“How Search Works” Reveals Inner Workings of Google

The recent release of Google’s newest infographic has triggered endless speculation among the SEO community in the last couple weeks. Although much of the information is aimed towards SEO newbies, seasoned SEOs found that many elements of the infographic gave them greater insight into certain Google practices.How Google crawls the internet

Personally, I find the “How Search Works” page exciting because it’s a lot of fun. The information is concise and to the point, so you don’t have to wade through lots of technical details.  The three main categories that the page examines are:

  1. Crawling and Indexing
  2. Algorithms
  3. Fighting Spam

Entertaining elements include quirky illustrations, real life examples of pages that have been recently removed because of spam, and a ticker at the bottom that tells you how many Google searches have been performed since you loaded the page. In the 287 seconds it took me to read through the infographic, people made over 11 million searches.

Why It Matters To You

If you’re new to SEO, “How Search Works” is a great way to kick-start your understanding of the basics. But veteran SEOs, such as Danny Sullivan, are also buzzing about the new glimpse into Google’s inner workings. The charts featured in the infographic are especially useful for deepening your SEO skills.

3 charts are presented on the page that illustrate number of spam notifications sent through Webmaster Tools since 2010, the rate of reconsideration request received since 2006, and the amount of different types of spam removed by manual action. All three of these charts reveal growth, pointing to the fact that Google is becoming more and more effective at preventing spam. Anyone practicing black hat SEO had better watch out!

Preventing spam appears to be the most important item on Google’s agenda. Although this infographic is not going to tell you how to produce a website that will immediately succeed in the rankings, Danny Goodwin suggests that “How Search Works” is effective in demonstrating what you shouldn’t do.

One final noteworthy element of “How Search Works” is the presentation of the Google Quality Rater Guidelines. As Barry Schwartz points out, this document has been leaked before so it isn’t exactly new SEO information. The material covered in this document explains some of the basics that Google raters take into consideration before they rate the quality of a page. Having these guidelines gives SEOs a solid start towards avoiding Google penalties.

The Takeaway

“How Search Works” is a great way to make sure you really understand the basics of SEO, but it isn’t giving us a whole lot of new information. Essentially, Google is reminding us once again that they want to see fresh, relevant content. My advice? Develop a strong content strategy, create evergreen content, and make sure you utilize high quality content writing.

What did you learn from “How Search Works?”

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Sarah Beth

Sarah Beth Wiltse earned her BA in English at Boston University. Though she currently lives in Dallas, TX, she spent a year in Paris, France after college, cultivating her love of the French language and a passion for travelling. She has spent much of her life developing her skills in the arts, primarily as a ballerina, violinist, and pianist - and now, a writer! Follow her on Twitter!

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