HOW DO SEARCH ENGINES WORK?
The amount of content on the internet is phenomenal. Search engines allow us to find specific information quickly and easily. In under a second, search engines comb through billions of web pages to deliver you the most relevant content available. To do this, search engines perform the following key functions:
- Crawling the Web
- Indexing or Ordering Content
- Ranking Websites according to Relevancy
Search engines ‘crawl the web’ using automated robots. These ‘crawlers’ navigate the enormous World Wide Web, discovering the fastest pathways between web pages. Think of the internet as a suburb, with every web page, PDF, JPG or file representing a house. The roads in the suburb connect the houses, allowing people to drive between them. Similarly, a search engine uses links to efficiently navigate between web pages on the internet.
Indexing or Ordering Content
Every web page on the internet is connected by links used by search engine ‘crawlers’ to navigate the World Wide Web. This large pool of information must be ordered so that search engines can deliver relevant results fast. To do this, search engines analyse the code of every web page and file on the internet. This information is stored in data centres all over the world and accessed whenever a person types a query into a search engine.
Ranking Websites according to Relevancy
The results search engines deliver are ordered according to importance. This means that the web pages most relevant to your keyword search will be at the top of the search engine results page.
Search Engine Optimisation influences the importance of websites to make them appear more relevant to search engines.
There are over 100 elements in a website which can be modified to influence its relevance in search engine rankings.
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How do Search Engines determine Relevance?
Relevance is determined by how popular a website is. The more popular a website, the more likely it is to rank well in the search engines. Popularity is difficult to measure, so search engines use complex algorithms to help them identify the popularity of a website.