How does Google sort its search results

How does a ranking come about?

In order to be able to display the recorded pages, the search engine has to put the results in an order. In addition to completeness and speed, this ranking is an important criterion for how useful a search engine is for the user. It is determined by a large number of factors, which are the trade secrets of the search engine operators. The essential factors for determining the ranking are divided into four areas in science:

Text-specific factors are used to determine which relevant words appear in the documents to be searched and therefore should be included in the search result list. Such a text-specific factor can be, for example, the weighting of word types; a word like “in” is less relevant than a specific word like “soccer world cup”.
Words that are in particularly significant places or are highlighted, such as in the heading or bold in the text, are also given higher weighting.

2. Existing links

The “importance” of a page based on the links from other pages is measured algorithmically, for example using the PageRank method (see info box).

Depending on the type of search query, it is important to display either particularly current documents or older documents that are accessed particularly frequently. Since documents that were posted on the Internet a long time ago tended to be linked more often than documents that were on the Internet for less, search engines now consider the topicality of documents as a balancing factor and incorporate them into the ranking.

Locality refers to the location and language of the user. For example, documents with the top-level domain .de and those in German are preferred if the user has selected the German language setting or has identified himself as being based in Germany using a German IP address on his computer.

Beyond these four areas, user behavior or the click frequency of users can play a role. If a search result is clicked on frequently, for example, this can be an indication for the search engine that the content of the page is relevant for many searchers. In a new search, the search result can be assigned a higher relevance, so that the search result may get a higher ranking. Search engine providers are constantly trying to improve the ranking in order to be able to show the user the most relevant results. The search engine Google, for example, made over 500 changes to its algorithm in 2011/2012. The algorithm was adjusted and improved on average almost twice a day.

The PageRank algorithm was developed by Larry Page (hence the name PageRank) and Sergey Brin, the two founders of Google. With this mathematical procedure (algorithm) documents are evaluated and weighted. It has a decisive influence on the order in which the search results are listed on Google.

The PageRank algorithm evaluates more than 200 parameters. One of the most important parameters is the linking; but instead of simply counting the number of links, the PageRank algorithm interprets the value of a link. Each page has a weight that is greater, the more pages (with the highest possible dead weight) link to this page. To determine the importance of a page, Google technology uses the collective intelligence of the Internet and evaluates what is important to all users. Google also analyzes the respective content of the pages. This not only takes into account the text on a page, but also factors such as fonts, subdivisions and the position of words.