Search Engines Have Only 2 Tasks
Search engines do 2 things, 1) crawl/index web pages and 2) list the results for searchers. The program called a search engine will list the results of a search in order of relevance to the searcher’s request for information.
Crawling and Indexing Websites
As a business owner, you don’t need to know the technical details of how search works. I know for me, learning the how programs are created and what language is used and why, is an interesting topic. Read more about it here: Computerhope.com
Understanding how search engines can get your product in front of more people is one of the goals of this article.
Crawling, also known as Web Crawlers and Spiders, are programs that ‘read’ a web page looking for links to other pages.
Once it has recorded all the links on the page, it moves on to each linked page and does the same.
Indexing refers to the programs ability to gather key information for use later. Things like the number of links on the page, the number of words, what words are displayed, and more.
The Search Engine Result Page
After indexing your web pages, your site is eligible to be shown during a search on a search engine like Google.com.
Here’s where the rubber meets the road. The task of the search engine is to list web pages which contain the search phrase or query enter into the search bar. But it’s not enough to simply list websites, they have to be ranked.
Why isn’t my site listed first?
Search engines use an algorithm to determine which sites are most relevant to the query or search being made from the search bar. These complex algorithms try to answer the question: What site is most relevant to the search query?
Here’s an related post from Moz about algorithm basics.
Here’s an example. Let’s say I teach how running shoes are made. I have a 1-page website and it’s all about running shoes. If you do a google search, you’ll get about 65,300,000 pages which contain the query, running shoes.
You’ll notice a lot of real estate is given to merchants selling running shoes. The algorithm answered the underlying question of relevance by assuming I want to purchase running shoes.
Your site page wasn’t deemed as relevant as your competitors
My site, in fact, isn’t relevant to people trying to buy running shoes and I will never do well with the keyword, running shoes.
However, if you search for ‘how running shoes are made’, my 1 page site becomes more relevant and may appear on the top spot.
How Do I Get On The First Page Of A Search Engine Result?
The Search Engine Optimization or SEO starts with understanding what a search engine is for and making sure your site is able to be listed by the search engine.
Your content needs to be relevant to what you have to offer. In addition, use the search query you want to rank high for within the text. In the case of my running shoes site, I want to rank high for ‘how running shoes are made’. I’ll use that keyword at least twice and once in a header and title. My images will use the keyword in the ALT tag.
Get to the point and stay there. Search engines gather information from your page to determine relevance. People read your content to get useful information. Let the search engine know your content is relevant to a certain query.
Remember, my 1 page website can’t be relevant to everything about running shoes. So, add pages to your site to target other queries you want to rank high on.
Know what you know
Search engines have 2 jobs:
- Crawl and Index websites plus
- List indexed websites.
Web crawler and spiders don’t read sites in the same way as humans. They gather information from your web page, store that information in an index and than use that information to order a list of web pages on request. That is how search engines work for your business.
Thank you for reading. Please feel free to leave your comments, both good or bad.