How does a search engine work? The 10,000 foot view.

How does a search engine work?

Different search engines have their own proprietary code designed to search for relevant data and information specific to the search term or query. But generally the big 3 (Google, Bing, Yahoo), utilize the same basic principals for each Search Engine Optimization (SEO). They work using 3 techniques:  Web Crawling, Indexing and Searching.

  • Web Crawling: Each search engine has something called a “spider” that crawls on each and every website on the Internet. They go through every link in every site and fetch every document, image, page and post.
  • Indexing:  After they have retrieved all the crawled information, an algorithm (a procedure for solving a mathematical problem) analyzes it all  to index it (organized and categorize) or to create an index database based on the words contained in each document.
  • Searching: When a search query is typed in a search engine, a specific algorithm of that particular search engine goes through the indexed information and returns the most relevant, meaningful and similar search results to the search query.

So, when a user enters a search query, the search engines analyzes the index and provides a long list of similar web pages which “might” have the same search query or “might” be most relevant to the search query. What this means is that it is not just the terms you need to rank, it is the content. Relevant content.

What is a Keyword or Keyphrase?

These are the terms we put in the search box in the search engines. They can be anything from an individual word or a full sentence or equation. The more specific you are about the terms, the more similar and relevant the results.

Let’s say a user types in, “good quality electronic switches” or “quality electronic switches” or “best electronic switches manufacturer” or “electronic switches producer” or “best electronic switches brand”,etc.  All these search terms are known as keywords. “Electronic switch producer”, is one Keyword.

A keyword can be short tailed or long tailed. Short tailed keywords are one or two worded keywords. Whereas long tailed keywords may vary from 4-6 worded keywords.

Short tailed keywords are also called as generic keywords and most likely have a lot of competition on them. As such they don’t get ranked easily and even if they do, the quality of traffic you generate may not be what you want (ie not targeted). Think about it this way; If you are selling chocolate cakes, you would want to use “chocolate cakes”and not just “chocolate” or “cakes”. To be even more specific, lets say you only sell them in Dallas and do custom designs, then you would want to use “custom designed chocolate cakes in Dallas” and rank on those terms exactly.

The long tailed keywords have an optimum balance of competition and are specific to your business, thus they not only generate good quality traffic, they actually add value to the customer as well by making your services easier to find.

Keywords with geographical places attached to it, as mentioned above, are called Geoterms or Local Keywords. These tend to give very good results and traffic if and when targeted.

From a search perspective, keyword selection is one of the most important activities, because this determines how people will find you based on how well you know for what your customers search.

What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

As they say, “Rome was not built in a day”. Neither are brands. It takes months and years to build a brand. But once built, your name becomes your best source of income.

Google doesn’t put your website up in the 1st page until you are someone important or your content is read and found interesting by a large number of people. So how can you get to be important?  Google. and for that matter any other Search Engine, has a specific set of rules (sometimes referred to as  “Webmaster Guidelines”). Every website created has to follow these rules to even be considered for ranking at the top of search.

It’s not that easy to follow all the rules. For example, Google has almost 200 factors needing to be followed. So, we follow the most important rules and optimize your website to meet as many as possible. This can include the speed of your site, meta data, keyword usage, link building, mobile friendly/responsive setup and much much more. We, at MarketBurst, focus on those activities that help to popularize your website. In addition, we integrate social media, ratings and reviews/citations,  and content marketing techniques to create engaging content that will not only encourage users to click, but also to stay and learn. As such, when Google sees that your website complies with its rules. and your website is slowly becoming popular, that’s when Google thinks you must be important enough to rank.

This entire process of making your website in compliance to the Search Engines and making them important is to their users is called Search Engine Optimization or SEO.

It is a slow and natural process, just like growth (people and companies). Growth of anything takes its time and we cannot force it. Generally, it takes 3 to 6 months to get to the top page based on the competition in the market and several other factors.

What are the processes involved in SEO?

The SEO process is divided into 3 important steps:

a) Keyword Research: We find out the best search terms to bring the most value to your business. We try to avoid general terms and only go for terms that would bring good quality customers into your site…those who would make real purchases.

b) ON-page Optimization:  Earlier, I spoke about “Webmaster Guidelines”. In this process we make your site compliant to these guidelines so that your chances of making it to the top of the Search results increases. This is a one-time process but gets tweaked over time.

c) Off-page Link Building:  This is where we make you and your site popular. We build a name for your site by doing various promotional, content marketing, social media and link building activities. This is the most important part. This has to be carried out on a regular basis or you will drop off the page. Think of it this way…if you aren’t doing SEO, your customers are.

Want to learn more?

If you would like to learn more about our SEO techniques and how we might help you rank your site to attract more customers, contact us today. We’ll do a complimentary website analysis and even tell you what your competition is doing.

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