Search Engine Optimization is a technique used by search engines to rank websites in its results page. Here I will discuss on how search engines work and how does it rank websites. We know that search engines rank sites on SEO related factors but the question of “How” will be answered here.
The first thing that you need to know about search engines is that they do not use labor to index and rank web pages. Many people think that search engines employ large labor force only to rank web pages. Well, this is not the case when it comes to how search engines work.
The involved process in the working of search engines is entirely digital. Search Engines employ software based robots called as search engine spiders or crawlers. These are software programs that help search engines in listings. Search Engines send their respective spiders/crawlers to crawl over millions and millions of web pages. When a spider visits a web page, it reads it and then takes in information about that page. It then follows links to other pages that are linked on your site. This process is called as Web crawling. Search engines send their spiders regularly to find the changes made, if any.
All the information gathered by spiders is now stored in mammoth hard drives. Information regarding trillions and trillions of pages are stored in hard drives. Whenever a search query takes place, the respective result is then retrieved from these hard drives. The process of storing data is called as indexing. For the process of quick retrieval, search engines have installed data centers all across the world. These data centers contain extremely fast working machines with the help of which we can see the results within fraction of seconds of our inputted query.
Search engines have special softwares that go through millions of documents to provide relevant results. When a query is entered, search engines perform two functions – return relevant and applicable results for inputted query and the second is to rank those relevant results in order of their usefulness. The more useful, important and relevant results are ranked higher than their not so useful counterparts.
With new updated search engine algorithms, the factors of determining the “level of relevance” of a web page has increased. Many factors influence relevancy of a web page such as keywords, web architecture etc.
The more important is to measure the usefulness of a site/page. Major search engines interpret the usefulness of a page as its popularity – the more popular a web page is, the more valuable information it contains. This is called linking. If more and more pages link to your website/web page, your popularity increases. The degree of usefulness and relevance is determined by different search engine algorithms employed by respective search engines.
Almost all the search engines work as per the above mentioned process. But at different stages few of them may add or remove certain steps. Hence, different search results are found for the same search query in different search engines. So this was just a superficial description on how search engines works. The actual process of working of search engines comprises of various technical algorithms and equations.
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