How Search Engines Work

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What is a search engine?

A search engine consists of two main things: a database of information, and algorithms that compute which results to return and rank for a given query.

In the case of web search engines like Google, the database consists of trillions of web pages, and the algorithms look at hundreds of factors to deliver the most relevant results

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How do search engines work?

Search engines work by taking a list of known URLs, which then go to the scheduler. The scheduler decides when to crawl each URL. Crawled pages then go to the parser where vital information is extracted and indexed. Parsed links go to the scheduler, which prioritizes their crawling and re-crawling.

When you search for something, search engines return matching pages, and algorithms rank them by relevance.

Here’s a diagram from Google showing this process:

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The work of the search engine is divided into three stages, i.e., crawling, indexing, and retrieval.

Crawling

This is the first step in which a search engine uses web crawlers to find out the webpages on the World Wide Web. A web crawler is a program used by Google to make an index. It is designed for crawling, which is a process in which the crawler browses the web and stores the information about the webpages visited by it in the form of an index.

So, the search engines have the web crawlers or spiders to perform crawling, and the task of crawler is to visit a web page, read it, and follow the links to other web pages of the site. Each time the crawler visits a webpage, it makes a copy of the page and adds its URL to the index. After adding the URL, it regularly visits the sites like every month or two to look for updates or changes.

Indexing

In this stage, the copies of webpages made by the crawler during crawling are returned to the search engine and stored in a data centre. Using these copies, the crawler creates the index of the search engine. Each of the webpages that you see on search engine listings is crawled and added to the index by the web crawler. Your website should be in the index only then it will appear in the search engine pages.

We can say that the index is like a huge book which contains a copy of each web page found by the crawler. If any webpage changes, the crawler updates the book with new content.

So, the index comprises the URL of different webpages visited by the crawler and contains the information collected by the crawler. This information is used by search engines to provide the relevant answers to users for their queries. If a page is not added to the index, it will not be available to the users. Indexing is a continuous process; crawlers keep visiting websites to find out new data.

Retrieval

This is the final stage in which the search engine provides the most useful and relevant answers in a particular order in response to a search query submitted by the user. Search engines use algorithms to improve the search results so that only genuine information could reach the users, e.g., PageRank is a popular algorithm used by search engines. It shifts through the pages recorded in the index and shows those webpages on the first page of the results that it thinks are the best.

White Hat SEO Techniques

White Hat SEO refers to the SEO techniques which are in accordance with the SEO guidelines set by the search engines. It means it uses approved search engine optimization techniques to improve the ranking of a site on search engine results pages (SERP).

Unlike Black Hat SEO, it mainly focuses on the human audience as opposed to a search engine. People who are looking for long-term investment on their websites rely on white hat SEO techniques. Examples of White Hat SEO include quality content, internal linking, link building, site optimization, social media marketing, Google Ads, etc.

A list of 6 popular white hat SEO techniques are given below:

  1. Good content
  2. Proper use of title, keywords and metatags
  3. Ease of Navigation
  4. Site Performance
  5. Quality Inbound Links
  6. Mobile Friendliness
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Good content

A unique, well-written content makes your website appear more trustworthy and valuable to search engines and human visitors. It optimizes your website for search engines, which helps you get higher ranking on the search engine listings as search engines offer the most appropriate website to the end-users for their search.

Proper use of title, keywords and metatags

The information contained in the HTML code is known as Metadata. It provides crawler the information about the site for classification and indexing purposes. So, proper title, keyword, and metatag should be incorporated in the metadata.

Ease of navigation

Search engines also consider the ease of navigation while assessing the usefulness of a site, so avoid the irrelevant links and use universally recognizable links. It is not only important for the users but also for the crawlers who index the sites.

Site Performance

Site and page performance is another factor considered by search engines to assess the sites. The unavailable sites or the unavailable pages cannot be indexed by crawlers of search engines; a week or even a day of non-performing site or pages can adversely affect the site traffic. So, make sure your site loads fast and is accessible all the time.

Quality inbound links

The site must have quality inbound links as search engines regularly assess backlinks for their relevance. If a site is found to have irrelevant backlinks, it will be discounted or penalized by the search engine, e.g., a website about fishing in Kenya  containing a number of links from Asian websites about technology will be degraded by the search engines.

Mobile Friendliness

Mobile-friendliness has become an important SEO factor as Google started emphasizing mobile results since 2016. The reason for this is that there is a tremendous increase in the mobile users browsing content on their mobile phones. So, make sure you have a mobile-friendly site.

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How SEO Works

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What is SEO?

