Do You Know How Search Engines Actually Work?

DSM Digital School of Marketing - search engines

Ultimately, search engines are answer machines. They exist to discover, understand as well as organise the internet’s content. This is so that they are able to offer the most relevant results to the questions which searchers are asking.

In order to display in search results, your content is required to first be visible to search engines. It’s questionably the most important piece of the SEO puzzle: If your website can’t be found, there’s no way you’ll ever show up in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Page).

The Search Engine Algorithm

In order to discover, categorise as well as rank the billions of websites that make up the Internet, search engines use sophisticated algorithms that make decisions regarding the quality and relevancy of any page. It’s a complicated process which involve significant amounts of data, all of which is required to be presented in a way which is hat’s easy for end users to digest.

Search engines parse all of this info by exploring numerous different ranking factors that are based on the user’s query.  This includes the following:

  • Relevancy to the question which a user typed in,
  • Quality of the content on the website,
  • Site speed, as well as
  • Metadata.

Each data point is combined in order to help search engines calculate the total quality of any page. The website is then ranked founded on their calculations and is then presented to the user.

Having an understanding the behind-the-scenes processes which take place for search engines in order to make these decisions not only assists you with gaining insight into why certain pieces of content rank well but also assists you to create new content with the potential to rank higher.

Although most search engines will offer tips on how to improve your page ranking, the precise algorithms used are well guarded and also change frequently in order to avoid misuse. However, by following search engine optimisation (SEO) best practice you are able to ensure that:

  • Search engines can crawl your website easily. You can also encourage them to crawl new content.
  • Your content is indexed for the correct keywords so it can appear for relevant searches.
  • Your content may rank highly on the SERP.

Different Types Of Search

Directory Search Engines

Some niche search engines function as directories for particular types of content. This means that they just show results for content which is manually added. They do not crawl the Internet. SEO tactics may still be used in order to rank highly for pertinent queries within these directory search engines.

Rich Media Search Results

Universal or ‘blended’ search is the way in which search engines introduce different content types in the search results to users. In addition to the traditional text page results, the SERPs will also display rich media content, such as images, videos, maps, articles as well as shopping pages.

Having a number of different types of content on your website may impact on your chances of showing on results pages and how highly you are ranked.

You can utilise ‘structured data’ on your website in order to help search engines understand and display particular types of content. This is a code which is added to the HTML markup. Utilising structured data means that information – such as review ratings, images, addresses and phone numbers – can appear on the search engine results page.

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