If you want to master SEO, you have to understand how search engines work. In all of our SEO guides, we’re focused on Google as it owns 80 percent of all search engine traffic. Anyway, if you rank high in Google, you’ll probably rank well great in Bing and Yahoo too.

What’s The Purpose Of Search Engines?

Search engines have 3 core goals;

  • Crawling the world wide web
  • Building an index of websites
  • Providing the best answer for search queries

If you walk away with any gold nuggets, let it be the fact that you need to think more like Google when you’re doing SEO.

Search Engines Navigate The World Wide Web

Every piece of content, media, images, PDFs, documents, all of these are crawled by search engine bots (search engine spiders). These search engine crawlers are able to read web code and store this code in massive databases. Major commercial search engines like Google are able to crawl the whole internet, which is massive to say the least.

The amount of bandwidth needed to this is huge. Data centers can hold thousands of databases and these data centers are all over the world. They can decipher billions of pages and provide accurate results in less than a second (no easy feat).

In SEO, you always here how important links are. Links are vital to search engine bots as they’re channels the web crawlers use to understand exactly what your website is about. All this data is stored and saved to show in search results later.

Search Engines Provide Answers

All of the crawling, following links, reading codes, it’s all used for one final purpose, to deliver the most appropriate answer to every single search query performed.

When you perform a search in the search engine, there’s 2 things that happen.

  • The search engine evaluates billions of web pages
  • The search engine ranks those pages in a specific order

When search engines are determining the rankings of search queries, there’s specific core pillars they’re looking at that ultimately determine where pages will rank.

  • Relevance
  • Popularity
  • Content
  • Engagement
  • User Metrics
  • Traffic

Search engines use all 6 of these to determine which websites should rank the highest. Just a few short years ago, relevance and popularity were two of the biggest factors for ranking in search engines. Today, content, engagement, user metrics and traffic fall into the equation.

Each Major Search Engine Provides Guidelines For Ranking

Some of the major search engines do provide guidelines and best practices for ranking in their search engines.

Google Search Engine

  • Build your pages for users, not for search engines
  • Make sure your site structure (hierarchy) is clear with text links
  • Create a useful, informative website for users
  • Be sure to be descriptive and accurate with your content and pages
  • Always think about serving the end user
  • Make sure you’re building relative internal links in your content

Bing Search Engine

  • Make sure you have a rich keyword URL per page
  • Make sure contextual content is not buried in rich media content
  • Your content should be keyword rich
  • Be sure to product regular fresh content
  • Don’t put keyword rich text within images