Search engines provide a way for internet users to sift through exabytes of online data to find the relevant website, article or image they want to look at. The biggest online search engine is Google, followed by Yahoo!, Bing and Ask. These are the places your target customers are most likely to search for your business.
There are three types of search engines: Those that are powered by robots (called crawlers, ants or spiders) and those that are powered by human submissions; and those that are a hybrid of the two.
The crawler-based search engines use automated software agents to visit websites, scan the information and meta tags and follow the out-bound links. The crawler then reports all that information back to a central database, where the data is indexed and stored. These crawlers return to indexed sites at regular intervals to check that content is being updated - that the website is still active - and to process new data. Different search engines employ their own unique algorithms to determine the relevance of the information on a website - this is why listings on various commercial search engines can differ.
Human-powered search engines rely on people to submit the above information. Only information that is submitted is put into the index.
When you input a search query into a search, you're actually searching through the engine's individual database - you're not actually searching the web.
How can I make my website more visible on search engines?
Search engine algorithms scan for the frequency and location of keywords on a web page. By including relevant keywords with higher frequency, your website will receive a higher ranking. But search engine technology is ever more sophisticated. Packing your site with keywords (or embedding them in the html code of your site) is now discouraged as it could lead to being blacklisted by the engines as spam.
Algorithms also analyze is the way that pages link to other pages in the web. If you have a number of active relevant links from your website to other high-performing sites, this also increases your visibility in search rankings. Linked web pages must contain related content - search engines will check if the keywords of the linked pages are similar to the keywords on the original page.