When it comes to search engine optimization, not are search engines are equal, which leads many beginner entrepreneurs to wonder how their website will gain relative importance among the largest search engines on the web. While Google undoubtedly has the largest market share, it remains essential to optimize on other search platforms like Bing and Yahoo if you’re hoping to capture your audience. That said, here’s a beginner’s guide to how search engines work and why you might need to up your SEO game.

How do search engines work?

Search engines crawl billions of pages on the web by following the links to a variety of websites and downloading their content. This process works through the use of three stages: 

  1. Crawling: The search engine scours the internet for content based on the user’s search terms. During this process, the code and content are being looked over for each URL found. 
  2. Indexing: The content found during the crawling process is then stored and organized for future use. This indexing stage allows results to be displayed after relevant search queries. 
  3. Ranking: Pieces of content are provided that best answer the searcher’s query. This means that websites and ads are ordered by most relevant to least relevant based on the search terms provided. 

What is search engine crawling?

Search engine crawling is a process in which search engines appoint robots (aka crawlers) to find new or updated content. While the type of content varies depending on the user’s search query—a webpage, image, video, PDF, etc.—it’s discovered through links.

Those wondering how search engines work likely think about the most popular search engine out, Google. Googlebots fetch web pages, follow the link it provides and hops on a path of links where the relevant content is now indexed to the search engine’s database. These links are later retrieved for the searcher who’s seeking information relating to that previously searched content. 

What is the search engine index?

The place where information is processed and stored is referred to as an index. This huge database holds the content deemed good enough to be found by the crawlers.

What is search engine ranking? 

When an internet user performs a search, their search engine responds to their inquiry by looking through their index for highly relevant content. It then orders that content to the frontlines of the search in the hopes that it will answer the searcher’s question or statement. The ordering of the displayed search results is then placed based on their relevance, which is known as ranking. In general, one can assume that the higher a website is ranked, the more relevant the search engine believes that link is to the search query. 

While it is possible to block search engine crawlers from a small portion or the entirety of your website, it would never be advisable to do so, as indexing ensures that your business page remains accessible to the crawlers alongside potential customers.

What did you find most interesting about our search engine guide? Drop a comment below if you have any further questions for our team. 

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