How search engines operate and how people interact with them

How search engines operate and how people interact with them


I’m Jamie Harding, a Digital Marketing Apprentice at Netmatter. I’m here learning about how companies market them selves and the different techniques they use to achieve this. One of these ways is search engine optimisation. I have conducted research into how companies optimise their web pages and how they rank higher in search engines. This is what I have understood so far.    


A two second delay in search results can cause dissatisfaction for the user. Search engines must operate in a way so that results appear instantaneously and the results are most relevant to the users search. Search engines have two functions to achieve this.

Crawling and building an index

Do you wonder how your webpage ranking goes up and how people find your site? Crawling means following a path. The search engine will crawl through your page using the best path available. The best possible paths are the links that you have on this page. The links allow the crawlers to reach the billions of documents on the web, indexing is important as it will add your webpage to Google search. Getting your webpage ranking higher is very important; one way of doing this is by inserting parts of your blog or website into the index instead of unnecessary tags and categories.

Providing answers and relevant pages

Search engines provide relevance and popularity, they assume that the more popular a site is the more valuable the information it contains must be. However, this doesn’t mean it will be relevant for all people. Relevance is determined by mathematical equations and algorithms, these algorithms sort the relevant from the not relevant. The sites are then ranked in order of popularity, these algorithms have influences on them such as page level keyword and content based features, domain level key word usage and engagement and traffic/query data.


 Green bar charts with a blue background with a key down the side

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Getting success

Cloaking? Making your page for search engines? No key words? To get success Google recommends the following: make your page primarily for users not search engines, don’t conduct the practice of cloaking, present the same information to the users and the search engine and finally, use key words in your URL and make them human friendly. Finally, make sure your websites are rich with content and information; for Bing users, Bing recommends similar strategies to gain success along with key words and rich information, don’t display text inside an image and ensure your URL is clean with key words.

Green sign on a brown pole with a sky blue background and white clouds

Interaction with search engines

Your target market and audience is key to bringing success. Once grasping this idea you will reach and keep users, you need to know the three main queries that people search for; by knowing these three queries you can build your website for the user and not for the search engine.

  • “Do” Transactional queries. An example of this would be purchasing an item online or going to watch a video or listen to a song.
  • “Know” Informational queries. An example of this would be searching information on a topic such as your favourite artist or places to visit in London.  
  • “Go” Navigation queries. An example of this going to a particular place on the internet such as a websites homepage.

You want your users to be satisfied when they land on your site, search engines have the responsibility to provide relevant results. It’s up to you to make sure your information is relevant to your target market and audience.

The power of Search Engine Optimisation

Is SEO worth your time? I will leave it open to debate but here are some facts and figures on searches made: this information was conducted in 2011 by comScore. Google led the US searched market with 65.4% of searches conducted. Yahoo came second with 17.2% and Microsoft with 13.4%. In America 20.3 billion searches are conducted each month, again most are on Google. (13.4 billion.) 59% of all adult internet users use search engines every day. These figures show the power of SEO and that it is important to invest time and money into it. Here are 3 f my favourite quotes from the report;

“Search is very, very popular. Growing strong at 20% a year, it reaches nearly every American and billions of people around the world”

“Search drives an incredible amount of both offline and on line economic activity”

“Higher rankings in the first few results are critical to visibility”.