Semalt Expert From Islamabad: What Is A Search Engine & How Does It Work?

Most people often wonder how search engines rank websites. So, what is a search engine and how does it work? Search engines are web sites on the internet that help users to find information stored on the internet.

At the most basic level, the word 'search engine' is used to describe crawler/spider-based search engines as well as directories powered by humans. Both types of search engines collect their listing in different ways, however, in this article, Sohail Sadiq, a top specialist from Semalt, focuses on Google's search engine.

Primarily, search engines have 3 things in common:

1. Their search on the internet is based on specific words that are determined as important

2. They store the index of these words and the sites where the words were found

3. They allow visitors or users to search for words or combination of words found in that index

During the crawling process, search engines employ automatic scripts known as spiders or crawlers that continuously browse the web. Crawlers are directed by a program that provides the URLs for the scripts to crawl.

After the crawling process, copies of the web pages found by the spiders are indexed. The website's indexing program record words from individual pages together with the URLs where the words were found in a table.

When a search engine return results in response to a query typed in by a user, it provides the most relevant results depending on the query made. Normally, results appear according to a set criteria which is determined by algorithms used to measure the relevance of the content against the words typed in by the user searching for specific information.

While the formulas used by search engines are closely guarded secrets, the number of time a specific word appears in content and its position in the website copy are usually the main factors that determine the relevance of the page to the particular word. Results that are deemed as highly relevant are listed at the top of the search engine results compared to less relevant results. Other factors that determine how search engine rank results include page titles, internal links to other pages, incoming links from other high authority sites and Meta tags.

Paid results versus organic results

Normally, search engine deliver results in two categories: paid results and organic results. Organic results occur due to the process outlined above. On the other hand, paid results involve a marketing technique in which webmasters pay search engines to enable their sites to show up in search results. Apart from making sure that websites are indexed, paid inclusion guarantee that crawlers visit their sites more often. Different search engines categorize paid results differently. While some display paid inclusions are advertisements, others show them as results alongside organic results.

What is search engine marketing?

Search engine marketing, commonly known as SEM refers to the process of making changes to a site in order to enhance its rankings in the result pages of directories and search engines. Most of the time, the word SEM is used to denote paid techniques aimed at enhancing a website's rankings. These include pay per click (PPC), pay per inclusion, banner ads and other marketing programs provided by search engines.

Search engine optimization

Search engine optimization, fondly known as SEO is the process of changing a website's structure and content to make it easier to appear on organic search engine results. These techniques include:

  • Changing Meta tags or titles
  • Optimizing URLs
  • Rewriting body copy
  • Getting rid of flash content or frames
  • Incorporating incoming links, internal links and exchanging links with authority sites
  • Incorporating a sitemap
  • Optimizing content using PDF files
  • Optimizing directory structure

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