07 Jul How do Search Engines Work

how do search engines workIt is important that you understand the question asking, “how do search engines work? To rank in the search engines requires a two-step process. The first step is indexing your web pages into their database. This is how they keep track of your website’s existence and store the associated information. The second process is assigning a ranking to your site. The search engines use software called spiders. The spiders patrol the Internet, reporting back information about websites. The search engines evaluate the data and assign each web page a position. For example, a new site initially may not rank in the top 1000 results.

When the search engines evaluate your site, they initially look at the site’s subject, e.g. dieting, plumbing, etc. They then evaluate the content, record the website’s links and document the number of pages. This is not a one-time only process. The spiders visit sites on a regular basis to evaluate and document the changes. Many times, if the page navigation is confusing, the spiders can miss some of the web pages and they will not be indexed. An important aspect is that each website page is associated with keyword phrases, and that is why each page should be optimized for different keyword phrases and rank on its own. The search engines can actually rank one of your pages higher than another.

Building Your Website’s Authority

The most critical part for any website is building your website’s authority in the eyes of the search engines. The more important your website is viewed, the higher your web pages will rank. Google determines your website’s value by how well your web pages are optimized and the number of one-way back links pointing to your site. The rationale is that if another site links to you without you linking back, called a one-way back link, then your website must be providing valuable content.

NOTE: Although back links are still important, low value back links can trigger a Google page ranking penalty. This can happen when the back links appear unnatural and are from low quality sites. Also over using keyword phrases as anchor text links can trigger the penalty. Now Google is increasing the importance of “social signals.” When individuals use social media to share your content, this also indicates quality content. You should avoid older and outdated SEO techniques to avoid these penalties.

Once they analyze your website, Google assigns your site a page rank (PR) from 0 to 10. Most new sites are a PR 0 until they have some time to age and generate back links and social signals. It is a complex evolving algorithm, which changed over 600 times in 2011. However, to convey the concept, each PR number is exponentially higher than the preceding number. For example, a PR 1 site is viewed 10 times more important than a PR 0. A PR 2 ranking is 10 times more important than a PR 1, and so on. It requires a well-optimized website with both excellent original content that gets shared and adding one-way back links continuously over time to increase your site’s page rank (PR).

Google likes natural growth and will penalize websites that try to game the system. For example, adding 1,000 back links today and then stopping is considered spamming the search engines and your site could be banned. With Google, the tortoise wins the ranking race. Your website’s PR will increase over time if you slowly and continuously add back links, as well as quality well-optimized content. Additionally, this adds to a better user experience.

Remember, PR can fluctuate based upon your website’s activity. If you stop adding quality content and back links or allow your website to remain stagnant, your PR value can drop. Your hard-earned page placement can also drop. Additionally, Google is hiring human reviewers to check top ranking sites to ensure quality. If a low quality site is ranking and a human reviewer catches it, the site will definitely be dropped from Page One.

Understanding the Google Dance

Every business wants immediate results for their investment and it is no different with Internet marketing. If you are in a hurry for results, then run a PPC campaign while you are waiting for your web pages to rank organically. You cannot rush SEO and trying to do so will hurt your rankings. What will drive you crazy is what is referred to as the “Google Dance!” When your site is indexed and initially ranked, you will notice that your website will be nowhere to be found. Then suddenly, it may appear on Page Three; in a day or so, you might see it on Page One! You jump for joy, only to see it disappear once again into the search engine abyss. Eventually, the Google Dance stops and your site will settle down; that is considered the bench mark to begin measuring future progress. This is natural as Google evaluates the site and works to establish a ranking…it is not your digital marketing consultant!


Make sure you work with a reputable digital marketing resource who thoroughly understands how the search engines work, as well as search engine optimization (SEO). No one can guarantee your SEO results since Google and the other search engines make the rules. Additionally, be wary of vendors who call PPC advertising SEO. Many vendors guarantee a Page One placement by calling it SEO and then use PPC for generating traffic. Remember, if the advertising stops, so does the traffic and your web pages will not have any ranking. You need a good SEO program to get your web pages ranked for the long term. SEO can produce long term, free traffic with a top Page One position. However, the rules are always changing, so ensure you hire resources who understand the complexities and keep up with the changes.

Our Niche Dominance digital media marketing strategies include creating a cutting edge search engine optimization infrastructure that conforms to the latest SEO techniques. Our solution is also designed to evolve with the rapidly changing search engine landscape to ensure your business can achieve a competitive advantage even with fierce competition.

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