given by the Synonym system that helps Search to do its job by matching words with the same meaning. It took 5 years to develop it.
Relevance of webpages
The second step involves obviously the content of the webpages. As introduced in my previous post, the keywords contained in the webpage and the SEO play the main role. If the same keywords used in our query are found in the webpage, the information will be treated as relevant and pertinent by the algorithm.
Quality of content
After matching the keywords in our query with the one of the webpages, the algorithm analyse which pages are the most reliable. Signals taken in consideration are, but not only: expertise, authoritativeness, trustworthiness and other pages’ link to the page (PageRank).
Usability of Webpages
After ranking the quality, Google moves to analyse the usability of the pages. Responsive websites, appearance in different browsers, and loading time are few of the fields analysed.
Context and settings
Last factor is about information relevant for our query. Our location, search history and settings will help the algorithm to display what is more useful for us the moment we clicked on the search button.