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Sun. Mar 7th, 2021
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Google’s Gary Illyes exposes the search index utilizes a tiered system where the most popular material is indexed on quicker, more costly storage.

This subject is talked about in the most recent episode of Google’s Browse Off the Record podcast which handles language intricacies in search index choice.

In discussing how Google constructs its search index, Illyes states material is indexed on 3 kinds of storage:

  • RAM (Random Gain Access To Memory): Fastest and most costly
  • SSD (Strong State Drive): Extremely quick however expense expensive
  • HDD (Disk Drive): Slowest and least expensive

Google reserves the fastest storage for files that are most likely to be served in search results page on a regular basis.


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Illyes states:

” And after that, when we construct our index, and we utilize all those signals that we have. Let’s select one, state, page rank, then we attempt to approximate just how much we would serve those files that we indexed.

So will it resemble every second? Will we have a question that sets off those docs? Or will it be as soon as a week or will it be as soon as a year?

And based upon that, we may utilize various sort of storages to construct the index.”

Illyes goes on to offer examples of what would be saved on RAM, what would be saved on SSDs, and what would be saved on HDDs.

Material that’s accessed every second will wind up being saved on RAM or SSDs. This represents a percentage of Google’s whole index.


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The bulk of Google’s index is saved on hard disks since, in Illyes’ words, hard disks are low-cost, available, and simple to change.

” So for instance, for files that we understand that may be appeared every 2nd, for instance, they will wind up on something incredibly quick. And the incredibly quick would be the RAM. Like part of our serving index is on RAM.

Then we’ll have another tier, for instance, for strong state drives since they are quick and not as costly as RAM. However still not– the bulk of the index would not be on that.

The bulk of the index would be on something that’s low-cost, available, quickly exchangeable, and does not spend a lot. Which would be hard disks or floppies.”

Obviously Illyes is joking about floppies, that’s the kind of dry humor you receive from him on the podcast.

To my understanding this is the very first time Google has let the general public in on info about its search index storage tiers. It’s intriguing to understand the most searched-for material is saved on RAM and SSDs.

The expense of keeping even a portion of Google’s index on RAM and SSDs should be expensive. Though it’s most likely the expense of faster storage is validated by how essential the files inside are to individuals.

The need for the material should be so high that Google does not wish to run the risk of a hold-up in getting it out to searchers.


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As it associates with SEO there’s no chance to enhance for one kind of storage over the other. And there’s no chance to inform which of the storage tiers your website is indexed on.

My guess is an extremely little portion of websites are indexed on RAM or SSDs. Bringing it back to SEO, this is an advantage as it suggests most of websites are completing on an equal opportunity when it concerns index storage speed.

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