Basics and Implications of Search and the Page Rank Algorithm

Part 1: Describe how Internet searches work. Considering Google, what parameters does it use in its pagerank algorithm?

According to Google (n.d.), this is how internet search works:

Organizes Information
Using web crawlers, Google visits web pages and page links, looking for new information. It then indexes the information found on the pages that can be searched using a series of algorithms. 

Apply Search Algorithms
There are key factors that help return relevant information:

Meaning of the query
Google tries to determine the intent behind the query based on such factors as spelling, synonyms, natural language, search category and timeliness.

Relevance of web pages
Algorithms search for relevant keywords on web pages that match the search terms.

Quality of the content
Google determines whether the source is reliable based on PageRank, whether other high quality sites link to the page.

Usability of web pages
Google determines the quality of the UI (user interface) and UX (user experience) of the web page. This includes, but isn’t limited to, if the site has a fast page load time, and can render correctly on different browsers and mobile devices.

Context and user settings
Based on a user’s search history, location and personal settings, Google attempts to provide results that reflect the specific context.

Provide useful information
Google provides different responses based on the query. Searching for and address, for example, will return a map of the location. These are the different kinds of search result types:

The Knowledge Graph
In 2012, Google launched the Knowledge Graph, a tool that provides information on people, places and things and how things are connected.

Directions and traffic
Instead of providing a link to a page, when a user searches for an address or location, they are provided an interactive map.

Direct results
In conjunction with businesses, Google provides direct results, such as movie times and local weather.

Featured snippets
Google provides quick answers right the search results page.

Rich lists
Sometimes a search query is about a list or group of related people, such as past U.S. Presidents or popular songs of 1987. 

Explore your interests with Discover
Based on your past search and interests, Google provides a Discover feed on it’s mobile devices.

How/where do web designers and developers implement these parameters?

During the website development process, web designers and developers implement these parameters to optimize their sites for search engines.

Part 2: Considering a business, what are the implications of search if it depends on current and future customers finding it’s website? 

Any business that has a website that depends on search for getting and retaining customers would need to make sure that their site is properly indexed to appear in relevant search queries. According to Etherington (2016), must users are accessing information via mobile internet. A business that has a site that isn’t mobile-friendly won’t be ranked as high as one that delivers a better user experience, even if the site has more relevant information.


What impact does it have on these businesses when Google changes it pagerank algorithm?
When Google changes its pagerank algorithm, it can drastically impact business websites. For example, according to Caramella (2018), when Google changed its algorithm to rank mobile friendly site higher, in response to the fact that more users were using mobile devices, those business that didn’t have a mobile friendly sites, even if their content was more relevant, was ranked lower than sites that delivered information better in a mobile environment. Sean Brady, president of Americas at Emarsys states:

“Google’s focus on mobile directly impacts brands’ omnichannel marketing strategies, especially as millennials on average use 4.5 devices when interacting with a brand, forcing developers to continue focusing on the mobile experience. In the competitive e-commerce industry, marketers must continue providing consistent and personalized content across channels and ensure their content on these channels are built to run as fast and efficiently as possible.”

What power does this provide Google over commerce via the Internet?

Google’s monopoly on how users search has a tremendous impact on businesses. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is an important consideration for any business who wants to be found on the internet. 

Sources

How Google Search works. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.google.com/search/howsearchworks/
Caramela, S. (2018, March 5). Google's Change Will Rank Mobile-Friendly Sites Higher. Retrieved from https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/7808-google-search-ranking-mobile.html
Etherington, D. (2016, November 1). Mobile internet use passes desktop for the first time, study finds. Retrieved from https://techcrunch.com/2016/11/01/mobile-internet-use-passes-desktop-for-the-first-time-study-finds/
Nordqvist, C. (2019, June 6). How Google Dominated the Internet. Retrieved from https://marketbusinessnews.com/how-google-dominated-internet/204414/