The Internet is vast and search results can be intimidating. As a site owner, it’s easy to wonder how people will find your site. Making your website visible to those searching for it can be complex, but learning the basics is well worth your time. To start out, we recommend that you learn the fundamentals of how Google and similar search engines work.
Google has created an index — like the back of your history textbook — that includes more websites and pages than we can imagine. To create this, Google “crawls” web pages, moving from link to link, taking inventory of the web’s content. Then, it organizes this content by keywords, images, videos, and other forms of data.
When someone searches for your site or content related to it, the search is put into algorithms, or codes, written by Google developers. These codes assess page data using a variety of factors including how recent the content is, the prevalence of keywords, and the user’s geographical location. Because millions of pages might be relevant to a search, Google relies on those details to identify the most relevant pages.
Check out this simple explanation that Google created. Their breakdown of how search works explains:
- How Google searches and organizes pages and websites
- How Google categorizes and ranks your site
- Why it’s important to keep up with maintenance and security
- What goes on in the background between your site content and search engines
After scrolling through the story, check out the more in-depth explanations of processes like crawling and indexing, algorithms and fighting spam that explain how search works. Don’t worry — these posts are written in plain English. Once you understand what is happening with your site when and after we launch it, you can better understand how people find your site when they search.
Since Google Analytics is so widely used and is relatively easy to set up (and free!), we always encourage clients to use it once their website launches. You can find interesting data about your site’s audience, how often people browse, what pages they’re visiting the most, and then use this data to assess what traction you’re getting over time.
Questions? Just ask!