Online Marketing by an Undergraduate


making sense of marketing one post at a time

Introduction to Search Engine Operation and its Relevance to Search Engine Optimization

Before I started reading Rand Fishkin’s Beginner’s Guide to SEO, not knowing how search engines worked made learning SEO unnecessarily difficult for me. When I gained just a little knowledge of search engines, many difficulties melted away. Download his guide to learn more.

Fishkin breaks down search engine optimization into four steps: crawling the web, indexing web pages, processing queries, and finally, ranking results.

  1. Search engines visit web pages–called crawling the web–with the goal of indexing these web pages in a database containing billions of other pages.
  2. The search engine stores every indexed web page in a database that can search for, and retrieve, millions of web pages in FRACTIONS OF A SECOND. The intellectual power behind a search engine database boggles my mind. I think it’s nuts, but that’s just me.
  3. Every time a person queries a search engine, the search engine pulls out every web page from its database containing the appropriate keywords.
  4. Having pulled out each web page, the search engine uses an algorithm to rank each page from most relevant to the query to the least. Here, SEO enters the picture.

At the end of the day, SEO is about communication. A website’s optimized keywords tells search engines, “this is who I am. Spread the word.”  Like having brand equity, a good online business has keyword equity. The stronger a business’ keyword brand, the better its search engine ranking for those keywords. Just like having a strong brand attracts more customers, so does having high ranking keywords attract more visitors.

What other questions do you have about search engines? What do you think is essential to understanding search engines? Did you like this post and want to know more about search engines? Leave a comment and let me know, thanks!


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June 2009
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