How Websites are Indexed – Understanding Search Engines

The indexing of your website is one of the most important aspects of search engine optimisation (SEO). Before trying to grasp how indexing works, you should have a firm understanding of what SEO is and is not. In a nutshell, if you are creating a process to generate traffic to your website from search engines, then you are doing SEO. To be more effective, there are three key aspects of SEO you should understand.

  1. How websites are indexed or read by search engines
  2. How websites are ranked by the search engines
  3. Why they change their algorithms regularly

Get Found By Search Engines

Search engines are basically huge databases of websites with huge lists of websites. They try to list websites according to what they are about and list the most relevant websites for any given search, toward the top of the listings. Getting your web pages in these search engines is of course the first step in ranking well. If you already have a website online, it does not necessarily mean you will be in the search engines. Just because one of your web pages has found it’s way into the search engines, does not mean all your web pages have. For your web page to be indexed, it first needs to be found by search engines and then the content needs to be understood. If the search engines cannot understand what your webpage is about, then bad luck, they will not list you’re your web page. There are two ways for the search engines to know your webpage exists:

  • Submit your web page to their directory via a form or submission software
  • Link to your webpage from another website that is already listed

Search Engine Algorithms – How the Rules Change

When ranking algorithms are changed, your site ranking will possibly change also. This could mean you lose your top spot in the search engines overnight, especially if your ranking is based on competitive keywords or you have been trying to ‘cheat’ the search engines into ranking you higher than your website deserves with ‘black hat’ SEO strategies. This is basically why search engines change algorithms, to provide a better service to people using their search features by removing the ‘bad eggs’.

There are many people who simply don’t understand the reason behind their sudden loss of traffic and their most valuable SEO asset, their site ranking. There is no way of knowing when and how search algorithms will change and what impact it will have on your search engine traffic. If you understand what the search engines are trying to achieve and work with them, rather than try to manipulate them you should be fairly safe whenever a change occurs. In fact, if you are doing the right thing by the search engines you may find your site actually ranks higher once an algorithm is changed.

If you are doing the wrong thing by search engines, their unpredictability could mean losing your only source of income, if you are relying on the search engine traffic to make sales. If this is the case, then your livelihood is essentially at the mercy of Search Engines. If you give the search engines what they want, great content and a well coded site, it is highly unlikely any changes will cause you major problems, it’s more likely the changes will work in your favour.

In any case, you should never rely on search engine traffic alone for your source of income. Website traffic is a fantastic way to build up your customer base, however you should never have all your eggs in one basket. Spread your marketing dollars across a variety of strategies so if one ever fails you have others that will get you through. All your traffic does not need to come from search engines. Other means to get traffic:

  • Build a list of subscribers to a newsletter that links back to your site
  • Post in forums, blogs and social media sites with links to your site
  • Advertise with banner ads on relevant sites to yours
  • Posting article in directories to link back to your site

You need to have a plan for your SEO, but more importantly you need an online marketing plan that is not 100% reliant on search engines. Contact Omnific Design to discuss your marketing plan and how we may be able to help you reach your online goals.

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How Websites are Indexed – Understanding Search Engines
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The indexing of your website is one of the most important aspects of search engine optimisation (SEO). Here's how indexing ca work for your business.
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