Search engines are very important, SEO cannot exist without them. In this article, you will learn what a search engine is and how it works.
What Is a Search Engine?
A search engine is an online tool that helps people find information on the internet.
Examples Of Search Engines
- Dogpile and so on.
So when I talk about search engines in this article, I mostly mean Google. Other search engines work on similar principles, and as long as your website is optimized for Google, you should be in approximately the same positions as other search engines, if you submit your site there.
How Search Engines Work
The process of operation of search engines consists of the following main stages:
Crawling is simply a way search engines discover content on the web. They use bots (called crawlers or spiders) to click through all hyperlinks and discover new pages (as well as track updates to pages they’ve discovered previously).
After crawling the website, the information is indexed. Search engines try to analyze and understand pages, classify them, and save them in the index.
A search engine index is essentially a giant library of all crawled websites with the sole purpose of understanding them and making them available for use as search results. Indexing is the categorization of the crawled contents in a site. That is when a search engine discovers (crawl), it tries to understand the content and then organize (index) them.
If you want to know if your page has been crawled and indexed, you can simply go to the Google Search Console and use the URL verification tool but first, you must submit your site to GSC. When you use Google URL Verification Tool, you’ll see the date when the page was last crawled, as well as warnings about any potential crawling and indexing issues that Google might have on your page.
3. Ranking (selection of results)
Ranking is the final result as soon as a web user submits a search query. The search engine digs into the index and shows the best result by using its algorithm.
In the following paragraphs, we’ll take a closer look at Google’s search algorithm.
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Google’s search algorithm is used as a general term to refer to all the individual algorithms, machine learning systems, and technologies that Google uses to rank websites.
To achieve the best results, they take into account various factors, namely:
- Query value: the search engine needs to understand exactly what the user is looking for.
- Page relevance: the page must match the search query.
- Content quality: The search engine tries to select the best results in terms of content quality.
- Usability of pages: Pages must also be usable (in terms of accessibility, readability, security, etc.)
- Context and settings: last but not least, the user’s location, settings, and search history are taken into account.
As with any other complex system, Google’s algorithm needs to be updated and adjusted regularly. In addition to minor algorithm updates that occur daily, Google usually releases a couple of major algorithm updates a year.
They are officially announced by Google and it usually causes a lot of uproars in the SEO community.
Types of Google Algorithm
- Core Updates and Mobile-Friendly Update
Search Quality Evaluators
In addition to algorithms, Google also uses the human factor. There are thousands of external Google employees called search quality evaluators, who follow strict rules (available to the public), evaluate actual search results, and evaluate the quality of ranked pages.
A typical example of pages that are subject to such rigorous evaluation is the so-called YMYL (Your Money, Your Life) pages — pages dedicated to important topics that can affect someone’s happiness, health, safety, or financial well-being. Quality evaluators do not directly affect the rating, but their data is used to improve search algorithms.
Of course, search engines keep the exact calculations of their algorithms secret. However, many ranking factors are well known. Ranking factors are a highly discussed topic in the SEO world.
Many of them have been officially confirmed by Google, but many remain in the realm of speculation and theories. From a practical point of view, it is important to focus on factors that have a proven impact, but at the same time try to maintain a “good rating” in all areas.
Cyrus Sheppard of Zyppy has compiled a good list of Google success factors (those associated with higher rankings). Here are the 10 most important ones::
10 SEO Ranking Factors
- Targeted Content: You need to identify what people are looking for and create quality content that meets their needs.
- A crawlable website is a no-brainer, If you want to increase your ranking, your site should be easily found by search engines.
- Quality and number of links: The more quality pages that link to your site, the more authority you have in the eyes of Google or Yandex.
- Intent-driven content– SEO is not just about what words you use, but also the type of content and its completeness. Make your visitor happy, and Google will make you happy.
- Unique content: Be very careful about duplicating content on your sites.
- EAT (Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness): EAT signals are evaluated by Google’s quality assessment specialists. Never forget to create and prove your expertise and reliability. Write only on topics that you are 100% familiar with.
- Fresh content: Some topics require more relevance, while others require less. However, you should regularly update your content to keep it up to date.
- Click-Through Rate (CTR): Optimize title tags and meta descriptions to improve the CTR of your pages.
- Website Speed: Make sure that your visitors don’t have to wait too long to load the page, otherwise there is a high probability that they will leave without visiting it.
- Works on any device: Your website should work flawlessly on any device and screen size (remember that most internet users visit via mobile devices).
Content quality is undoubtedly the most important SEO factor (note that 5 out of 10 critical factors are related to content). See how to optimize content for SEO.
Other equally important website ranking factors that can have a positive impact on your ranking:
- Content depth of content
- Image optimization
- Well-structured page
- Social sharing (signals)
- Using HTTPS.