The Anatomy of a Search Engine

With all the talk regarding Google’s utilization of artificial intelligence to interpret never-before-seen search queries we thought: what better time to talk about the nuts and bolts of search engines? Here at Lessing-Flynn we are often asked by clients, “How do search engines work?” It is an excellent question with a very complicated answer…

Search engines, like any business, work diligently to provide their customers with a quality product. Just like a deli attempting to make a tasty sandwich, Google and other search engines strive to provide quality information. If you do a search and Google does not display what you are looking for, you are likely to leave and go elsewhere. Google does not want that.seblog_8543a3b97dab3

Stay with me, we are going to get nerdy for a paragraph. Each search engine has an algorithm of ranking factors to help determine what websites appear when, for example, Karen in Seattle searches for “pizza delivery”. These algorithms consist of over two hundred factors including simple things like website content and meta tags to technical aspects like website structure and coding. Search engine “spiders” crawl and measure websites based off the algorithm so when Karen searches, Google looks in the vault and displays in order what the algorithm has deemed the most relevant websites offering pizza delivery in Seattle. (Do this search and you will see a collection of pizza restaurants and restaurant reviews like Yelp – the algorithm works!)

How can your business reach its full potential on the search engines? Optimize. Optimize. Optimize. There are free (Google Webmaster Tools) and paid (MOZ) services that will crawl your website and provide suggestions. Or you can leave it to the professionals and hire a SEO (search engine optimizer) like us!

The days of the phonebook are gone (RIP Yellow Pages) and search engines are here to stay, getting even stronger with artificial intelligence. Is your website built to please the algorithm?