How Google Works – The Animated Infographic

by Sean Work

Last updated on July 24th, 2017

So how does Google work? Have you always wanted to know?

Well, you’re in luck, Google decided to disclose their “secret sauce” on April 1, 2002, by announcing “Pigeon Rank.”

pigeon rank

“PigeonRank’s success relies primarily on the superior trainability of the domestic pigeon (Columba livia) and its unique capacity to recognize objects regardless of spatial orientation. The common gray pigeon can easily distinguish among items displaying only the minutest differences, an ability that enables it to select relevant web sites from among thousands of similar pages.”

Sounds pretty unbelievable right?

That’s because it is. If you’ll notice the date mentioned above, this was a nerdy April Fools’ Day prank Google played on the public.

Google’s actual secret sauce is called PageRank. PageRank is the foundational algorithm that Google uses to figure out what webpages best fit the intention of your search query. The animated infographic below sheds some light on how the process actually works.


Now, even what’s described above has already changed somewhat. That’s because Google’s search algorithm is constantly evolving, thwarting people trying to abuse its search technology, while also improving the overall search experience for the rest of us. However, the general premise remains the same.

Thanks to Quicksprout for creating this amazing animated infographic!



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Sean Work

Between rocket science and space shuttle design at Boeing and NASA to building the Kissmetrics blog to 1 million monthly readers, I’ve also helped dozens of online businesses with PPC, SEO, and Conversion Rate Optimization. If you have any questions about generating success online, write me a question now at


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  1. elhaloui hicham says:
    January 18, 2017 at 3:25 pm

    i think your post is outdated the pagerank is dead

  2. Ravi Chahar says:
    January 8, 2017 at 10:57 am

    Hey Sean,

    People always wonder about Google’s working and the infographics is killing it. The concept of rabbits, spiders is amazing.

    It’s easy to grab. Google does the similar kind of thing. Though the concept of Google ranking is over but still, the algorithm works the same.

    Thanks to Neil’s team which has generated this animated infographics.


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