How Search Engines Work

Google Search Engine

What is the purpose of the Google search engine? It seems a silly question in some ways, yet many do not seem to understand exactly what it is that Google and other search engines (SEs) actually do. Consumers believe Google is there to help them find information, while website owners and online marketers believe SEs exist to help them promote their website or business. In fact, both are a bit wrong and a bit right.

The company’s mission statement from its inception has been, “To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

This statement is very broad, almost too broad to be of value. And, you might ask, useful to whom? In fact, Google and the other SEs are designed to find, index, and rank the information which is available on the web, then present it to the end user, the searcher, in an organized fashion.

The job of a search engine

In other words, it is the job of a search engine to find and make available the information each user seeks, not to provide you, the website owner, with an audience. It is their job to help searchers find you, not to help you find their user, or to place their user at your doorstep.

Once this concept is understood, it is also easy to understand that a process of providing information to the SEs to help them find you must begin. This process is called Search Engine Optimization, or SEO.

If you think of the search results as a table of contents or index of the web, you will begin to understand what needs to be done to bring the SEs to your site. The search engines are constantly crawling the web for content related to particular subjects, then cataloguing them for their clients, the searchers. If you provide content which is relevant to these searches, you will be listed and ranked on the results page. These results are known as organic search results, because they stem directly from the user’s query.

Search engine exploitation

The thinking behind SEO, or search engine optimization, is the technique of exploiting the SEs function. If the job of the SEs is to find information then, if you wish to be found, you must provide information, or content. However, it is also the job of the SEs to rank that information, to judge its quality, so exploitation of this feature requires that you post quality content as well, and you must do so regularly.

In order for the SEs to find and rank your site, and to determine whether or not your content is relevant to a particular query, or search, the content you create must be directly related to your subject area, or niche. Irrelevant content will be ignored. Also, content which is created to trick the search engines will be punished, removing it from the search results and even, perhaps, blacklisting a site completely from any future search results.

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