A Simple Breakdown of Google’s Algorithms

Sep 11, 2017 | Blog, Web Services

Ever wonder how Google knows what you’re looking for long before you even finish typing your query into the search bar? Well here’s a quick breakdown of what happens behind the scenes every time you Google something.

google searchingThe internet is overflowing with information, but many times you don’t even have to type in your full search, Google somehow already know what you’re looking for and typically delivers relevant content right on the first page. How is Google able to do this? Well here is a peek behind the curtain of algorithms that make it possible.

Rank Brain

Rank Brain is the artificial intelligence program that Google uses to process search queries and is currently responsible for 15% of all online searches. Rank Brain can learn and recognize new patterns and can filter results based on words or phrases that have similar meanings if an unfamiliar word or phrase is submitted.


This 2011 update is meant to lower the rank of websites known as “content farms.” These types of sites typically have very little relevant content associated with a user’s search.


Pigeon refers to Google’s local search algorithm update released in 2014 aimed to increase the ranking of local listings in a search with location and distance as key parts of the update.


Hummingbird is an algorithm that looks closely at each word users type into a query to ensure the entire sentence or meaning is taken into account, thereby judging the intent of the user’s search.


A 2012 update utilized to catch websites that are spamming its search results typically by purchasing links or gaining them through link networks to boost their rankings. Google has created a disavow link tool to help remove links that are deemed spam to help sites recover their ranking.

Project Owl

The latest bird named search project Google introduced May of 2017 in an effort to address the growing concern behind websites that produce fake news with feedback forms for search suggestions and the answer box. Since this is a new venture with dozens of inevitably needed tweaks along the way, there is no way to fully measure the impact it will have on users if Google ever decides to move forward with the project at all.


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