To create websites that are optimized for Google, Bing etc, you’ll need to understand the basics of how search engines work. Search engines have several facets that you should be familiar with, and you’ll need to know the meaning of some key terms associated with the world of SEO. The following sections explain the basics of how google, bing etc work.
Search engines are powered by spiders–software that’s designed to search for words throughout the Web. Spiders aren’t physical creatures, nor are they robots. They’re programs or applications. Spiders are sent to web servers that are widely used. They go through pages on the server, following each link they find. This gets the spiders all over the Web very quickly. Spiders can search (or crawl) through hundreds of pages per second.
As the spiders go through the Web, they grab words on every web page, along with the context in which the words are used. For example, a spider could find the word math in a page’s title, in a heading, or in a link. Based on the context of a word, the word is given more weight or relevance. As an example, words in a page’s title get more weight than a random word used only once on the page.
After the spiders capture the text and context data, that information is encoded (or compressed) and stored for you (or anyone) to find by performing a web search on sites you are likely to be very familiar with, such as Google, Yahoo!, and MSN.
Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs)
Search engine results pages, also known as SERPs, are the pages that show up when you do a web search on a site such as Google. When you perform a web search, pages show up based on how the information in your keyword query (the word(s) or phrase you’re searching for) matches the information indexed by spiders (and the weight or relevance of said information) for that particular query. Figure 1-1 shows an example of a SERP for the keyword query socks.
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