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How does SEO work?

January 7, 2020
Asfand yar


How do search engines work?

1.      Crawl

2.      Index

3.      Rank

What is search engine crawling?

What is a search engine index?

Search engine ranking.

Crawling: Can search engines find your pages?

Tell search engines how to crawl your site

Expand your business visibility with SEO work


SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. SEO is the process of optimizing your website to get top rankings in the search engine results. Adopting SEO work for your business is really necessary in the current age. If you haven’t equipped your website with SEO, then you are being really unfair with your website and you are giving your competitors a huge edge and a benefit over you. It’s almost like you are not even putting up a fair fight if you do not adopt SEO strategies.

How do search engines work?

Search engines have three primary functions:

  1. Crawl: Scour the Internet for content, looking over the code/content for each URL they find.
  2. Index: Store and organize the content found during the crawling process. Once a page is in the index, it’s in the running to be displayed as a result to relevant queries.
  3. Rank:Provide the pieces of content that will best answer a searcher's query, which means that results are ordered by most relevant to least relevant.

What is search engine crawling?

Crawling is the discovery process in which search engines send out a team of robots (known as crawlers or spiders) to find new and updated content. Content can vary — it could be a webpage, an image, a video, a PDF, etc. — but regardless of the format, content is discovered by links.

What's that word mean?

Having trouble with any of the definitions in this section? Our SEO glossary has chapter-specific definitions to help you stay up-to-speed.

Googlebot starts out by fetching a few web pages, and then follows the links on those webpages to find new URLs. By hopping along this path of links, the crawler is able to find new content and add it to their index called Caffeine — a massive database of discovered URLs — to later be retrieved when a searcher is seeking information that the content on that URL is a good match for.

What is a search engine index?

Search engines process and store information they find in an index, a huge database of all the content they’ve discovered and deem good enough to serve up to searchers.

Search engine ranking

When someone performs a search, search engines scour their index for highly relevant content and then orders that content in the hopes of solving the searcher's query. This ordering of search results by relevance is known as ranking. In general, you can assume that the higher a website is ranked, the more relevant the search engine believes that site is to the query.

It’s possible to block search engine crawlers from part or all of your site, or instruct search engines to avoid storing certain pages in their index. While there can be reasons for doing this, if you want your content found by searchers, you have to first make sure it’s accessible to crawlers and is indexable. Otherwise, it’s as good as invisible.

By the end of this chapter, you’ll have the context you need to work with the search engine, rather than against it!

In SEO, not all search engines are equal

Many beginners wonder about the relative importance of particular search engines. Most people know that Google has the largest market share, but how important it is to optimize for Bing, Yahoo, and others? The truth is that despite the existence of more than 30 major web search engines, the SEO community really only pays attention to Google. Why? The short answer is that Google is where the vast majority of people search the web. If we include Google Images, Google Maps, and YouTube (a Google property), more than 90% of web searches happen on Google — that's nearly 20 times Bing and Yahoo combined.

Crawling: Can search engines find your pages?

As you've just learned, making sure your site gets crawled and indexed is a prerequisite to showing up in the SERPs. If you already have a website, it might be a good idea to start off by seeing how many of your pages are in the index. This will yield some great insights into whether Google is crawling and finding all the pages you want it to, and none that you don’t.

One way to check your indexed pages is "", an advanced search operator. Head to Google and type "" into the search bar. This will return results Google has in its index for the site specified:

The number of results Google displays (see “About XX results” above) isn't exact, but it does give you a solid idea of which pages are indexed on your site and how they are currently showing up in search results.

For more accurate results, monitor and use the Index Coverage report in Google Search Console. You can sign up for a free Google Search Console account if you don't currently have one. With this tool, you can submit sitemaps for your site and monitor how many submitted pages have actually been added to Google's index, among other things.

If you're not showing up anywhere in the search results, there are a few possible reasons why:

  • Your site is brand new and hasn't been crawled yet.
  • Your site isn't linked to from any external websites.
  • Your site's navigation makes it hard for a robot to crawl it effectively.
  • Your site contains some basic code called crawler directives that is blocking search engines.
  • Your site has been penalized by Google for spammy tactics.

Tell search engines how to crawl your site:

If you used Google Search Console or the “” advanced search operator and found that some of your important pages are missing from the index and/or some of your unimportant pages have been mistakenly indexed, there are some optimizations you can implement to better direct Googlebot how you want your web content crawled. Telling search engines how to crawl your site can give you better control of what ends up in the index.

Most people think about making sure Google can find their important pages, but it’s easy to forget that there are likely pages you don’t want Googlebot to find. These might include things like old URLs that have thin content, duplicate URLs (such as sort-and-filter parameters for e-commerce), special promo code pages, staging or test pages, and so on.

To direct Googlebot away from certain pages and sections of your site, use robots.txt.


Robots.txt files are located in the root directory of websites (ex. and suggest which parts of your site search engines should and shouldn't crawl, as well as the speed at which they crawl your site, via specific robots.txt directives.

How Googlebot treats robots.txt files

  • If Googlebot can't find a robots.txt file for a site, it proceeds to crawl the site.
  • If Googlebot finds a robots.txt file for a site, it will usually abide by the suggestions and proceed to crawl the site.
  • If Googlebot encounters an error while trying to access a site’s robots.txt file and can't determine if one exists or not, it won't crawl the site.

Expand your business visibility with SEO work:

Search engines regularly collect every kind of information about the websites on the internet. They gather information like backlinks, loading speed, keywords and the content so that they can direct a user towards a particular website when they make a relevant search. Google uses more than two hundred ranking factors in its algorithm. You need to keep in mind a lot of things whilst optimizing your website for SEO. SEO work is usually further divided into on-page SEO factors and off-page SEO factors. Both factors make a huge part in determining how well your website is optimized. 

On-page SEO factors have a lot of impact on the ranking of your website. All of the things of your website which you have access of and can influence directly are included in the on-page SEO factors. Technical aspects, content related aspects (which include the structure of the website), they are all the on-page SEO factors. While Off-page SEO factors are usually the factors that consist of links from other websites including social media websites, and other marketing methods happening outside of your original website. It is a little difficult to influence the off-page SEO factors. The major odd-page factors include the quality and amount of links that pint towards your website.  If you have more number of links with good quality, you will definitely have more traffic on your website.

One of the most effective methods to increase traffic on your website is to get a good ranking on search engine return pages (SERPs). Even though a lot of the search engine companies manage to keep their methods a secret, their method for getting top positions on SERPs isn't a complete secret. Search engines usually achieve their goals of getting successful if they manage to give a user links to the best websites which are related to their search terms. You just have to find a method to prove to the search engines that your website belongs at the top of the heap. That is where search engine optimization (SEO) can really help you achieve your goal. SEO is a bundle of techniques an expert can use to improve their site's SERP position on the search engines.

You should keep in mind that search engines are like automated computer programs and they don’t work like humans do. They mostly work with the code of the websites. They can’t see any flashy images or videos that you post on your website. So make sure to focus on the content of your website.


Optimizing your website for SEO isn’t always the easiest task. You can always learn via online tutorials or you can hire our SEO experts. C2M is a wonderful company that has been working with SEO for years. C2M has a lot of experience in optimizing the websites for SEO. It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or you want to take a next step in Search Engine Optimization, C2M is always ready and eager to be of service.  Contact C2M as soon as possible if you want to hire an SEO expert.

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