Google’s algorithms are a complex system used to retrieve data from its search index and instantly deliver the best possible results for a query. The search engine uses a combination of algorithms and numerous ranking signals to deliver webpages ranked by relevance on its search engine results pages (SERPs).

How Search algorithms work

With the amount of information available on the web, finding what you need would be nearly impossible without some help sorting through it. Google ranking systems are designed to do just that: sort through hundreds of billions of webpages in our Search index to find the most relevant, useful results in a fraction of a second, and present them in a way that helps you find what you’re looking for.

These ranking systems are made up of not one, but a whole series of algorithms. To give you the most useful information, Search algorithms look at many factors, including the words of your query, relevance and usability of pages, expertise of sources, and your location and settings. The weight applied to each factor varies depending on the nature of your query—for example, the freshness of the content plays a bigger role in answering queries about current news topics than it does about dictionary definitions.

To help ensure Search algorithms meet high standards of relevance and quality, we have a rigorous process that involves both live tests and thousands of trained external Search Quality Raters from around the world. These Quality Raters follow strict guidelines that define our goals for Search algorithms and are publicly available for anyone to see.


Google Fred was a series of mysterious Google Search updates that occurred in March 2017. The name was given to these updates jokingly by Gary Illyes, webmaster trends analyst at Google. Illyes wrote that from now on every Google Search update will be called Fred unless stated otherwise.

Google Fred had a big impact on the Google rankings of websites worldwide. Initially most SEO news websites reported that Google Fred looked at the quality of websites, however, Illyes subsequently stated that Google Fred was not just one update but several different updates.

Google constantly adjusts and updates its search algorithms throughout the year. Few updates, however, have the kind of immediate impact that Fred did. Now, almost six months after Fred rolled out, some sites are still struggling to regain the traffic they lost – some, but not all.

Justin Sauti