It’s no secret; at Turn The Page Online Marketing, we are a bunch of nerds. We have a long standing rivalry of Apple vs Android. Our sales team has Stormtroopers. We communicate via Google chat, while sitting in the same room with each other. And I bet you right now, on a beautiful and sunny afternoon, I am not the only one sitting in front of a computer working. Or thinking about working.

That’s just how we roll. We live, breathe and navigate the vast online marketing world daily. And one area we really spend a lot of time in is how things work. Without a true understanding of the Internet and its components, we aren’t much use to our clients who depend on us to read the “condensed version” 57-page manual on how Internet Search Engines work. So, to spare you the reading material and to give you an edge over your competition in our own complex world — here is how Internet search engines work. And in English.

The Intro
When we talk about Internet search engines, we are referring to Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc — the little box where you go to type in the info you want to become an expert on. Probably the most popular among the masses is Google. They are a pioneer in the search engine field and have paved the way for others to follow. And who says they are going to go ‘Bing’ something when they need an answer?
In a nutshell, search engines search the Internet based on important words. They keep an index of words they find and where they find them and they allow users to look for words or combinations of words found in that index. In the dark ages of search engines, only a few hundred thousand pages and documents were in a single index and search engines maybe had a couple thousand inquiries a day. Much has changed since the beginning. A search engine today will index millions and millions of pages, images and videos.  It will respond within split seconds to millions and millions of inquiries.

Web Crawling
Before a search engine can give you page and document results, it has to be located. Makes sense. But what finds the info? Special software robots known as ‘spiders’ take the credit for building lists of words and then keeps track of where they found the indicated words. This process is called ‘Web crawling’ and in order to generate a valuable and useful list, the spiders must do a lot of crawling through web pages.
A spider will start its travel at heavily traveled pages and servers. Popular words are picked up and followed through pages and links  within the site. From this method, spiders travel quickly and spread out through the most trafficked areas of the web.

Meta Tags
No doubt, you have heard from a Turn The Page tekky how important key words are within your website. Meta tags allow you as the owner of a web page to specify key words and concepts under which the page will be indexed. Meta tags clear up any confusion that may be associated with double meanings of words and make sure the proper indication is interpreted. But, it is important to remember that the meta tags you use in your website, must be actually relevant to the content you write about. Spiders are capable of matching meta tags that have correlation to the content on your page and whether or not they will index the page.

And this concludes the introduction to Internet Search Engines 101. Next time we’ll put it all together with building the index and search — something no doubt to be looking forward to if you love online marketing as much as we do!

Author Amanda Hall

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