How Search Engines Work

Information, e-commerce, advertising, and entertainment are all readily available on the internet. It’s true you search for them, but how exactly do you find them? This article explains how search engines work and how SEO can help your business.

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Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

As a digital marketer, knowing how to get your brand, website, or company found by searchers is a core skill, and understanding how SEO is evolving will keep you at the top of your game. 


Technical Optimization

Completing activities on your site that improve SEO but are not related to content. It often happens behind the scenes. 

On-Page Optimization

The process of ensuring the content on your site is relevant and provides a great user experience. Using a content management system, you can then target the right keywords within your content. Common examples of content management systems include WordPress, Wix, Drupal, Joomla, Magento, Shopify, and Expression Engine.

Off-Page Optimization

A process of improving your site’s search engine rankings outside your website. Link building is a crucial part of building a site’s reputation, which is largely driven by backlinks. However, while SEO changes frequently in small ways, its key principles do not. We can break SEO into three components:

What Happens While Searching?

Search engine algorithms are computer programs that look for clues to give the searcher the exact results they are looking for. Search engines rely on algorithms to find web pages and decide which ones to rank for any given keyword. There are three steps to how search engines work:

1. Crawling

This refers to a search engine’s ability to send out “crawlers” to discover new pages based on the website’s themes and topics. Also, check previously discovered pages to see if there have been any updates or changes made.


2. Indexing

When the crawlers have concluded their search, they will index a website based on its evaluation. Then registration will then store the website within its database, linking it to certain topics. A web page may not be indexed if:

  • Not mobile-friendly
  • Content is considered duplicate
  • Content is considered low value or spammy
  • Couldn’t be crawled
  • Page or domain lacked inbound links

3. Ranking

 For any given keyword, search engines sort or rank the results to give the searcher the most useful and relevant results they can find. There are more than 200 ranking signals that search engines use to sort and rank content, and they all fit under the three pillars of SEO: technical optimization, on-page optimization, and off-page optimization. Some examples of signals that search engines use to rank web pages are keyword presence in the title tag, the loading speed of the web page, and website reputation.