How search engines work

Search engines work by finding content and storing it in a big database known as an index. Think of this as a library, but one that stores web pages instead of books. When you run a search, the search engine finds and returns matching results from the index. Finally, complex processes known as search algorithms rank the results.

Shri Ganesh Satta King

So, when you search for something on Google, you’re not searching the entire web. You’re only searching the pages in Google’s index.

This matters for one simple reason:

If you’re not in Google’s index, you can’t rank in their search results.

Google builds its index from two main sources:

  1. Sitemaps – A sitemap is a file listing all the important pages on your website that you want search engines to index. You can submit your sitemap to Google to tell it that your pages exist.
  2. Links from known webpages – Google already has billions of pages in its index. If you get a link from one of those pages, Google can “follow” the link to discover your page.

Known web pages aren’t always on other websites. Google can discover new pages on your site by “following” links from known pages on your site.

For example, let’s say Google already has your blog homepage in its index. If you add an internal link to a new blog post from there, Google can “follow” that link to find the post.

Shri Ganesh Satta King

Keyword research

Keyword research is the process of finding what your customers are searching for. It’s important because you won’t get discovered if people aren’t searching for the keywords you target.

Unfortunately, Google doesn’t exactly make this information accessible. So the best way to find keywords is with a keyword research tool like Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer. To use it, enter one or a few broad topics related to your industry, hit search, then go to one of the keyword ideas reports. You’ll see the keywords’ monthly search volumes and a few other SEO metrics.

Shri Ganesh Satta King

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