How exactly does Google figure out the algorithms they use to rank websites in search results? Wouldn’t we love to know!
SEO is a crazy wild west and the search engines have the job of trying to deliver high quality search results that show users exactly what they are looking for. It’s a mind boggling task, and the process is kept a tightly sealed mystery so that us SEO professionals are kept guessing.
Or at least it WAS – until now! I have top secret insider information that you will find nowhere else about how Google develops the algorithms that crawl the internet, parse the data and rank content. I made a journey to Google HQ and was taken to the center of the brain. Allow me take you on that same journey so you can see for yourself how Google creates SEO standards for ranking websites.
Here we go…
You have been traveling for days by air, train and boat, blindfolded, and have finally arrived at Google headquarters. As they remove your blindfold you see that you are within a ultra-high security compound, surrounded by an empty desert stretching as far as you can see. You are taken to the building at the center of the compound, where guards with machine guns escort you wordlessly through ten biometric security systems. Once inside, they shove you into a chamber that sprays you with some sort of decontaminating chemical and wait while you put on a full body hazmat coverall and space helmet. They write your name on a “My Name Is” sticker and slap it on your chest. You ask them why you have to wear this crazy getup and one dead-eyed guard mumbles “Google can’t have you contaminating their SEO geniuses with your disgusting peasant germs now, can we. Let’s go.”
You are taken through a white-tiled room, to a shiny metal elevator. As the doors slide open and you venture inside, you notice the Google logo inlayed in the back wall with what looks like gold. There are cameras in every corner that follow your movements. The doors seal silently behind you and suddenly you are plummeting downward, dropping at top speed, miles beneath the surface of the earth.
When you reach the bottom after what seems like an eternity, the doors open and you cautiously exit, entering a long hallway. Along the hallway there is a series of doors. You see a small glass window high up on the first door. You slowly approach the door and get your first look inside.
Standing higher on your tiptoes to try and see better, your space helmet clunks into the glass. What you see is a surprise – you assumed, understandably, that Google’s innermost headquarters would be sort of futuristic – sleek and minimalist, like the buildings miles above you. Don’t worry, everybody thinks that, it’s natural! You’re now one of just a handful of people on earth who know the truth.
The vast room you see as you peer through the glass looks strikingly like the library at Hogwarts. Countless books line the walls from floor to ceiling, with tall rolling ladders arranged to access them. Long wooden tables are illuminated with candles in tall ornate holders, evenly spaced along the length of the tables from end to end. The surfaces of the tables are overflowing with stacks and stacks of papers and books.
As you look around you count exactly one hundred frizzle-haired geniuses milling around. (You can tell they are geniuses because they are all wearing thick glasses and have suede patches on the elbows of their tweed jackets.) The armed guard at your elbow speaks up.
“In case you were wondering, there are ten vaults like this,” he says, and you realize that ten rooms each packed with a hundred geniuses think-tanking Google’s SEO algorithms is sort of perfect, with a googol being 10100 and all.
Some of the geniuses are hunched over computers, examining their screens and pecking at the keyboards with their index fingers. Some are paging through ancient, dusty tomes, muttering to themselves. Several are furiously scribbling equations with squeaky chalk on blackboards, occasionally mumbling and scrubbing out big sections with their tweed sleeves before starting in again. Some are simply staring into space, thinking.
Suddenly, you are startled when one of the nerd-geniuses (this particular one is an elderly red haired woman with an English accent) leaps up, dings a bell on the table and announces loudly, “Eureka! I have done it! A new algorithm! A new, brilliant Google algorithm! This is the one, I tell you! The one!” She looks around the room expectedly, beaming.
All the other geniuses in the room start listlessly clapping, but you can see them rolling their eyes at each other behind the excited red-haired lady genius’s back. Each of them clearly thinks the algorithm they are working on is WAY better than hers. The excited genius scribbles on a scrap of paper, yanks the door open and pushes her way past you to hurry top speed down the hallway, waving the scrap of paper in the air wildly and shouting “Eureka! Eureka!” as she runs. You follow closely behind, passing door after door of more genius-filled vaults, your space helmet fogging slightly as you break into a sweat trying to keep up with the red-haired lady (you’re not accustomed to running in a hazmat suit).
The genius slides to a halt in front of a massive oak door at the end of the hallway and starts banging an iron door knocker that looks like Medusa. The echoes from the door knocker reverberate down the hallway. A voice from behind the door growls “You may enter!”
You can’t believe what you are about to see! This is it! The center of Google! The answer to the ultimate SEO mystery!
The genius takes a deep breath, shoves her thick glasses higher on her nose and enters the room. She approaches the desk with reverence. She bows and holds the scrap of paper in front of her, like an offering. “I have a new Google algorithm, sir!”
You look past her…
this is what you see:
And that, my friends, is how Google develops the algorithms that rank websites. Now you know!