Search Engine Basics

Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Posted by Administrator @ 8:43 am

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) experts constantly refer to the importance of making sure your website is not only recognized by search engines but how critical it is to get a high ranking and maintain that position. The question that many people would like to ask is, “Which search engines are you talking about and how does it work”?

The first thing to understand is that a search engine is simply a tool that people use to find information on the internet. Most search engines are typically comprised of Spiders (or bots), Indexers, Database, Search Software and a Web Interface. We will go into further detail about each of these in an upcoming blog but for now, all we need to know is that just as a search engine is a tool for users, these are tools that search engines use to decide which websites will give us the information we are looking for.

So, how does a search engine come up with which websites we end up being directed to? The first task is that of the spider; it reads and documents all the information contained on the internet as well as all web pages. These spiders (or robots, crawlers and bots) are integral to how a search engine operates. Once the spider has documented all the information about a site it then determines how many other websites are linked both to and from that particular site. All this data is then extracted and processed by the indexer to be stored in a database. When a user types in a query, the search software then extracts documents that best fit with that query.

Search engines then use an algorithm (a mathematical formula) to analyze and score each web page to determine its relevance. There are several things that search engine algorithms look for such as Meta tags, alt tags and keywords; but the most important is content, and more specifically quality content. Not all search engines use the same criteria for scoring a website and some use specific pieces of information in more than one way. With so many variables and differences in search engine methods, it is clear to see that optimizing a website to make sure all these factors are conducive to as many search engines as possible, is a complex task.

There is no question that there are many search engines but some are geographic or industry specific and may not even be relevant to the product/service you are offering and would therefore have no impact on your business. The more you learn about websites, search engines, algorithms and how they impact the results of a Search Engine Optimization plan, the clearer it becomes that this is an area that is best left to the professionals. A properly optimized website can have a significant positive impact on a business’s bottom line and so you want to make sure it is done by experts that understand the intricacies of website optimization.

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