What's a Search Engine?
Why, you know, those sites which you go online to search for "stuff". You type in a word or words and the results come out, hopefully with the top results all relevant. Think of them as someone who goes around the Internet, checking the websites and content for you and then providing you with the results as and when you need it. Modern search engines are portals for finding relevant information on the Internet.
How they work?
We are not going into the details here but generally they consist of a few main parts – search bots (spiders), database to store the indexed sites and the algorithm for results placement.
A simple explanation of their functions:
Search bots crawl the Internet and collect information from websites.
Then it stores them into their database or cache .
The Search Engine then "arranges" these collected information from the database in terms of importance depending on their algorithm .
Why are Search Engine important?
Because there are billions of websites out there, covering millions and millions of subjects and topics, it is impossible for anyone to find their relevant sites without them. Seriously, the Internet is a mess. It's a messy unusable collection of websites from different parts of the world without any proper way of arrangement or interlink at all. It's like searching for a needle in a haystack, blindfolded and handcuffed. Search Engines try to arrange these websites in such a way that it becomes usable for the causal surfer. So why is this important to you as a webmaster? Because your site is in this haystack, and without search engines, nobody (else) can FIND your site only you. But what's the point of creating a website only have yourself as the visitor?
Search engines drive traffic to your site. But traffic alone is one thing. These traffic are targeted . What does targeted means? It simply means that your visitors are the ones looking for information related to your site. So if your site is about history books, what type of visitors do you want visiting your site? People looking for software? People looking for medical advice on constipation? Or would you prefer those looking for more information on history? Yes, search engine is indeed powerful. Targeted traffic is a webmaster's wet dream. Whether you are selling a service or a product, or whether you are providing information on something, you can not lose with targeted traffic.
Looking at the number of Search engine users , some of what are your potential visitors, it is kind of easy to persude you to realize the importance of working with Search Engines. If you can get top rankings in the search engines, you'll be seeing a huge increase in the number of visitors to your site searching for your content.
Search Engines are like free advertisements. FREE as in really free. A search engine does not charge you anything for it to display the link to your site similar to those advertisements you can find on other websites. Yes, free targeted traffic! Do you really need more persuasion?
Okay Mr Search Engine Whore, you win, now what?
Your job as a webmaster is to HELP Search engines do their job, which is to deliver relevant information to their users. To do that, you have to make your site attractive to search bots by optimizing it for search engines. We call it Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
Although practicing good SEO and getting good results in the Search Engines require some hardwork and effort, I believe that it is more than worth it. Practicing good SEO is all about getting search bots to your site, making sure your site content is being collected correctly, getting the search engine to see the your content is relevant to a particular keyword and getting other sites to link to you. Nothing more.
You can find a lot of SEO basics and tips on the internet. It is important to follow GOOD and clean SEO techniques and tips . Do not try to trick Search Engines or you risk getting banned by them. Search Engines are providing a valuable service, just stick to the guidelines.