How do search engines work?

If you own a website or blog you should at least understand the basics of online marketing. SEO is simply how you make your blog or website discoverable by Google, Bing, and all the search engines. Below we outline how a search engine works.

Search engines are classified into 3 categories

Human powered directories

This works very similarly to the old yellow pages phone book. A search directory is an online categorised index of websites. These are human-focused as you submit your site to a directory and you have to wait till a human inspects and lists it.

Yahoo is an example of this. You submit your website and wait till they list it. It can take many weeks for a person to get round to looking at your site and giving it the go-ahead to go live on their directory.

It is important to note that search engine crawlers like Google will look through and use these directories.

Crawler based search engines

Google and all the main search engines work by sending out bots or spiders to crawl hundreds of billions of web pages. The search engine explores the web and indexes the pages and links it finds.

Crawlers have two parts

One, they scan the webpages, gather the data and follow the links within the website. They also revisit the website on a regular basis to see what changes you have made.

Two, now that the data has been gathered they will index your website and all its content. This will be updated regularly as new data is gathered from your website’s new content and updated information.

Hybrid search engines

Hybrid search engines use a combination of both directory results and crawler results. Sometimes you have a choice to search for something from the web or from the directory.

Finally …..

Display search results

A search result is simply the result of something that you searched for on the web. You will see all the page results listed and the order of these results displayed are the rankings.

Search engines use algorithms to decide and control the order of a web page and its rank. Different search engines use different algorithms, which is why you will often see different results and ranks for the same search topic across multiple search engines.

Algorithms are designed to order the pages by relevance and provide the most relevant pages on the first page of a search engine. From time to time these algorithms change, due to new software, ai advancements, and technical improvements.

A google search for ‘Coffee’ gives the display result below

The top three ranking factors that google use:

1. Content
2. Links
3. RankBrain (ai)

Whichever search engine you wish to have your business listed on, it is now imperative that you have good unique content and your website is SEO optimised.

We hope you enjoyed reading this article and we would be very appreciative if you would kindly share this amongst your friends and colleagues.

Our Search Engine optimisation services

Would you like to have your website rank higher across multiple search engines and attract more paying customers?

Often, it is cheaper and easier to rank for a certain part of your website or for a certain product and service.

We are here to help you and we offer one-time and on-going website marketing.

For more information, please visit our SEO marketing page.


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