When I started marketing and promoting websites back in 1994, Google didn’t exist, the search engines of that time were Excite, Altavista, Lycos, WebCrawler and LookSmart. Yahoo was just beginning and like most of these ‘search engines’, it was more like a directory.
They did not have the type of search facility as the search engines we know today such as Google.
Being mindful that there were not many websites in 1994 and none had even considered curating and collating websites. They all had a ‘submit URL’ application and were often manually added, taking months and months, even then, it could take 6 months to a year before being listed.
With no real search facility you had to keep clicking links to eliminate other websites, it could take ten minutes to find a restaurant in your own town and if none were listed, you got no results.
Imagine walking into a public library, instead of seeing all the books indexed in perfect order and categories, well written signs and even a librarian, all you had in this ‘cuber space; library are ‘books’ (being websites) floating in meaningless directions, all over the place. A confusing mass of long tangled website addresses.
Thankfully, throughout the 21 years in this business, I have seen incredible progress. Today we have two major search engines, Google and Bing, although not limited to those two.
All search engines have two distinctive jobs: sending out spiders and robots to crawl and build upon their resective index,. The main objection being to provide search engine users with a relevant list of the websites that they have determined relevant to the search.
The World Wide Web Is Like The London Underground or NY Subway.
For the search engines to be fit for purpose they need a way to “crawl” that map and find all the stations along the route, The tracks are links.
Links provide the search engines’ automated robots,with a tracks to follow. These ‘robots’ are also called “crawlers”, “spiders,” and “bots”.
Scale up that map, not just London, New York, Hong Kong etc but the entire works, this massive map enables the robots to reach the trillions of online documents.
If your website doesn’t have the correct methods of being found, poor or broken links, the search engines will not find it – it is that simple. If the search engines do find these webpages, note I am saying ‘web pages’ not websites because search engines will decipher the code from each page and store the information in their databases.
Gone are the days of waiting months for one page to be indexed, today billions of web pages can be accessed in a fraction of a second.
It is easy to imaging Google or Bing to have a gigantic computer to store these billions of URLs, the fact is, they have datacenters all over the world. Each hosting thousands of computers processing massive quantities of data at super high speeds..
So someone performs a search, their local datacenter is called upon and despite the fact that Google or Bing will crawl through billions of files to determine the relevance and popularity to provide near instant results.
What is relevance and popularity?
Whist I refer to Google a lot, this is because it is the main search engine, closely followed by Bing and relevance relates to a lot more than the right words on a page that was found with a similar search term.
The old fashioned search engines simply looked for a matching word that looked like the one searched for and it was very easy to manipulate search engine rankings by adding keywords into a website even though they were not relevant.
Let’s say ‘cute kittens’ was an extremely popular keyword or search term and a particular website sold lingerie. Using a variety of methods, ‘cute kittens’ could be embedded with the lingerie website and stand a very good chance of being found when someone searched for ‘cute kittens’.
Thankfully the search engine giants like Google and Bing employ some very savvy engineers who develop smarter methods of matching results to the search term.
Gone are the days of tricking search engines, indeed there are hundreds of elements in the search engine’s algorithms that influence genuine relevance.
Popularity plays an important part, so the more popular a website, webpage, or even PDF document etc, the higher the value of the content. It works like this; if the lingerie website had good quality unique content in its own right, it does not need ‘cute kittens’ to attract traffic – the quality of the website will make it popular.
So we have two factors (among many) withing the search engine criteria; Popularity and Relevance.
If your website isn’t popular – we need to make it so!
Would you like to discuss your SEO? Call Petter Yexley on 01727 825 999