Article: How Search Engines Work
|Google, Bing and other search engine companies are highly motivated to prove that they should be your favorite resource to search for information on the Internet. When you (and millions of others) use their search tool, the volume of resulting users allows these companies to sell ads above and beside the search results they present to you after you have entered your search term: the “key words” that you feel will help deliver the information you are looking for.
To be in a position to offer relevant results (and make money selling ads), the search engine carries out four primary tasks:
Automated software programs called “spiders” call on websites (similar to you typing in a website address and clicking on links) and request all information on the webpage, including all links to other web pages, and then repeat the process on each linking page, hence the imagery of a spider traversing a web.
These spider programs only work with text-related elements
Similar to a library with the Dewey decimal system, or a dictionary, or a thesaurus, or a hard-copy directory like the Yellow Pages or a phone book, the search engine maintains an index of all the information it has gathered.
3. Determining Relevance
The big challenge for the search engines is to ensure that, when someone types in one or more words (a request), that the resulting list of webpages actually reflects what the searcher is looking for. Basically, we are looking for the search engine to interpret our information request and decide what data should be presented on our screen.
In a human, we would consider this thinking about a question and then answering it. In the case of computers and their software, this automated process of understanding (input) and replying (output) is called an algorithm - a mathematical formula that takes into account a number of variables, with each variable assigned some level of importance. Google has over 200 variables in their algorithm.
In 2009 Google implemented over 400 adjustments to their search algorithm without sharing the details of these changes. And Google, along with their competitors, employ many very bright people who spend all day (and night) thinking and planning how to make their respective search algorithms smarter and faster, so as to present accurate results while promoting their ads.
Now we reach the point where a search engine can deliver its service – you type in a word or two, and moments later you are presented with a list of web pages, with each entry having a short summary attached to it.
As a business owner, you are faced with a conundrum. You have competitors in the physical world. You type words into Google that relate to your business and you see thousands of results that don’t include your website.
And now, market surveys are reporting that over 80% of buyers do on-line research prior to making a purchase.
What can you do to ensure that you can level the playing field and be discovered by potential customers?
To win traffic and convert visitors into prospects, email Bernie Schmidt for a free initial consultation at b@TorontoSmallBusiness.com with a link to your website and a suggested time for a call
© 2011 Bernie Schmidt. Article may be copied and distributed “as is” with attribution to
Bernie Schmidt and TorontoSmallBusiness.com