How do Search Engines Work?
To understand how search engines work you must first understand the purpose of search engines. With over a trillion websites on the internet it can be tricky to find exactly what you are looking for. When you enter words into a search engine you are asking them a question:
What is the best website around to answer my question?
Search engines want to make sure that they show you the most relevant and best performing websites around so that you keep coming back to use their search service over and over again. Why? Simply because the more traffic they get through their search engine the more advertising revenue they receive from sponsored results or paid ads.
Here is a brief summary of the search process:
Each time you enter a word into Google, Yahoo or Bing, you are performing a Search and you have become a Searcher. Search engines like Google aim to provide searchers with the best websites that most cohesively relate to the words they entered (keywords.) In order to know which websites to show searchers Google and co keep a simple record of every page that they find on the internet. This list of internet pages is called the index.
Every time you enter a keyword into Google they reference their index and judge which the best site to show this searcher is. The best site in Google’s eyes will be shown at the top of the search results page (SERP) and is referred to as Rank 1. On page one of Google there are 9 results so those websites are ranked 1 through 9. If your website is ranked number 10 it will appear at the top of page two.
So, how does Google Judge your website? Well there are over 200 factors that Google reviews to see if your site is up the best of its kind. The boffins over in Silicon valley have very complex algorithms that continually look at how many people come talk about your website and how relevant your website is to searchers queries.
Great websites create and disseminate unique, fresh content that people want to view and share. One important factor in Google rankings is how recently your website was updated. Another is how fast your web server loads your website. Yet another is how many people like your Facebook page. So as you can see there are a wide range of factors to consider.
Perhaps the most important thing to remember about SEO is that what works today will not necessarily work tomorrow. Google and other engines are constantly updating their algorithms so you need a professional to keep your website up to date and highly ranked.