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How Do Search Engines Work?

We all know what google is, however many of us don’t exactly understand how search engines work. Understanding how search engines work involves diving into a complex system that helps us find information on the internet.

This is part 1 of the Understanding SEO series I plan on completing in my free time. You should go in order, however feel free to jump around as you please.

Understanding How Search Engines Work​

Website Crawlers

Search engines are remarkable tools that comb through billions of pages on the internet to evaluate countless factors in order to determine which content or page is most relevant to your search query. This process might seem complex, but it’s facilitated through two primary actions: Crawling and Indexing.

Crawling refers to the act of visiting a page or site. Search engines deploy bots, known as crawlers or spiders, to navigate the web and discover new or updated content. Once a page is crawled, it is then processed and analyzed.

Indexing is the subsequent step where the analyzed data from crawling is stored in the search engine’s database. The information is then categorized and ranked based on its relevance and quality. Think of a search engine as a massive book, with every piece of content on the internet being added to its index page. In this index, each site is ranked or categorized according to its relevance to various search queries.

By understanding crawling and indexing, you can better grasp how search engines work to provide the most pertinent results for your search.

How to make your website crawling better?​

When a web crawler or bot visits your website to understand your pages, content, and niche for indexing in search engines based on your search category and originality, this process is known as crawling. Improving site crawling can be achieved by adhering to the following guidelines:

1. Creating user-friendly URLs

A URL should be simple and easy to understand. Google prefers that users can quickly grasp what the page is about just by looking at the URL. To achieve this, your URL should be readable and free from numbers or underscores.

For example, if you have a website offering services like SEO and AdWords, your URL should include the service name and type. Avoid unnecessary capitalizations in your words.

Avoid URLs like this:

Use URLs like this:

So for the correct URL above this page should be targeting the keyword: Best Website Management Service

2. Good Website Structure

The primary goal of search engine crawlers is to index your website pages appropriately within the search engine results pages (SERPs). To enhance website crawling, it is essential to maintain or develop a well-organized site structure.

When examining some of the most popular websites, you will notice that site links or categories are presented in a hierarchical manner. Take Amazon as an example: upon searching, you will find all the latest deals or top visited pages displayed alongside the main website URL at the top.

In the realm of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), a site’s structure plays a crucial role in the ranking and indexing of its pages. A well-structured website aligns with many ranking factors and helps achieve organic results!

3. Website Speed

Website speed is a critical factor in the technical realm of SEO, playing a vital role in how Google crawls and ranks your site. Even though improving site speed often requires minimal effort, it can yield significant results quickly.

Google’s crawlers visit websites to verify proper alignment and compliance with guidelines. If your site’s load time is excessively high, these crawlers may skip many of your pages, leading to lower search rankings. Essentially, slow load times can make your site appear less valuable to Google’s algorithms. While this might seem surprising, speed is indeed a crucial element in SEO.

To determine whether your website speed is satisfactory or needs improvement, you can use the Google PageSpeed Insights tool. This tool will help identify which aspects of your CSS or JavaScript need adjustments, allowing you to enhance your site’s performance effectively.

This speed can be improved by multiple things such as using WebP Formats, keeping images under 1MB if possible, utilizing Gzip compression, Reducing redirects, and tons more. There are literally hundreds of plugins that help your website pass this speed insight.

More about this in a different part.

Learning About Search Intents

When people go through a search engine search they always have some type of intent. A reason they are typing into google, something they want to accomplish when searching. For example you were probably looking into how search engines work if you are on this article. Essentially, it’s about understanding why someone is searching for something. To get a clearer picture of this concept, it’s important to recognize that there are three main types of intents.

Informational: Intent occurs when a search engine answers your query by providing information on a specific topic. This type of intent is the most prevalent, accounting for 50-80% of all searches, where users are primarily looking for information.

Transactional: This kind of search intent differs significantly from informational SERP intent. When we make such queries, the results typically focus on ‘purchase,’ ‘price,’ and ‘comparison,’ because the search engine interprets our intent as wanting to buy the product or service in question.

