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How do search engines actually work? Well, there are so many websites and so much content on the internet that search engines need to use a system through which they can comb through different websites, and discover and understand the content on them. This is achieved using automated software known as spiders, crawlers, or bots.
These terms can be quite interchangeable and to a wide extent they do a similar job. But they do have marginally different functions:
There are three basic steps a search engine takes when searching for content: crawling, indexing, and ranking.
During the indexing stage, search engines use an algorithm to help them process and understand web information. The algorithm operates within a set of rules and it’s a unique formula, and search engines use this formula to determine the significance of each individual web page.
Part of Google’s algorithm is called RankBrain. RankBrain is a machine-learning artificial intelligence system that helps Google process some of its search results, in particular rare or one-of-a-kind queries. Machine learning is where a computer teaches itself how to do something, rather than being taught by humans or following programming.
RankBrain was not introduced as a new way for Google to rank search results; it is simply part of Google’s overall search algorithm, a computer program that’s used to sort through the billions of pages it knows about and find the ones deemed most relevant for particular queries.
All our SEO efforts are focused on rank. The higher you rank, the more organic traffic you’re going to drive through to your site. It is also important to consider that factors such as location, language, and context will also effect whether a certain webpage ranks or not.
Aside from rank, there are a couple of other metrics that are important to monitor when optimizing websites:
Shane Lyons is head of Search & Analytics at Mediaworks, an award-winning media and communications agency. He has been working in Digital both in Ireland and abroad for the last 8 years and now specializes in SEO and Analytics.
Data protection regulations affect almost all aspects of digital marketing. Therefore, DMI has produced a short course on GDPR for all of our students. If you wish to learn more about GDPR, you can do so here:
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ABOUT THIS DIGITAL MARKETING MODULE
This module introduces the key concepts for setting up SEO and the elements to consider before beginning an SEO project. It outlines the key technical elements you need to consider when implementing SEO, how to implement on-page SEO, and how to implement SEO in a mobile environment. It explains how a business can improve its SEO strategy and local SEO. It also demonstrates how to measure and report on the effectiveness of your SEO campaign and the key SEO metrics to measure.
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