The second step is to look into their index and decide which pages can provide the best answer for a given query.

This is a very important stage in the whole process for both search engines and web owners.

Search engines need to return the best possible results in the fastest possible way so that they keep their users happy and web owners want their websites to be picked up so that they get traffic and visits.

This is also the stage where good SEO techniques can influence the decision made by the algorithms.

To give you an idea of how matching works, these are the most important factors:

Title and content relevancy – how relevant are the title and content of the page to the user query?

Type of content – if the user is asking for images, the returned results will contain images and not text.

Quality of the content – content needs to be thorough, useful and informative, unbiased, and cover both sites of a story.

Quality of the website – The overall quality of a website matters. Google will not show pages from websites that don’t meet their quality standards.

Date of publication – For news-related queries, Google wants to show the latest results so the date of publication is also taken into account.

The popularity of a page – This doesn’t have to do with how much traffic a website has but how other websites perceive the particular page. A page that has a lot of references (backlinks), from other websites is considered to be more popular than other pages with no links and thus has more chances of getting picked up by the algorithms. This process is also known as Off-Page SEO.

Language of the page – Users are served pages in their language and it’s not always English.

Webpage Speed – Websites that load fast (think 2-3 seconds) have a small advantage compared to websites that are slow to load.

Device Type – Users searching on mobile are served mobile-friendly pages.

Location – Users searching for results in their area i.e. “Italian restaurants in Ohio” will be shown results related to their location.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. As mentioned before, Google uses more than 255 factors in its algorithms to ensure that its users are happy with the results they get.