Search engines are complicated and use a varied list of critical operations that allow them to determine how information is found in their database. Let us try understanding how does a search engine work, so that is is easier to know how to ensure your website fits within those methods.

The most important thing to understand about SEO or Search Engine Optimization is how Search Engine work. Basis this, you will need to implement SEO rules on your website as well outside your website to get the desired results you are looking for. There are typically four functional areas of every search engine. 

In order to be of great value to the user, search engines need continuously find new or updated (modified pages on the web and add these pages to its search index database. This process is referred to as crawling.

The search engine database is like a huge list or directory that stores and maintains information regarding websites found by a search engine. The search engine utilizes numerous computers and servers (computers from where web pages are published on the Internet) from across the globe to gather information from billions of web pages available on the internet.

Who crawls the web: The search engine program that actually crawls through web pages is known as a “spider” or a “bot (short for robot)”, e.g. the “Googlebot“. A web bot or spider (crawler) follows or crawls every link displayed on the website, scans the site’s content and then saves this information to the search index database.

Each search engine follows its own calculation mechanism or algorithm to decide upon the number of sites or pages for crawling, how often the crawl takes place and how many pages to take from the site.

The crawling process: A list of URLs generated from earlier crawls and sitemap (listing of major links in a website) data submitted by webmasters to specific search engines, is required for a search engine’s crawl process to begin. When crawling starts, the crawler visits listed sites, detects links on the pages, changes status of new sites to existing ones, records dead links and updates all this data in the search index database

The indexing process: This component categorizes the data collected by the crawler and store in different databases. The indexer can reject the data based on certain factors. Indexing limitations – Search engines also have difficulty in indexing web pages having dynamic JavaScript and Flash-based content. Search engines can typically process text content easier. They have trouble dealing with content in Flash or rich media like audio and video.

Calculating Relevance & Ranking: Every search engine has to decide how relevant indexed web pages are to users and the manner these pages are presented in SERPs. Each search engine makes use of specific algorithms for defining the importance, relevance, and ranking of its indexed pages. The word “algorithm” refers to the logic-based, step-by-step procedure for solving a particular problem. PageRank (named after one of Google’s founder Larry Page) analyses the ranking of a web page by its links. e.g. every link that points to a page of your site increases your site’s ranking in SERPs.

Most of the Google Algorithms are patented. Few known algorithms are Pagerank, Spelling Check, Synonym Check, AutoComplete, Query Understanding, Safe Search, User Context, Malware Detection Algorithm.

PageRank is important then because it will determine if your site shows up first or last when a potential customer looks for your keywords. PageRank determines the order relevant pages are shown in. Default Page Rank for any page is 0.15. Toolbar Page Rank Range (0 – 10). Real Page Rank is calculated based on a number of pages in the index, which can be 0.15 to Trillions.

Google’s search process: A Google user submits a specific search query in the search engine. The search engine scans its search index database (searches all of the pages/URLs it has indexed) for relevant content. Google sorts the relevant pages/URLs based on PageRank scores. Google displays a results page, placing those pages/URLs with the most PageRank (assumed importance) first.

If you want to learn more about the Search Engines, kindly join our search engine optimization course. We will ensure you become a Specialist!

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