Search engine optimization is a step by step method of affecting the visibility of a web page or a website. It is also referred to as “natural,” or “organic,” results. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a set of methods or activities for increasing ranking position on search engine and traffic to your websites.

How SEO works?

Step 1) In this step, you require to discuss business objective with your clients.

Step 2) You can begin with Initial keyword analysis.

Step 3) Identify the home page and keyword combination.

Step 4) Process and get the approval by the client for Keyword/Landing Pages.

Step 5) Finalize ranking and traffic reports and starts with the SEO process.

Step 6) In this step, you need to do on-site & off-site optimization activities.

Step 7) Detailed recommendation documents.

Step 8) Implement your pre-decided SEO methods.

Step 9) Perform monitoring and optimizing.

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Three types of SEO

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There are mainly three types of SEO techniques used to achieve the best ranking in search engines.

  • On-page SEO
  • Off-page SEO
  • Technical SEO

Let’s learn, all of these techniques one after another:

On-Page SEO:

In On-Page Optimization SEO method, you need to put the keyword phrase in the title tag and the meta description. You also need to have keywords phrase included inside your main content in all your webs-pages.

This method mainly focuses on website content, keyword usage in titles, headings, site structures along with internal and external links.

Here are some Important On-Page SEO Tasks:

Title and Meta Tags:

  • Titles and meta descriptions must be unique for each page.
  • The length should be 50 – 65 characters.
  • The description tag should not contain more than 160 characters.
  • It should naturally include keywords.

The title tag is the single most important tag on your page. Why? It informs search engines what your page is all about and increases the effectiveness of your SEO strategy.
To help you understand this better, we have prepared a checklist that gives out a few
tips on how to optimize your title tags. Let’s go through it:

  • Keep your title short: Your title tags should be at a maximum of 70 characters
    long (including spaces).
  • Think of keyword placement: In your title tag you will need to have the most
    important keywords first and your least important ones need to be last in the title tag (i.e. from most to least).
  • Separate your keywords: You can use pipes (e.g. |) to separate keyword phrases – unless your keywords are written in such a way, in which you should avoid using commas, underscores, dashes or any other punctuation.
    Pay attention to your wording: Your most important phrases need to be
    short and simple while words like ‘and’, ‘if’, ‘but’, ‘then’, etc. should be left out.
  • Add your company name: If your company name is not one of the keyword
    phrases, you can put it at the end of the title tag. In case it’s one of your important word, you can put it as the first words in your title tag. This is important for branding purposes since people will be able to see the brand and click to find out more.
  • Don’t duplicate your title tags: These should be written in a different way for
    every page. Avoid mass duplication of your title tags.
  • Make it relevant: Your title tags need to be written in a descriptive way so that
    they are relevant to the content of your page.

Anchor Text:

  • All links made by using anchor text.
  • Put a title on anchor text.
  • Use broad keywords as anchor text.
  • Never used exact keywords as anchor text.

Image Optimization:

  • Image filename should be descriptive. You can use keywords in filename.
  • All image must have an alt tag. Use can use keyword in the image alt tag.
  • Do not use a large-size image.

Internal Linking:

  • Create internal links using anchor text.
  • Link all important pages to your home page.
  • Include two to five internal links per page.

Content Optimization:

  • Content on the web site has to be fresh and unique.
  • Content needs to be written in small paragraphs and use of using H3, H3, H4, and bold, italics style appropriately.
  • Proper inclusion of primary and secondary keywords
  • Length on the content should not be too large or too small.

XML Sitemap:

  • Create XML sitemap
  • Mention all public URLs inside the sitemap.
  • Include XML sitemap in the root folder of your site.

Robots.txt:

  • Create robots.txt file to authenticate and stop crawler from crawling anything apart from your home page.
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Off-Page Optimization:

In this digital marketing method, you need to perform a specific task outside of your web-pages to increase your search engine position.

Off-Page Checklist:

It is the combination of SEO factors that cannot be directly handled by the creator of a website because he has created a backlink, post content in other related and thematic website.

Given below are some important off-page task which helps you to achieve your goal.

  • Guest Blogging: Guest blogging, which is also known as guest posting, is the act of writing content for another company’s website. It helps site owners to increase their brand credibility and awareness.
  • 404 Link Building: Broken or 404 link build is a white-hat, effective, scalable, content-focused link building method. It allows webmasters to replace broken links with a correct link.
  • Resource Link Building: A resource page is a web page on a website that lists helpful links and resources for a particular topic. In the resource link building process getting your site included on the page as one of the resources.
  • PDF Links: PDF link are links given in your upload PDF document. You can add links for an e-mail address, web address and reference to other pages.
  • Forum or Q & A sites: Q&A sites and forums are an ideal method to engage with your specific community. This activity helps you to build and SEO, develop your business brand, and increase your blog traffic.
  • Slide and Video Creation & Sharing: You need to create slides and video related to your website subject or topic. That you have discussed in an important web page of your website.
  • Link requests: Sending link requests to search websites which offering free content manually. Moreover, a user also benefits from the information available on your site.

