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Search Engine Basics for the Online Business Owner

Jan 18, 2008
Every online business owner benefits from understanding the basics of search engine results. Search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Windows Live Search and Ask are services that index the millions of pages of information on the Internet and categorize them according to topics. This allows a search engine to recall relevant information when a user types a search phrase into the search box. The search engine displays the results of the search in numbered order, with the most relevant pages listed first. This is called the Search Engine Results Page or SERP.

Search Engine Indexing

The Internet is an ever-changing structure of information, with millions of pages of information added or changed every day. The process of indexing such a structure is too tedious and complex to be performed by people. Each search engine creates its own program that continually scans the Internet and compiles an index of the information found. These programs are often called spiders, web crawlers or robots.


Each search engine spider follows a complex series of algorithms created by the search engine programmers. The search engine formulates these algorithms to ensure that a spider indexes information in a meaningful way. For instance, when a user types "diabetes" into a search box, the returned information should discuss the diagnosis, treatment, causes and research pertaining to diabetes--it should not discuss women's fashions. This is called indexing by relevance.

How Indexing Occurs

Google, the world's most popular search engine, uses spiders to crawl the entire known Internet once every 28 days. It follows special links from one website to another and searches its own database of listed websites, hunting for new information. Google creates its own database of information that contains a copy of every page of information it crawls and presents this information to the user in the form of a cached search result. Users have the option of viewing this saved version of a website or seeing the most current version of a site by visiting the selected website's server.

Recent theories suggest that it is not necessary to submit your website manually to each search engine's database. In fact, it is better to let a search engine find your website through links from popular websites or those with similar content to your own.

Why Are SERPs Important?

Because businesses that rank highest on a SERP are likely to get more traffic, these top 10 spots for any given topic are very desirable. A process called Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, helps website owners structure their information in a way that is search engine-friendly, which in turn increases their relevance for a given topic and boosts their website's ranking on a SERP.

Search Engine Optimization

Because search engines perpetually use newly-created algorithms, SEO has become a complex and evolving process. Many website owners resort to any tactics available to gain an edge over the competition, even deceiving visitors and spiders when possible. They attempt to gain higher SERP rankings without providing relevant information, or they try to improve their rankings by stuffing their websites full of search terms. For this reason, the algorithms of a search engine have built-in systems to weed out these dishonest tactics and present only relevant search results to the user. Search engines constantly alter their algorithms, and these changes are closely guarded secrets.

Search Engine Competition

Each search engine competes with other search engines for users, just as online businesses compete with each other for customers. This creates a fierce rivalry to provide better results and services for users as they surf the Internet. As a result, various search engines may display the SERP for a given search term, or keyword, in a different order. A website may rank #1 on Google for the term "Internet consultant," but rank #5 for the same term on Yahoo and #30 on Windows Live Search. SEO can often correct this inconsistency.

Search engine optimization is a highly competitive and profitable industry. Online business owners who understand search engine basics are better prepared to position their websites for increased profits.
About the Author
Mike has been online since 2004 building Multiple Streams of Income. He can show you 3 simple steps to build your downline to massive numbers. http://www.profit-unlimited.com/info/l/dls2_one. Allow Mike to introduce you to the #1 Work from Home Business. Email sfi_prospect@getresponse.com, confirm the email and receive bonus ebooks, a rebrandable downline builder and free downline building website.
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