Thursday, March 05, 2009

Search Engines and Rankings For Online Sellers

What are Search Engines and Rankings

A search engine is a program that searches documents for specified keywords and returns a list of the documents where the keywords were found. Although search engine is really a general class of programs, the term is often used to specifically describe systems like Google, Alta Vista and Excite that enable users to search for documents on the World Wide Web and USENET newsgroups.

Typically, a search engine works by sending out a spider to fetch as many documents as possible. Another program, called an indexer, then reads these documents and creates an index based on the words contained in each document. Each search engine uses a proprietary algorithm to create its indices such that, ideally, only meaningful results are returned for each query.

Search engines rank your website. So, how do crawler-based search engines go about determining relevancy, when confronted with hundreds of millions of web pages to sort through? They follow a set of rules, known as an algorithm. Exactly how a particular search engine's algorithm works is a closely-kept trade secret. However, all major search engines follow the general rules below.

One of the the main rules in a ranking algorithm involves the location and frequency of keywords on a web page. Call it the location/frequency method, for short. Pages with the search terms appearing in the HTML title tag are often assumed to be more relevant than others to the topic.

Search engines will also check to see if the search keywords appear near the top of a web page, such as in the headline or in the first few paragraphs of text. They assume that any page relevant to the topic will mention those words right from the beginning.

Frequency is the other major factor in how search engines determine relevancy. A search engine will analyze how often keywords appear in relation to other words in a web page. Those with a higher frequency are often deemed more relevant than other web pages.

For more about search engines and rankings and what online sellers need to do to improve their page rankings, see our Squidoo Lens at: Search Engines And Rankings

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