Technical SEO:

Technical SEO is a method of optimizing your website for the crawling and indexing phase. It is known as “technical” because it does not concern the actual content of the website or with the part of your website.

The main aim of technical SEO is to optimize the infrastructure of a website. Famous online shopping portals like Amazon, Alibaba use this method to get the highest search engine ranking.

Here are some important tips/checklist for Technical SEO:

  • You need to specify a preferred domain in Google Search Console and WordPress
  • Optimize your robots.txt and 404 page
  • Optimize your URL Structure
  • Rethink your navigation and website structure
  • Add schema markup for breadcrumbs
  • Add structured data to your homepage
  • Add structured data to your posts
  • Add structured data to other pages
  • Check all your canonical URLs and analyze them with the help of Google analytics
  • Submit your XML sitemap to Google and Bing search engines
  • Check the loading speed of your website
  • Check the mobile-friendliness of your website
  • Check your pagination and multilingual settings

Note: Directory submission, social bookmarking, article submission is not recommended off-page methods.

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SEO: Design & Layout

Search engines are very smart, but they are software, not human being who can read the content of their interest. So, if you make your site too complicated, then the search engine is not able to understand the content of your site correctly. Lastly, indexing would not be efficient, that may result in a low ranking for your website.

Guidelines for Creating Web Design

Here are a few guidelines that you should know before designing a webpage for your website.

  • Some expert believes that keyword density should be 5% and some say it should be 20%. Therefore, you should go with the average, which is 10 %.
  • JavaScript drop-down menus help you to stop spiders from crawling anything apart from your homepage. However, if you are still using it, you need to make sure that you should include text links at the bottom of your web page.
  • Don’t put anything in the page topic which is not fit according to the subject of your website.
  • Try to avoid Flash, Splash, Animated Gifs, etc. Unless it is absolutely vital for your website.

SEO Optimization Techniques

Here are some important SEO optimization techniques:

  • You should research keywords related to your business
  • Identify your competitors, utilize benchmarking techniques and identify the level of competition
  • Add descriptive title tags for each page
  • Use appropriate keywords in your content and internal hyperlinks
  • Use text links whenever it is possible in the content
  • Obtain inbound links from related websites
  • Learn more and more about the search engine marketing techniques
  • You should avoid JavaScript and Jquery
  • Minimizing Loading Time
  • Avoid Extensive use of Images Organized Navigation
  • Try to use web search on your website
  • Implement an equality link building campaign
  • Continue checking of rankings/or targeted keywords.
  • Leverage Quora to Indirectly Rank Your Content
  • Implement a quality link building campaign
  • Continues monitoring of rankings for targeted search terms
  • You should always look for adding Quality content

What is a Black hat and white hat SEO?

Here is some major difference between black hat vs. white hat SEO:

White Hat SEO

Black Hat SEO

White Hat SEO is techniques which comply with search engine guidelines are used to improve search engine rankings.

Black Hat SEO is a technique which is not approved by search engines are used to improve SEO.

You will never be penalized or not have any risk of de-indexing of your site.

This technique may ban your site, de-indeed or you may be penalized by search engines.

Focused on providing quality and relevant and highly engaging content to the users.

Don’t care about the quality content.

It is an ideal method for an organization who are looking for a long-term Investment.

An organization looking for a quick financial return uses black hat SEO methods.

It mainly focuses on optimum use of keywords in title, metatags, and body of content.

Keyword density is increased to get a higher search engine ranking.

Important Black-Hat SEO Techniques Are:

  • Cloaking – Displaying different results to search engines and users with the aim of manipulating Search Engine rankings.
  • Bulk acquisition of low-quality links in a short period of time.
  • Repeated keyword in a blog post to boost rankings for relevant target keywords or keyphrases.
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What is SEO Copywriting?

SEO copywriting is the method of writing text on a web page in such a way that it is readable for the user. It also targets specific search terms. It also aims to rank highly in the search engines for the targeted search terms.

Content marketing also helps you to optimizes other on-page elements for the specially targeted search terms. These include the title, meta description, keywords tags, headings, etc.

Why Is It Important to Have Quality Content?

Here are some reasons why quality content is absolutely essential for your website.

