Back in the days when Google was in its infancy, the only meaningful considerations when indexing pages was the words on the page and the number of them. Over the years, Google has grown to become the industry standard, providing tools to site owners and making their ranking algorithm far more complex than ever before.
Below we’ll look at some of the ways this has developed, the factors involved, and how it is done.
Meta tags were also a factor, allowing page owners a quick way to let search engines know what the page was about. However, this could allow a site owner to use a meta tag that was misleading, making their page rank higher even though the content wasn’t relevant. For this reason, a search engine would exclude pages where the meta tag and content didn’t match. The meta tag can also be used to run the Robot Exclusion Protocol, which tells search engines crawling a page to leave it alone, as there are some websites, such as multiplayer games, where the bots used can unintentionally interfere with the pages.
An Arachnid Theme
Naming the most heavily used part of the Internet the World Wide Web seemed to start a trend of giving names an arachnid flavor. Bots called spiders are used to crawl the web indexing pages as they go. These spiders were able to keep 300 connections at a time open and initially, Google had three of them running continuously. At its peak, it was running four spiders and between them, they were indexing 100 pages per second.
An adaptation of this kind of bot is now used by private businesses to keep on top of their own SEO efforts, their competitors, and all the links and pages they rely on for their own search engine rankings. These can be referred to as an SEO crawler tool.
Indexing the Data
After the web pages have been crawled and all the data has been collected for the relevant ranking factors, this is then indexed and encoded. It must be indexed in a way that makes it easily accessible and usable when someone performs a search. One tool they employ to achieve this is weighting. This will assign a score to particular words, phrases, or elements within a site, helping the algorithm to quickly gauge the site’s relevance and usefulness, and therefore its position in the results of the search.
Returning results for a search can be tricky, as some words have multiple meanings. You won’t want to see results that aren’t relevant, so sometimes search engines utilize concept-based searching that delivers other relevant results instead. With the amount of data being produced by indexing the web, more efficient ways may be needed in the future.
Search engines have become such a big part of our daily lives it’s hard to imagine coping without them. How many times a day do you use a search engine? It’s probably more times than you think.