Search engines, whether on the internet or your desktop, are critical tools that enable efficient navigation and bring relevant information to our fingertips just when we need it. These amazing tools have become such an integral part of our daily lives that it’s hard to imagine life without them.

The advent of the internet in cooperation with search engines sets the stage for success using digital marketing strategies, which is the field of expertise where Altitude SEO excels. Because of how important search engines are particularly in the field of Search Engine Optimization (it’s in the name, after all), we thought it would help to dedicate an article solely to the subject of what exactly a search engine is and how it works.

So, What Are Search Engines and How Do They Work?

The Basics

Even the most sophisticated search engines ever conceived have two basic, essential functions. These are to crawl and to index. But, what exactly does that mean?

A search engine crawls by querying the vast network of available files, web pages, and other information. Judging from the responses the search engine gets from those queries, the engine indexes the results of the crawling in a way that is relevant and meaningful for the search engine user. Due to the incredibly large amount of information that is now available across the internet, search engines must employ the use of high-tech data centers for the purpose of storing and retrieving all of the information it needs to function.

When you think about the biggest search engines currently operating today – Google, Yahoo!, and Bing come to mind – all these engines are doing, fundamentally, is collecting available information and delivering it to consumers in a clean, easy-to-use format.

What Influences Search Engine Results

Two key features of web content determine whether or not it will be presented to a search engine user and in what order. Those features are relevance and popularity. Basic relevance can be ascertained fairly easily by a search engine by simply matching the keywords used in the search with those documents or internet locations that contain those keywords. However, determining exactly how relevant a website or other digital content is taken into account a lot more ‘behind-the-scenes’ activity on the part of the search engine.

That’s where expertise in the field of Search Engine Optimization can be so powerful. Knowing what Google, Yahoo, and Bing specifically look for to assign their relevancy value is crucial to virtually any digital marketing campaign. Once the aspect of relevancy is tackled, it’s on to popularity.

Search engines love content that is ‘sticky,’ or that keeps users on the site for long amounts of time. This is also called ‘engagement,’ and it’s all a part of the popularity ranking each search engine assigns to various websites or other online assets. Striking a balance between a focus on optimal relevance and increasing popularity is the ideal sweet spot for internet marketers.

At Altitude SEO, We Know SEO

Knowing the nuances of search engines and using them to empower businesses online is what we do. We know that sound SEO strategy starts with a basic understanding of how exactly search engines operate, before formulating a plan to take advantage of internet technology for long-term success.

Contact us to learn more.