The fundamentals of SEO: how a search engine works explained
To succeed in the digital age, businesses and individuals must understand the fundamentals of SEO (Search Engine Optimization). This vast, complex, constantly evolving field directly impacts online visibility. To better understand this essential concept, knowing how search engines like Google, Bing, or DuckDuckGo work is crucial.
What is a search engine?
A search engine is an online platform that allows users to search for information on the Internet using specific keywords or phrases. The results are presented as a list of websites and other online resources (images, videos, news, etc.) relevant to these keywords. The optimal use of a search engine depends on its ability to provide relevant and rapid results. However, to take full advantage of these tools, it is essential to understand how they work.
How a search engine works: key steps
The operation of a search engine can be simplified into three main steps:
- Exploration: discovery of new web pages by indexing robots
- Indexing: sorts and stores pages indexed by the engine
- Ranking: definition of the order of pages according to their relevance to the searched keywords
The exploration stage: the robots’ mission (crawl)
A search engine uses indexing robots, also called crawlers or spiders, to discover new online resources and add them to its index. Their primary role is to continuously browse the World Wide Web, following the links on each page they encounter.
The robots regularly check indexed sites for possible updates, content improvements, or structural changes. Based on this information, they signal to the engine whether a page needs to be updated, added, or deleted.
The indexing stage: page classification
After crawling the different pages of the web, the indexing robots report their discoveries to the search engine, which is then responsible for analyzing them in depth. This makes it possible to evaluate the quality, relevance, and added value of the keywords likely to be associated with them.
Once this analysis is carried out, the pages are stored in an extensive organized directory called an index, which is constantly updated. It’s important to note that not all sites are indexed the same way: some may be indexed quickly, while others will take longer.
The classification stage: the relevance criteria
The search engine uses a complex and secret algorithm that considers hundreds, if not thousands, of different factors to order search results based on relevance. Among the main criteria taken into consideration, we find:
- The quality of the content: originality, length, semantic richness, etc.
- The reputation of the site: authority, number of incoming links, etc.
- The proximity of keywords to the user’s query
- The ergonomics and ease of use of the site
- The geographical location of the Internet user
- SEO optimization to improve your online visibility
Understanding how a search engine works is essential to comprehend SEO optimization techniques better. Indeed, the latter aims to improve the understanding of your site by indexing robots and making its content more attractive in the eyes of search engines.
Why work on your SEO?
Florian-Ayala Fauna works on natural referencing to increase the visibility of your website on search engines, generate more qualified traffic, and, ultimately, increase your sales or your online impact. At a time when competition on the Internet is more challenging than ever, a good SEO strategy is a real asset to stand out.
The pillars of a global web strategy
To effectively optimize your website, you need to work on three distinct but complementary pillars:
- Content: produce quality text and media that are useful and relevant to your visitors
- The technique: improve site performance (loading speed, mobile adaptability, etc.)
- Popularity: obtaining quality inbound links from authoritative and recognized sites in your field
To boost your site’s visibility, a solid understanding of SEO and search engines is essential. Adopt a complete web strategy focused on quality content, optimized technical performance, and generating inbound links to distinguish yourself.
Also Read: Search Engines: Tips For Good Positioning