How Do Search Engines Work?

Search Engines do 2 things: 1) crawl & build an index, 2) make a list full of websites ranked on what is most relevant to what the person is searching for.

Search Engine Analogy:

Picture the Search Engine automated robots like librarians (except they are super smart, & super fast & remember everything they read) in a library. The librarians spend time finding out not only the books that are in the library but what is written in the books, how to categorize the books, how each book can help you find an answer based on what you’re asking. I know what you’re thinking, that’s a lot for a few librarians. But adding on to that they are able to provide you with all of this in 1 or 2 seconds. The search engines are basically librarians, consultants, advisors, & wise men all wrapped up into 1. When a person askes one of these librarians a question the librarian not only gives you all of the relevant books to read but also organizes them in order & ranks them according to how relevant & popular the books are.

How is relevance and popularity determined?

There are many factors that influence relevance & popularity. First, search engines assume that the more popular, the more valuable the info of the site, page or document must be. People do this all the time. Second, the engines use math equations to find the most relevant material & then rank it in popularity. For example: a person asks a librarian “do you know where I can find a book on fishing? Especially bass fishing?” & the librarian says “Yeah, sure, I recommend Bob’s Big Book of Fishing, it’s our most checked out book & it has a big section on bass fishing which the previous readers told us was very useful”.

How to be successful in SEO

What does Google Recommend?

Google recommends that you make pages for people, not search engines. Use easy text links. Create content that is rich in information & descrives your company with accuracy. Use key words to create easy to remember URLs for people. For example: you own a fishing company that specializes in bass fishing. Instead of making a url that is “” try “”. See? It’s a lot easier for people to remember & search for.

What is Bing’s advice?

Same as google but make sure javascript doesn’t hide links, regularly make new content, & make sure that the information you want people to find out about your company, product, or website is written in text and not inside of an image.

*Small Tip- A link higher up on a page is more valuable than one lower on the page for search engines.


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