First 3 Pages
Imagine the World Wide Web as a network of stops in a big city subway
Each stop is a unique document (usually a web page, but sometimes a PDF, JPG, or other
file). The search engines need a way to “crawl” the entire city and find all the stops along the
way, so they use the best path available—links.
Search engines have two major functions: crawling and
building an index, and providing search users with a ranked list
of the websites they've determined are the most relevant.
1. Crawling and Indexing
Crawling and indexing the billions of
documents, pages, files, news,
videos, and media on the World Wide
2. Providing Answers
Providing answers to user queries,most frequently through lists of relevant pages that they've retrieved and ranked for relevancy.
The link structure of the web serves to bind all of the pages together.
Links allow the search engines' automated robots, called "crawlers" or "spiders," to
reach themany billions of interconnected documents on the web.
Once the engines find these pages, they decipher the code from them and store selected
pieces in massive databases, to be recalled later when needed for a search query. To
accomplish the monumental task of holding billions of pages that can be accessed in a
fraction of a second, the search engine companies have constructed datacenters all over the
These monstrous storage facilities hold thousands of machines processing large quantities of information very quickly. When a person performs a search at any of the major engines, they demand results instantaneously; even a one- or two-second delay can cause dissatisfaction,
so the engines work hard to provide answers as fast as possible.
How Do I Get Some Success Rolling In?
Or, "how search marketers succeed"
The complicated algorithms of search engines may seem impenetrable. Indeed, the engines
themselves provide little insight into how to achieve better results or garner more traffic. What they do provide us about optimization and best practices is described below:
Google recommends the following to get better rankings in
their search engine:
Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines.
Don't deceive your users or present different content to search engines than you display to users, a practice commonly referred to as "cloaking."
Make a site with a clear hierarchy and text links. Every page should be reachable from at least one static text link.
Search engines are answer machines. When a person performs an online search, the search
engine scours its corpus of billions of documents and does two things: first, it returns only
those results that are relevant or useful to the searcher's query; second, it ranks those results according to the popularity of the websites serving the information. It is both
relevance and popularity that the process of SEO is meant to influence.
How do search engines determine relevance and popularity?
To a search engine, relevance means more than finding a page with the right words. In the
early days of the web, search engines didn’t go much further than this simplistic step, and
search results were of limited value. Over the years, smart engineers have devised better ways to match results to searchers’ queries. Today, hundreds of factors influence relevance, and we’ll discuss the most important of these in this guide.
Search engines typically assume that the more popular a site, page, or document, the more
valuable the information it contains must be. This assumption has proven fairly successful in
Popularity and relevance aren’t determined manually. Instead, the engines employ
mathematical equations (algorithms) to sort the wheat from the chaff (relevance), and then to rank the wheat in order of quality (popularity).
These algorithms often comprise hundreds of variables. In the search marketing field, we refer to them as “ranking factors.” Moz crafted a resource specifically on this subject:
Search Engine Ranking Factors.
You can surmise that search engines believe that Ohio State is the most relevant and popular page for the query “Universities” while the page for Harvard is less relevant/popular.