How do Search Engines like Google and Yahoo work?

Normally people ask the question above so that they can answer the questions below.

Why isn’t my website on the first page of Google or Yahoo? I’m talking about the coveted number one spot in Google and Yahoo for all of the keywords and key phrases that pertain to your business.

For starters, you are not the only one that wants that top spot. Being on top of the mountain for a few key phrases can accelerate a company’s growth; likewise, losing the top spot can put a company in a downward spiral.

This is why many large companies and web-based companies spend so much money and time on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM).

Wikipedia descriptions of SEO and SEM

Wikipedia logo

 

Back to the Search Engines and how they work:

Have you heard that search engines use a mathematical formula to rank your website? Officially called an algorithm.

And, do you know what that formula/algorithm is?  (Wikipedia explains algorithm)

Google and Yahoo never share their algorithm. Even if they did, it wouldn’t matter because the formulas change all the time.

Sometimes the changes are slight and sometimes they are massive changes. Want an example? Google said in 2020, it made 4,500 changes to its algorithm.

Why change so often? They say they are always trying to improve the search quality.

How does a Search Engine work?

A search engine wants to give its users the most accurate response for each search. In example: if you search “New Orleans web design” you would want to see listings like Design the Planet, not Alaskan Crab Fishing.

Now, knowing this, what can we gather about the lengthy and complicated algorithms that search engines use? The good news is that there is a method to their madness and the items that weigh heaviest in the algorithm are content and links to your website. Among other things.

I call this the high school popularity method ? the best known and most liked website wins prom queen.

When ranking each website, the search engine evaluates the text on your website and the number of links to your website from other websites. It also considers the number of Google reviews you have and a whole lot more.

The bottom line is… The text on your website matters – all of it matters.

We also like to remember that Google and Yahoo are for-profit companies. Some parts of the algorithms they make will be setup to benefit them.

What specifically is Google or Yahoo or Bing looking for?

Search engines evaluate:

  1. Page Title
  2. Meta Text
  3. Headlines and each sentence – giving more weight to the headlines and sentences at the top of the page
  4. Links back to your page
  5. Number of visitors
    and a whole lot more

How can you do better in search?

For a search engine, it is better to title your page “Contact Design the Planet” than “get in touch”.

When in doubt as to how much text, remember one thing, CONTENT IS KING!

When it comes to search engines, the more text, the better.

Instead of having a few pages about your company and your products/services, you should have a book.

Does this sound like a lot of work? You bet!

Search engines are looking for the authority for each keyword and key phrase. To provide the best search results to their users, search engines look for the master of each word. How can you do it?Providing more text presents you as the leader in your field.

We all want to do work and buy products from the leader.

More tips on how to improve your SEO ranking:

Links matter. Not links on your website, but links to your website.

Also, the more popular the website linking to your website, the better. In SEO talk, it is better to have links from websites with high PageRankings (we’ll discuss more later).

How can you get more backlinks?

It is important to take time to find non-competitor websites that will link to your website, especially if they are of a similar theme.

Here is an example:

For Design the Planet, a website of” TOP Louisiana web design firms” or a web hosting company linking to our website is much stronger than a link of a random websites.

Also, when a website links to you, it is better to be descriptive saying “New Orleans Web Design Firm” instead of “cool link.”

How does a search engine like Google and Yahoo know what text is on your website or what websites link to your website?

Simple, they use spiders. Yes, I’m serious. Search engines sends small robots (or bots) called spiders to crawl the web in order to gain this information.

The spiders feed information about your website to a massive database and then the database ranks each website according to the previously mentioned algorithm. This ranking of websites is called PageRank.

Google Search of Pizza

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PageRank is the more important for most companies. The search engine’s database then breaks down these rankings per keyword and key phrase. When it comes to links, Google considers each link to your website as a vote for your website and the better the PageRank, the more powerful the vote. Mostly democratic.

Surprisingly, traffic has little to do with your web rankings; partly because the search engines cannot determine traffic easily. They can, however, determine how much traffic you receive using the PageRanks of the websites linked to you and how long a user stays on your website after finding it through their search engine. If a user clicks on a website after searching a keyword and then quickly clicks back to the search engine, the search engine thinks that website was not the authority the user was looking for and eventually lowers the ranking of that website.

Now you have a few broad ideas of why your website is number one (or not number one) in the search engines. In later postings, we will discuss more specific methods of building your popularity and other things you can do to rank higher. We will even give you a few things not to do that will get you blacklisted from Google and Yahoo completely. Imagine what that will do for your web presence?