Optimizing sites without knowing how search engines work is like signing up for a marathon without the necessary training. Of course, there are many who register only for the sake of participation and even manage to finish the race, but few end up on the podium.
Therefore, in order to get your website to rank higher, you need to know how search engines work.
Before explaining what is going on behind the search box, you need to know that the mission of a search engine is to scan the internet and index the identified pages in order to list the most relevant results to users.
For starters, you need to understand that when you do a search in the search engine you are not searching “effectively” on the internet, but in the database owned by Google after scanning and indexing what it found on the internet. Or at least a part of everything that exists in the great network of interconnected computers.
To scan the Internet, Google uses software programs called „Spiders” that enter certain pages and gather information about them: content, images, meta tags, links, etc. All links identified on these pages are “followed” by spiders to scan other pages.
After collecting the information found on a page, Google indexes it in the database, and at a certain time it returns to it. This indexing involves not only storing information in the database, but also sorting it using an advanced classification system.
The most difficult stage of a search engine is listing the relevant results to users when they search the database. And in this regard, Google is the “champion” as it manages, in fractions of a second, to access its database of over 100,000,000 gigabytes and to display the most relevant results.
How does Google determine which results to list?
There are thousands or even millions of pages of information that may be relevant to a search. How does Google manage to sort them? With the help of more and more powerful algorithms, of course.
Over time, they have been perfected to better understand the user’s intentions, but also the information in the indexed pages. In other words, they try to understand what the user is looking for and to list the most relevant information.
Content, links and machine learning (Rank Brain) are the most important positioning factors, as stated by Andrey Lipattsev, Google Search Quality Senior Strategist.
Content determines contextual relevance. The way it is done, combined with the context in which it is placed and the links to which it refers, determines how it is indexed and what queries (searches) it might answer.
Links determine authority and relevance. Google uses links not only to discover new pages, but also to determine the authority of sites. The authority of a site refers to how qualitative it is and is determined taking into account several parameters.
Machine learning determines the user’s intention. With the help of the Rank Brain algorithm, Google collects information about user behavior in order to list the most relevant results.
In addition to the above, the used language, location and device are also factors that contribute to listing the results.
To be continued…
Now that you know how search engines work and how results are listed, it’s time to find out the first step you need to take to promote a site, namely how to do keyword research.