Understanding Search Engines, Understanding SEO

If we should understand the process of search engine optimization, we should first get a grasp on search engines. This post is all about search engines and we will be dealing with the following aspects:

What Are Search Engines?

Web search engines, more popularly known as search engines, are tools that help web surfers to search information on the World Wide Web.  When you type a key word in the keyword box, search engines presents a list of results which include web pages, images and other types of files and information. The most popular search engine is Google, the name of which is even used as a synonym for search engine. Bing and Yahoo are the other two top rated search engines.

How Do Search Engines Work?

Search engines perform two jobs for a web surfer:

  • They interpret the importance of a webpage
  • They answer the query submitted in the keyword box by listing out results

We generally think that when we enter a query into a search engine, it searches the entire Web and find pages that match the query. This is a popular misconception. In theory it is correct, but in practice search engines work differently. Every search engine has created its own copy of the web and when we enter a query, it is this copy that the search engine searches. This copy is called index and this process is known as web indexing.

That means, if your webpage should be identified by a search engine, it should be indexed by the search engine in the first place.

What Is Crawling?

The process in which search engines browse the World Wide Web in a methodical and automated manner is known as crawling. It is also called spidering. Search engines employ crawling to provide relevant and important data to the web surfer.

Web is a vast space and as a result search engines cover only a fraction of the available web space. Studies show that search engines index only 40-70 percentage of the data available on web. It means this:

  • If your website or page should appear in the listings of a search engine, it should be crawled by a search engine
  • And if a search engine should crawl your web page, it should contain information that has both relevance and importance

Search Engine Optimization comes to your rescue at this point.

How Does SEO Help Search Engines To Identify And List Your Website?

As we have already seen when we enter a query, a search engine does two things

  1. Firstly, it returns the results that are relevant to the query
  2. Secondly, it ranks the search results in order usefulness

Search Engine Optimization helps you in both these stages that determine the importance of your website or webpage.

The relevance of your webpage is closely related to the popularity of the same. The more popular your page is, the higher the visibility you enjoy. The popularity is something that you can develop though carefully executed search engine optimization methods.

The fact that your website has the right words does not mean that your website has got relevance. There are a number of things that influence the relevance of your webpage. We will be dealing with those factors, which are known as ‘ranking factors’, in the posts to come.


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