You know what search engines are, but do you know how they work and why you should care about it?
Search engine providers such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing use programs called "searchbots" or "bots" or "spiders" to visit every website to collect data about the website pages, links, images and site information.
The information collected via this "crawling" activity is stored in an "index".
This search index is the heart of the search engine since it is referenced every time a user enters a search term in the search page.
The search index guides the search engine to present the most relevant web pages for the given search term on a search engine results page (SERP).
In the above example, the resulting web pages referenced are those where the keywords "website", "search", "engine", "optimization" have been identified and tagged in the search index.
The results include web pages that include one or more of the keywords grouped together in a phrase (e.g. website search, search engine, search optimization etc.)
If the search term entered by the search user is altered slightly (i.e. enclosed in double quotes), this signals the search engine to focus on results that have the EXACT matching phrase.
If you were conducting competitive research for website search optimisation, the above example is actually a better representation of the number of web pages that are relevant for this search term.
The order in which the results are presented is based on page relevance (or "page ranking").
Page ranking is governed by the search engines and the full extent and details of the "scoring" system is a closely guarded secret.
some of these factors (e.g. relevant content) are well known and
understood. To learn more, read the article "Google's Ranking System".
Managing your website so that it appears prominently in web search results can be achieved through effective web page design, search engine optimization and launching a website promotion campaign (such as pay per click advertising).
Search engines change their ranking systems on a regular basis so it's important to monitor your website ranking performance.
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