Despite many years of search engine magic, we still have quite a few people who are in the dark about how they work. Right now our primary search engines are Google, and to a much lesser degree, Bing. Then even farther down the percentages are engines such as Yahoo! and Duck Duck Go.
They all follow certain basic rules, even though the methodology of the search engines is a little different. They use algorithms to calculate how your Web site comes up in the results. The algorithms vary from each other, but the principles remain the same. Here are the basics of what you need to know:
- You are in competition with all the other Web sites- It is you against them. The search engines compare your site to their sites and you position in the results depend on how closely you match the terms used in the search query.
- The search engines only know what you tell them- If your site is for your business, say an auto repair shop, but you have references in the site to political topics, your site will come up as a political site, probably! Make sure you know what your site is supposed to be about and stick to that topic. The search engines review your text, blogs, photos, and so on so keep it targeted.
- Your site is like fish- You have to keep it fresh. If you don’t keep working on your site and your competition works on theirs, you are likely to be lower on the results than they will be.
- It isn’t a secret, sort of- Although the actual algorithms are top secret, how to work with them is not. Google tells you what you need to know. You can also check out any number of Web sites for information and tips. Here are a few: