How do Search Engines Work?
As discussed in our previous blog SEO for Beginners blog, a good knowledge of the inner workings of search engines is vital for the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) of any website. Our Naples, FL SEO experts are here to explain all you need to know.
While not the only search engine available (and some figures regarding market share vary), it’s undeniable that Google is the biggest and most popular search engine out there. With an estimated market share just under 93% as of January 2023, it is well ahead of runner-up Bing’s 3% share of search traffic, so this guide will focus mainly on Google’s functions.
The process through which a search engine finds web pages is called crawling. This is an automated activity carried out by programs known as spiders, bots or crawlers, which scour the internet to discover new URLs. Pages can be discovered as the bot follows a hyperlink from another page, or by the submission of a sitemap (a list of pages that exist on a website) by the webmaster.
Each search engine has its own distinct algorithms which determine which sites to crawl and how often, as well as how many pages should be fetched from a website. It is possible to keep bots from crawling some pages, for example by disallowing crawling or having some pages inaccessible without a login.
Once a page has been crawled, the search engine will try to understand precisely what it is about; this is the indexing process. The search engine will analyze the page’s content – which will include text, images, video files and other attributes – and store the information in its database. This is where keywords, one of the most important parts of good SEO, come into play!
All pages found with similar content are clustered together, and the search engine will pick those which are most representative of the group; the others will be kept as alternate versions, which may be shown in searches depending on different factors.
The pages are further categorized depending on what language they are in, whether they are relevant to a particular geographic area, whether they are optimized for mobile use, and so on. This will help with the next, final stage…
Serving search results
Based on all information gathered during the indexing stage, the search engine will then answer any query entered by searching the index and serving the results that it believes are most relevant to that user’s query. The decision of what is most relevant to each user’s query depends on a variety of factors, including the user’s location and language; for example, the search for “woodwork shop” by someone located in Naples, Florida, will yield a different result from the same search by someone in Naples, Italy.
#SEO #SearchEngineOptimization #SearchEngines