TrainingSearch Engine Marketing What is a Search Engine?

What is a Search Engine?

Search Engines are not exactly new, they have been around for some time now.

The first search engine wasn’t even Google, there were search engines around before Google like WebCrawler, Alta Vista and Lycos.

Yahoo is one of the best known internet portals from the mid-nineties, but contrary to what many people think Yahoo wasn’t a Search Engine, it was an Index.

Search Engines, Indexes and Directories

In the early days of the world wide web content was hard to find, unless you followed a link from page to page or knew the exact address it was hard to find information.

Indexes like Yahoo were created to categorise the web’s content, it was a human powered list of websites ordered into categories, the clear and obvious problem with this is the Internet has enjoyed exponential growth making it impossible for a human powered index to keep up with the amount of web sites or web pages online.

Directories were popular for a time, they would regularly show up well in Google’s search engine results pages, you would get specialist directories for niches and directories for geographical areas, but in reality they didn’t really add any value.  The aim of search engines is to cut out middle men like directories and send you directly to the content you require.

Search engines are largely automated, they use technology rather than human power and are infinitely scalable to keep pace with the growth of the world wide web.

How do Search Engines Work?

Search Engine Results PagesSearch Engines use spiders to crawl the web and index content.  This content is then stored in massive data centres, so when you come to a search engine like Google and make a search query, the search engine will interrogate its database and return the results it deems most relevant, based on it proprietary algorithm.  These results are called SERPS (search engine results pages)

Search Engine Marketing largely focuses on getting both paid and organic placements within these SERPS.

What is the aim of Search Engines?

This is a very important question.  If we want to work with search engines to give their customers what they want, we need to understand the motivation of Google and other search engines.

Essentially Google’s mission is to provide the most relevant results to every search query for that specific user.  Therefore, our search engine marketing should also focus on bringing value to a customer.  We could work against the likes of Google, but it is far easier to work with it and give it the content that it needs to service its customers.

Search Engines have revolutionised our world, all of the World’s information is at our fingertips.  No longer do we need to spend hours pawing over dusty books in a library, we can get the answer to pretty much anything we need in about the time it takes to blink.

Next:  How is Search Marketing Different?