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How Search Engines Work

A search engine is a constantly updated index of pages on the web.


Search engines have "spiders" that crawl the web looking for new pages. The spiders start with popular pages and follow links to other pages, creating an ever larger network. While crawling the web, spiders look at all of the significant words on each page to get a sense of what the page is about. Using a search algorithm, a search engine ranks all of the pages in its network for various keywords and phrases. 


Nobody knows the exact algorithms that search engines like Google and Bing use to rank pages. It's clear, however, that certain things—e.g. content, titles, alt text, and inbound links—are very important factors. 


What search engines look for


Tactics to avoid

  • Keyword stuffing
  • Using irrelevant keywords
  • Images with text; Google doesn't recognize text on images
  • Pages with little or no content
  • Pages with duplicate content
  • Participating in link schemes
  • Participating in affiliate programs without adding value
  • Hidden text or links

Improve your Google ranking

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