Now that I am done with Understanding How Search Engines Work, let’s discuss the last important step, which is ranking. Previously, I have talked about crawling and indexing. For the final step, the search engines must decide on what order to display the results.
The Third Step: Ranking
Each search engine has its own algorithm to follow, its own rules to act in accordance with. This algorithm will which web pages to show in the search results page and in what specific order.
When someone does a search, the search results will depend on the search engine ranking algorithms. In short, these rules will determine what the user is finding and what information it should provide to the user. Furthermore, the search results will depend on the data on their index.
How do search engine algorithms work?
The search engine ranking algorithms are not definite, and they do constantly change. It’s not a simple yes or no. In fact, there are a lot of things to do. That’s why I suggest that you follow the Official Google Webmaster Central Blog and to read on the Webmaster Guidelines whenever you are unsure.
When Google started, it would simply match the query with the page. In 2001, this is the algorithm to follow, but this NOT the case now. Google algorithm has grown into a huge set of rules. According to Backlicko.com, they are have tracked over 200 ranking factors.
From merely having the page title match with the query, Google has evolved into a complex program. Indeed, things definitely have changed since Larry Page and Sergey Brin founded Google back in the days. Before making decisions, the search engines follow certain parameters that will ensure that the user will only get the best results. To make you understand how things work, this is what a search engine does:
Analyzing the User’s Query
- First, the search engine will try to decipher what kind of information is the user searching for. Then, it will analyze the query basing from the search terms.
- The search engine will break down the search terms by identifying the relevant keywords use. Analyze the search keywords according to its meaning and purpose. For instance, if you search how to bake bake blueberry cheesecake, the search engine will take a hint from the how-to that you are searching for specific instructions. Then, next, it will add the keyword blueberry cheesecake. So, it will give you search results on cake recipes.
- Another example is when type keywords such as Buy One Spring Night OST, the search engine will take the BUY as you looking for something to buy. So, listing on Amazon, iTunes, and other online shops will be included in the search results page.
- Through the years, machine learning has learned how to associate related keywords together. For instance, when you type in how to capture screenshots, this is similar to how to take screenshots. Moreover, search engines are smart enough to detect spelling error during the search. When search for how to loose wieght, it knows that you mean how to lose weight.
Discussion on finding matching web pages and other useful tips on Understanding How Search Algorithms Work (Part 2)