  • Duplicate content can be a low-quality indicator from a quality page point of view.
  • Boilerplate, which is mostly spun content, is another low-quality indicator.
  • Add something unique in your site, so other people suggest it to their friends.
  • Quality content inspires another webmaster to create a link of your site on their sites.
  • If your site visitor start trusting on your site and they look forward to the next content update and keep repeatedly visit your site.
  • Net users mostly click only that page whose content index look unique and interesting.

What is a Search Engine?

A search engine is an internet-based software which helps us to search an index of documents for a certain definition, phrase, or text. It is mostly used to refer to large web-based search engines that search through billions of pages on the internet.

How Does Search Engine Works?

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Search engine function in four different parts:

  • Crawling
  • Indexing
  • Relevancy
  • Retrieving results
  • Crawling – The process starts with crawler, which reads all the information from the webpage in the website.
  • Indexing: This method index your web page and its linked pages in search engine results.
  • Relevancy: In this next process algorithm, compute the relevancy of website pages in its index to the search string.
  • Retrieving Results: In this step, you will get the result of your web pages according to a relevant search query.
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Latest Google SEO Updates and Algorithm Changes

What Is Google Panda?

“Panda is an algorithm which mostly applied to sites overall and has become one of the most vital ranking signals. It measures the quality of a site. This update tells Google to take quality into account and ranks it accordingly.

Google Panda updated also aims to rate the quality of your pages and website. It is based on things about your site that Google can rate and recognized your algorithm.

What is Google Penguin?

Google Penguin is another algorithm update that was first announced on April 2012. The update was mainly aiming to

lower the search engine rankings of websites that breach Google’s Webmaster guidelines. This is mostly done by using various kinds of black-hat SEO techniques.

What is RankBrain?

RankBrain is another important machine learning-based search engine algorithm which helps Google to process search results to offers highly relevant search results for users.

RankBrain mainly aims to help Google to refine queries. However, it is also used to help rank web pages.

Important Google updates

  • Fred – SEO updated which checks low value and repeated content
  • Panda – Check duplicate or thin content
  • Penguin-Poor backlinks
  • Hummingbird – Search intent, than literal search
  • Pirate – This update checks software and digital media piracy and mobile-friendliness
  • Pigeon – Check for the preference of the local results

Recent Algorithm Changes

Algorithm changes in 2019 is centered around on reducing the effectiveness of old-school SEO techniques. An algorithm change is usually similar to ‘community service’ for the business impacted negatively.

If your pages were not designed according to recent white hat SEO methods, then Gooogle will identify this and lower your site rankings.

Google will continue to do so until you clean your pages up. However, if Google thinks your links are manipulative and using a spamming method, they want them cleaned up, too.

What is Mobile SEO?

Mobile SEO is a process of designing a website to make it suitable for viewing on mobile devices of different screen sizes which have lower bandwidth.

Apart from all the rules which are an application for the desktop website. However, you need to take some additional care while designing a website for mobile devices.

Important attributes for mobile-friendly websites are:

  • A good mobile website should have a responsive design
  • The contents of a mobile website should be readable without having to zoom the screen.
  • The mobile SEO friendly site should have appropriate fonts, colors, and layouts.
  • It should have buttons that can be easily interfaced with the help of your finger.
  • The mobile-optimized site should have important links which are displayed on the Home Page so that they get enough visibility.

Myths about SEO

Here, are some common myths about the SEO:

Myths

Reality

You can pay for traffic to get desired SEO result.

No, In fact, this type of strategy is coming under “black hat” technique, and it is highly recommended to not follow it in any way.

SEO is not that fast.

Yes, it is true as you need to option to get the desired result in the search engine ranking.

SEO is just about optimizing Google.

No, today, SEO is not just for Google anymore. There’s a number of different platforms like bing and yahoo, etc. It also depends on your business.

SEO is a difficult method.

No, that is not correct as once you understand SEO, it is not that hard.

SEO is not legal.

SEO is legitimate and normal if done in a “white hat” way. Today, lots of companies able to enhance their business by using the correct SEO method.

Advantages of SEO

Here, are important benefits\ pros of using SEO:

  • SEO is the easiest method which helps you to make your site visible
  • Various SEO techniques help you to get more traffic on your websites.
  • The most effective way for the branding of your product on Google.
  • Increase visibility on Search Engines.
  • Convert a local business into International Business.
  • SEO methods allow search engines to find out what each page is about and how it can use for users.

Disadvantages of SEO

Here are cons/drawbacks of using SEO :

  • SEO is a slow process, so sometimes it took months or years to get the desired result.
  • Not a very transparent process so there are plenty of things to consider for measuring it.
  • There are so many things which are not in your control, so it requires constant efforts & optimizations.
  • Combination of skills – tech + content + analytics