How does a search engine work?

Search engines store information about web pages which they then index and provide as results to search queries, ranked according to relevance. Search engines ‘crawl’ these pages using automated browsers often called ‘spiders’, looking for attributes that will help gauge how well it matches a search for particular words and phrases relating to that page.

The vast database built up by a search engine means that it is able to retrieve specific and varied information extremely quickly when given a search to run, with the aim of providing the most appropriate and closely matching result as possible. This result is shown in a list of links, known as a SERP (search engine result page). The higher a website appears on this list, the more likely it is to be visited by users. Companies implement search engine optimisation (SEO) to help their websites rank higher in result pages, by ensuring that their content and website meet the criteria search engines look for.

Each page is studied and analysed by spiders to determine how it should be indexed – looking at titles, headings, meta tags and content itself to extract keywords and phrases. When a user searches for one of these words or phrases, the search engine chooses the sites that best match the query, depending on relevancy, popularity and authority.

The way search engines decide on the most useful match varies widely between engines, according to the algorithms they employ, and understanding the complexity of these processes can be extremely difficult. Each search engine also sets their own procedure which must be adhered to when conducting an online marketing campaign, or you run the risk of being penalised by the search engine and waste all your hard work.

Algorithms are created to allow equal opportunity for each company to rank highly, which is why SEO is a great long-term alternative to paid search (PPC) where budgets can dictate success.

Understanding how search engines work, and the processes they use to rank websites is extremely complicated. Therefore we spend a lot of time researching and testing to gauge the effects of different techniques on a website’s ranking. We have vast experience in optimising for natural search and can help to ensure your website ranks well for its relevant keywords.


About Ikroh SEO tm

Ikroh has over 35 years of experience in the industry.

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