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How Search Works: Google Site Helps Webmasters Figure Things Out

Pat Marcello

Though it often seems that Google and SEOs are at odds, one thing nobody can fault Google for is giving us amazing free resources.  You’re thinking Drive, Analytics, Voice and other stuff you use for your business every day, right? Me, too.

But last month, Google’s Matt Cutts introduced us to Google’s Inside Search site How Search Works. It’s Google’s way of teaching us about advances they have made in crawling websites, how they deal with Web spam, what their removal policies are and more. It’s really quite entertaining as well as informative.


Google tells us there are 60 Trillion Web pages and that number is growing every day. So, just imagine. People who think they can put up a website and that people will come? They’re dreaming! It won’t happen unless they take time to consider SEO, content distribution, social media participation and all the things we’ve come to learn are important for a business’s brand to grow online. But we know that, right? You can be lost in a sea of mediocrity, unless you help your pages stand out. So…

What’s 60 trillion like?

Hmm. The national debt for the U. S. is only $17 trillion+, so we’re talking 3.5 times more than that! One trillion pennies would create a stack 273 feet by 273 feet by 273 feet, according to  So, 60 trillion would create a stack of pennies 3.1 miles by 3.1 miles by 3.1 miles.

Are you getting the picture? The Internet is GIGANTOR HUGE!

How big is the index?

Google spiders crawl the Web by going from link to link to link and so on, provided that the links are do follow. When spiders find a link with rel=”nofollow” supposedly, they stop. Whether nofollow links provide any benefit or not is a HUGE debate within the SEO community, but let’s just take this at face value. Google says webmasters decide whether or not they follow the links.

For every page a spider lands on, they evaluate the content and send their findings back to the algorithm to be sorted. Quality, freshness and authority all play a role in determining your rankings.

But wait…

Google’s index contains over 100 Million Gigabytes of information. That’s 95.3674 Petabytes to you, and according to an infographic, it has taken Google programs 1 million hours of computing to prepare it. That’s 41,666 days, or around 114 years. Wow. Just imagine if your brain could think that fast? Feeling overwhelmed about now? You should. I’m just trying to illustrate for you how difficult it can be to have your pages ranked if you’re not working at it.

What happens when someone enters a search term?

No matter what search term you enter into the blank at Google (or any other search engine for that matter), that query is then sent back to the algorithm, a program written by much smarter people than me. The algo takes into account what you mean: What was your intent? Are you looking for information, for a particular place like a restaurant or trying to find funny cat videos?

GoogleHSW2Sorting all of that out at such a high rate of speed must give the algorithm a headache. Well, it would if it had a head because one billion queries per day are sent to that program and 450 million of them are unique. That’s a LOT of computing. Now you know why Google has so many data centers.

Feeling spec-like yet?

The algorithm then decides what pages to show you, and the ranking factors are based on freshness, quality, site reputation and more. There are 200 different factors that apply when the algo is determining what you want to see. I think it does a pretty good job, overall. And that’s why Google is the Big Dog and that’s why people use it and that’s why we cater to Google. It really does hold most of the search power in existence today.

Google REALLY hates spam

One thing that Google tells us they fight 24/7 is Web spam, and Matt Cutts manages the Web spam team. Most of the time, the algorithm can ferret out spam and nuke it right off. No thinking needed. But other times, Google may take manual action. They have a contracted team of human evaluators who examine pages for certain signals that would mean a page is spam or, perhaps, they will see that it is really spam-free. That can and does happen.

Here are some of the things that will get your pages removed from the index:

  • A hacked site
  • Unnatural links to or from your site
  • Automatically generated content
  • Cloaking or sneaky redirects
  • Thin or just plain crappy content
  • Hidden text

There are other reasons, but those are the tried and true. As with a hacked site, this may not even be your fault. But if you’re doing any of those other BIG no-nos, be prepared to be kicked OUT of the index.

Trust me, you don’t want that. To get a page back in, you have to lay prostrate in front of your monitor and say at least 200 Hail Googles while beating yourself with a cat o’nine tails. Seriously. And if you were really a bad bean, that may not even work. I mean, you could forever be dead meat. Just buy a new domain and start over.


OK, it’s not really that bad, but that’s how search works. If you’re doing some stuff you shouldn’t be doing innocently, and you put in a reconsideration request, you might get your stuff re-indexed. It does happen. But who wants to make the Big Dog mad?


For more information on how Google works, I encourage you to check out this little site. It’s pretty interesting, and another of Google’s public services to teach us less than Einsteinian brains what we need to do to be good little doobies. If nothing else, the stats there will blow your mind.

Author bio:

Pat Marcello is the President and SEO Manager for, a full-service digital marketing company. Follow her on FacebookTwitter, or Google+ so you don’t miss a thing. Pat’s last article for SEMrush was “7 Popular SEO Myths Busted."

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Pat Marcello is President and SEO Manager at, a full-service digital marketing company that serves small- to medium-sized businesses. Follow her on FacebookTwitter or Google+. Pat’s last article for SEMrush was "Google's Fetch and Render: Why It's Important."
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very important and useful information that every SEO analyst should know, by using the tips from this amazing information we can optimize our content in a better way. Thanks for the useful information

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