Search engines have the main purpose to index thousands of millions of web pages. Once you look for a word or a phrase, the search engine scans automatically the entire database where it has the stored pages indexed and it returns to you as a result a list containing the most relevant results for that search.
The only criteria the number of pages found and their relevance depend on are the capabilities of the used search engine.
Search engines appeared somewhere in the early 90’s when Alan Emtage, a student at the McGill University in Montreal created the first search engine like too. It was called Archie. Its purpose was to search through the information available on the FTP servers. The files on these servers were available for anyone, but one couldn’t use them unless knowing the exact address of the server and of the file. Archie looked through this database and gathered lists of files for each server. It was used by people to match phrases and characters in order to take them to the server address the file they were looking for was on.
Archie is now an old method, but its creation was the first step in the search engine rally that is going on now. As the public grew more and more aware of the existence of the internet, the need for a search tool became visible.
So, first there were some software robots, using the concept of spidering to index the web, following links from one site to the other and saving the text from all visited websites in a database.
Between 1994 and 1995 three important search engines appeared: Lycos, WebCrawler and AltaVista. At about the same time Yahoo! appeared but Yahoo! is not a search engine. Yes, it has a search engine function, but yahoo is firstly a director or data and articles, providing different services as email and hosting. Recently yahoo has signed contracts with other search engines as Google for both of them to provide more search results.
Today search engines are in a continuous competition. There are thousands of search engines, but just a few big ones. This small group of top search engines is responsible for more than 90% of online searches.
But the question arises: if search engines are free and they cam be used by everyone what keeps them financially alive, The answer to the question is very simple: advertising and traffic. The more visits they have, the bigger the traffic then the more money they can make providing promotion space.
Search engines are competing to develop the best formulas and algorithms to evaluate the web pages accordingly to the keywords provided.
If someone is looking for a top position in search engines, then he has to be sure that his site is projected in such a way that search engines would find it easily, being relevant for the keywords and phrases the owner wants it to be found by.
It is the search engines that finally bring your website to the notice of the prospective customers. Hence it is better to know how these search engines actually work and how they present information to the customer initiating a search.
There are basically two types of search engines. The first is by robots called crawlers or spiders.
Search Engines use spiders to index websites. When you submit your website pages to a search engine by completing their required submission page, the search engine spider will index your entire site. A ‘spider’ is an automated program that is run by the search engine system. Spider visits a web site, read the content on the actual site, the site’s Meta tags and also follow the links that the site connects. The spider then returns all that information back to a central depository, where the data is indexed. It will visit each link you have on your website and index those sites as well. Some spiders will only index a certain number of pages on your site, so don’t create a site with 500 pages!
The spider will periodically return to the sites to check for any information that has changed. The frequency with which this happens is determined by the moderators of the search engine.
A spider is almost like a book where it contains the table of contents, the actual content and the links and references for all the websites it finds during its search, and it may index up to a million pages a day.
Example: Excite, Lycos, AltaVista and Google.
When you ask a search engine to locate information, it is actually searching through the index which it has created and not actually searching the Web. Different search engines produce different rankings because not every search engine uses the same algorithm to search through the indices.
One of the things that a search engine algorithm scans for is the frequency and location of keywords on a web page, but it can also detect artificial keyword stuffing or spamdexing. Then the algorithms analyze the way that pages link to other pages in the Web. By checking how pages link to each other, an engine can both determine what a page is about, if the keywords of the linked pages are similar to the keywords on the original page.
It is the search engines that finally bring your website to the notice of the prospective customers. When a topic is typed for search, nearly instantly, the search engine will sift through the millions of pages it has indexed about and present you with ones that match your topic. The searched matches are also ranked, so that the most relevant ones come first.
Remember that a prospective customer will probably only look at the first 2-3 listings in the search results. So it does matter where your website appears in the search engine ranking.
Further, they all use one of the top 6-7 search engines and these search engines attract more visitors to websites than anything else. So finally it all depends on which search engines the customers use and how they rank your site.
It is the Keywords that play an important role than any expensive online or offline advertising of your website.
It is found by surveys that a when customers want to find a website for information or to buy a product or service, they find their site in one of the following ways:
* The first option is they find their site through a search engine.
* Secondly they find their site by clicking on a link from another website or page that relates to the topic in which they are interested.
* Occasionally, they find a site by hearing about it from a friend or reading in an article.
Thus it’s obvious the the most popular way to find a site, by search engine, represents more than 90% of online users. In other words, only 10% of the people looking for a website will use methods other than search engines.
All search engines employ a ranking algorithm and one of the main rules in a ranking algorithm is to check the location and frequency of keywords on a web page. Don’t forget that algorithms also give weightage to link population (number of web pages linking to your site). When performed by a qualified, experienced search engine optimization consultant, your site for high search engine rankings really does work, unless you have a lot of money and can afford to pay the expert. With better knowledge of search engines and how they work, you can also do it on your own.