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Search Engine Primer
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What is a search engine?

Content searching services such as Google, Yahoo, MSN, AOL and are widely described as Search Engines. The service they provide is cataloguing the content of internet websites around the world and making that content searchable for you. Google catalogs more than 8 billion web pages on the internet these days, enough content to keep you busy 24 hours a day for about 500 years.

So, the search engine is the shortcut to finding what you need on the internet. It is a remarkable service that most internet users take more or less for granted.

How Do Search Engines Work?
Search engine companies have all developed proprietary software programs that continually scour the internet looking for new content to catalog. Usually they “crawl” the internet in off-peak hours, requesting pages and reviewing page content just as you or I would.

They then bring that collected data back to central repositories where massive amounts of computing power and marvelously adaptive software determine the true nature of its content and for what search terms the content should be featured.

Search Engine Trick or Treat
Most of us know someone, who knows someone who knows how to “trick” the search engines. Don’t. Search engine software is constantly being revised to identify and block cheap tricks. Most of the majors now actually move you DOWN the list when they detect programming tricks or attempts to deceive.

If you want to rank high with search engines, you have to want the same result they do: satisfied web searchers.

Search Engines Compete With Each Other
Whatever search engine you use, bear in mind each is actually a for-profit business. Each search engine is different, each has its own business model and methods and, most importantly, each search engine has its own technique for cataloguing the internet. You can’t treat them all the same, no one tactic works for all. You have to take the time to get to know what makes each one of them tick, what makes them special. And then feed them your story in the format they prefer. That is true search engine management or optimization.

When we see promos for “Submit your website to 500 search engines,” we have to laugh. Don’t do this. Your content needs to be packaged in a way that meets your business objectives, and the business objectives of the search engines with whom you hope to succeed.

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