How Google Search Works in 2016
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The below image has a somewhat small font size on it. You can see the full sized version by clicking here.
Many years ago we created an infographic about how search works, from the perspective of a content creator, starting with their content & following it through the indexing & ranking process.
As users have shifted to mobile devices, the limited screen size of the devices have pushed search engines to squeeze out & displace publishers with their own self-hosted information in an effort to offset the poor usability offered by tiny devices, while ensuring the search habit does not decline.
The philosophy of modern search has thus moved away from starting with information and connecting it to an audience, to starting with the user and customizing the result page to them.
"The biggest three challenges for us still will be mobile, mobile, mobile" - Google's Amit Singhal