When a prospective client goes online to search for information, they use a search engine. The most common search engines that are used are Google, Yahoo and Bing. Your faith could very well lie in how Google views your site and where it decides to place your site in the search engine results for terms that people looking for your services might type into the search engine. Understanding how the search engines work can help you to rank more favorably and in turn gain more business.
Search Engines are powered by robots. These robots are often referred to as spiders. Basically, the spider roams through all of the webpages on the world wide web and digests and processes all of the information that it finds.
Search Engines use the information gleamed from these spiders to index websites. When you first publish your webpage, a spider will come out to your page and look at the information displayed on your webpage, the spider does not read the content on your webpage, rather it looks at factors such as keyword density, title tags, links to your page and so on. The search engine will then decide where to place your webpage in the search engine results displayed. The spider will return from time to time depending on how often you update your sites content and how often other sites link to your site.
Basically, what a ‘spider’ is, is an automated program that is run by the search engine. The spider program:
1. Goes to a web site.
2. “Reads” the content on the actual site,
3. Looks at he site’s Meta tags, keywords, Title, Headers and follow the links that the site connects.
4. Then the spider returns all of the data found, back to a central depository, where the data is indexed.
5. It will visit each link you have on your website and index those sites as well.
The spider returns to your site the see if any of the information has changed so that the information in the central depository stays up to date. There numerous factors which determine how often the spider returns to your site.
When an internet user searches for information, what they do is type certain keywords into the search box pertaining to the information they are looking for. An example of this is someone that is looking for a lawyer in Boston, MA. This person is likely to type “lawyer boston” into the search bar.
Now the search engine will go through the index of information that the spider has gathered and return to the searcher, the pages that the search engine believes is most relevant to your search. The search engine decides this according to its algorithm (which is a closely guarded secret).
Different search engines produce different rankings because not every search engine uses the same algorithm to search through the indices.
There are a variety of factors that the search engine looks at when determining how relevant your site is to certain search terms. This list is huge and each factor gets a certain weight. The importance of the factors also change frequently but include keyword density of your content, links to your site, age of your site, header tags, title tags, meta tags and so on.