How does a search engine work?

To be good at SEO and to use the full potential of search engines, we need to understand how search engines work. How does a search engine work? What kind of information can they read and analyse? Given how much information is found through search engines every day, it would be a shame if you and your business didn't take advantage of the potential of being visible in searches made around the world.

In Sweden there are basically only 2 search engines; Bing and Google, and since Google accounts for 95% of all searches, I will focus on Google in this post.

What does a search engine do?

All search engines use a program, a spider or a web crawler, which retrieves information from all the websites in the world and then indexes the information.

Examples of information retrieved by search engines are:

  • Text on websites- Images on websites
  • Links. Both those that go in and also out of a website these are called in and out links.
  • How often and where your brand appears on other websites

Google search engine

It's all about making it as easy as possible for Google's spiders. They work by identifying parts of the website, so that they can quickly determine whether your website is relevant to the search made or not. Clarity wins in the long run!

This is what happens when someone Googles

When someone does a Google search for something, Google searches its index for relevant sources. Google then uses an algorithm to come up with a top list of relevant sources. The higher up on that list a website is, the better. Getting to the top requires continuous SEO work. You can read more about how search algorithms work here.

Google's algorithms

Google updates its algorithms on an ongoing basis to give the applicant the best possible result. So something that has worked in the past doesn't have to work today. It's a matter of keeping up to date with what changes Google is making. It's not always easy to keep up with all the updates, but a rule of thumb that I usually stick to is that clarity does the job! Anything that makes it easier for visitors to find their way around a website is a positive, if not for Google then for your visitors. Often, clarity for visitors tends to go hand in hand with what Google includes in their algorithms. This is because their purpose is to facilitate information retrieval.

Summary of how a search engine works

We have now reviewed the size of Google, the type of information a search engine is capable of retrieving and what happens during a Google search. Algorithms are constantly changing is something we can be sure of, but how few know. The rule of thumb is that Google wants to make things easier for the user and making your website user friendly will go a long way.

Want to know more about Google's great potential? Also, want to know how you can best take advantage of all the benefits that come with search engines?

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