Navigational: Understanding this type of intent is both common and essential, especially for local SEO. For instance, if you search for Car Dealership,” the results will display nearby car dealerships without specifying any particular one. This kind of SERP intent is particularly useful when your business relies on a physical location and you want to attract local customers.

Before diving into keyword research for your business, it is crucial to understand the search intent behind your target audience’s queries. Many industries invest in extensive research before launching any marketing campaign. The adage “knowledge is power” holds true here, you can’t make significant strides without first laying out a clear path.

Always identify the type of search intent and then proceed with your keyword research or content creation. Each word plays a vital role in SEO, and catering to what your users are specifically searching for is the key to ranking well in search engine results pages (SERPs).

For example, instead of using generic terms like “SEO Service” or “SEO Selling” in your titles or descriptions, refine them to be more relevant and aligned with user intent. This approach not only improves your SEO efforts but also ensures that your content resonates with your audience.

How to Use Google to Rank Your Website?​

Understanding how to rank on Google can be complex, and while I could elaborate on various aspects, it often leads to more questions. So, who can best explain the essentials of SEO? The answer is simple: Google itself. Since Google is the authority responsible for ranking your website, we should look to it for guidance.

Many experts, including myself, emphasize the importance of adhering to Google’s SEO guidelines. However, navigating all the factors can be daunting. To simplify this, here is a single resource that provides comprehensive and up-to-date information on what Google expects from your website. This source will keep you informed about all the latest developments in Search Engine Optimization.


You will discover multiple strategies to resolve problems impeding your website’s growth. Additionally, it provides insights into Google’s operational mechanisms.

Believe me! The best knowledge source out there, and your competitors might already be using it. Plus, Google gives you all the info you need. Just make sure to use it wisely to improve your website.

Google offers a wealth of resources that, when used effectively, can significantly enhance your website. Two of the most essential tools you should utilize are Google Analytics and Google Search Console. Both tools are easy to implement and navigate. However, despite widespread daily use, many users overlook their importance or miss out on key features that could provide substantial benefits.

Using GA4 to Better User Experience

Analytics Tracking

Unlike Universal Analytics, GA4 is event-based, meaning everything is tracked as an event. To track conversions, you need to define the events that matter most to your business. Common examples include:

  • Purchase Completed
  • Newsletter Sign-Up
  • Form Submission
  • Button Click

You can define these events using the GA4 interface or by implementing the `gtag.js` code in your website or app.

Once your conversion tracking is set up, you can leverage the data to improve user experience in several ways:

  • Analyze User Flow: Track user paths to complete key actions and optimize any barriers causing drop-offs.
  • Segment Your Audience: Divide users based on behavior and conversions to tailor content and marketing.
  • A/B Testing: Use conversion data to test different versions of landing pages and calls-to-action for better engagement.
  • Personalize User Experience: Deliver personalized experiences based on user properties and behavior patterns.

Using Search Console to drive traffic

I’ve been using Search Console to identify faults in my website and track metrics such as CTR, impressions, and views. However, I’ve often overlooked the crucial information Google provides about how my website is performing in search engines.

Fixing issues is a good step forward in SEO, but leveraging the available data can bring immense traffic and additional opportunities to improve your site further.

Google Analytics used to offer a feature called “Keyword Data,” which has since been discontinued. However, Search Console can still provide similar data, showing how your pages perform for specific keywords. This can save time and offer better insights compared to blindly conducting keyword research and adding them to my site. Here’s what you need to do:

Open Search Console, and under the Overview section, you’ll find an option labeled “Performance.” Ensure that specific metrics are selected before proceeding any further.

You’ll then be prompted with choices for this report. You can choose any, but in my case, I select “Queries.” This will display all the key terms people use to find my website. You can see everything in one place without changing any metrics.

There are several benefits to using Google Analytics and Search Console. Additionally, there are many third-party tools offering more functionalities. While you can opt for any of these, always remember that any agency providing extensive details is sourcing information from Google. So, why spend money on tools when Google provides these insights for free?

Next up we will be looking into Keyword Research and how to properly conduct it. Stay tuned!

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