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Old 15th May 2005, 11:02 PM   #1

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Default So how does google exactly work?

I know this must be one of those "here we go again" questions, but here goes anyways.

How exactly does google find you its websites? Does it have a list of websites that it has collected into a huge directory, or when you search is it actually somehow reaching out to other servers to find your site?

Is google a huge database of sites or a really complicated interent software application?

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Old 16th May 2005, 11:10 AM   #2
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That is the $64 Million dollar question!

I wish I knew but we have some SEO experts on the forum who will be able to assist you. I'm certain they will post soon.

In my twisted mind, Google has a complicated algoritum which is known by only one guy on meth in the basement at Google. That algoritum, I am told, looks at page content, incoming links, page title , and key wiords (though less and less) for relevance regarding the words or phrases used by the searcher. Let's see what the experts will tell us....I need to know!


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Old 16th May 2005, 11:38 AM   #3
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And it probably looks at a couple thousand other variables, all of which are inter-dependent. Quality content for your visitors is what google is looking for in the long run.

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Old 16th May 2005, 07:29 PM   #4
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Any search engine is simply a large database of information. When you conduct a search, the engine quires its database. It doesn't go out seeking information on the Internet as a whole as that would take a long time. Rather a search engine constantly crawls the web to find new sites as well as visit existing sites in its index and then when a search is conducted, an algorithm is applied and information is presented from its index or database.

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Old 16th May 2005, 08:31 PM   #5
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Googles says they locate sites naturally by following links pointing to your pages.

They do have a manual submission form located here.

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Old 21st May 2005, 12:02 AM   #6

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Here's how it works

Happy reading...

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Old 21st May 2005, 12:27 AM   #7

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oh god... find me the Coles notes edition and then we'll talk

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Old 21st May 2005, 07:02 AM   #8

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That was a bit of a dirty trick jlknauff as many suppose that particular patent may be more wishful thinking and maybe even disinformation than any hard information on how Google ranks pages.

Asking how Google works is a bit like asking how far is up, but let me make some assumptions:

You really don't want to know all the nitty gritty you just want good rankings

You are not going to do anything that will jeapordize your site no matter how good the rankings that result.

If thats the case then lets say that first of all Google does not use PageRank as an important part of its ranking algo, it does place a certain emphasis on the words in the page title and anchor text pointing to the site, and it really likes to find 2-500 words of good well written content on your page with keywords sprinkled in here and there, and included in H tags, alt tags on your graphics and a few keywords in bold italic and lists just to sweeten the stew.

To get good rankings in Google:
1. Put your most important keywords in your page title, don't use your site name in your page title unless there is a compelling reason, and keep your page title less than 64 characters.
2. Put your keywords in an H tag at the top of the page and if its a long page put an couple of more in further down.
3. Write a page that talks about your keyword and if in doubt get advice from a good copywriter.
4. Most important of all get plenty of good anchor text links pointing to every page on your site and use the same anchor text in those links as you used targeted on your page.

Naturally there is lots more to it than that but as a brief overview it might help.

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Old 21st May 2005, 08:36 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by beluga
How exactly does google find you its websites? Does it have a list of websites that it has collected into a huge directory, or when you search is it actually somehow reaching out to other servers to find your site?
Three steps: Google crawls, Google indexes, Google Serves (results).


Google has an indexing program they refer to as Googlebot. It follows links from one page to another, from one site to another, and collects information about the web. It basically recreates the web - though not an exact copy of what is actually out on the web. My link above is to the Google page on their crawler, and Google's pages are actually a good starting point to learning more about how Google works. If you want to get a basic understanding of what they find to be good practices, it's worth spending some time in their section on Google Information for Webmasters


There are a lot of articles, whitepapers, and patents that you could look through to try to find out more about how Google indexes pages. There's an introduction to the architecture of Google, and how it works in one of the first papers on the subject from Sergey Brin and Lawrence Page called The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine

A newer paper that describes the architecture of Google's indexing (and serving) system is at: Web Search for a Planet: The Google Cluster Architecture (pdf).

The patent application that jlknauff pointed to is one of many that the people of Google have filed that describes possible ways that Google may collect and index information about pages. It's not the only one. But, just because it's something that Google has released into the world doesn't mean that they are using it - though some parts may be in use. Keep in mind that those patents are written to protect Google's intellectual property, and not as guidelines to people on how the search engine works.

When Google collects information about sites during its crawl, and it indexes that information, it gathers a fair amount of data: what is presented on pages, how it is presented, how it may compare to information on other pages on the web, and on the connections - the links between pages.


When someone performs a query on Google, and is given a set of results, the results have to be served fairly quickly. The collection of information, and the organization of that information is mostly already done at that point. There's likely some sorting happening as a result of the indexing that has been done. Duplicated information and other information may be filtered out at this point, and different relevance rules may be applied to information in the index to serve what the people at Google hope are good responses to queries.

What do you need to know to make it more likely that your page will show up in rankings in Google?

Mel's brief overview is a good start. As I stated above, the webmaster guidelines from Google also are pages that you should read through carefully.

Make sure that your pages can be crawled by googlebot. It has some limitations, like potential problems with java script based links, flash, text as images, complex dynamic sites with multiple variables in URLs, and more.

Try to use semantically correct html, so that your page titles are unique to each page and actually describe the content of that page. Use heading tags (<h1>, <h2>, etc.) that work the way headings on a page should - as descriptions of the content that they are headlines for. Use alt text for images that truly is alternative text for those images.

Use words on your pages that your targeted audience or audiences will actually search for, and will expect to see on your pages.

My brief answer is a little more detailed than Mel's, but it's still pretty brief.

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Old 23rd May 2005, 03:00 PM   #10

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Wow! No one can really know how google works, other than Sergey Brin and Lawrence Page, and I bet they are surprised at what results Google comes up with sometimes

Topically relevant on-page factors are very important as is the relevancy & popularity of your incoming links. The topical relevancy of the anchor text used in the links pointing at your page/s is also extremely important.

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