Happy New Year- The Fuse is back and excited to share more ways how you can get found online for your creative business.

getting found on search engines

How Do Search Engines Work?

I made up a story about Mr. Google in order to help explain how search engines work. In my mind, Mr. Google is like the man from Sex and City: mysterious but oh so attractive. As website/blog owners, we want to be a trusted advisor in the eyes of search engines and in the eyes of Mr. Google. I often scope and say that we don’t want a temporary high ranking, like a one-night stand, to be on page 1 today and gone tomorrow. On the contrary, we want a long-term relationship with Google! We want Google to put a ring on it, marry us, give us some kids and create a legacy for generations to come. In other words, we want Google to look at our website on topics X, Y and Z and consider showing us in their results in the first few pages of results for searches related to topic X, Y and Z.  So, in order to become this trusted advisor, we must first understand how search engines work and what they do.

Mr. Google Story.

Mr. Google traveled to a small beach in Brazil and fell in love – so much in love that he decided to live there – but he needed a business idea. He decided that he would help tourists find lost items and opened up the Google Search Box (lost items for tourists) at that beach. So, there are 3 main tasks Mr. Google needs to do for his job.


#1. Every day, Mr. Google needs to scan the beach! He has a metal detector, and he needs to go look for lost items. So Search Engines have to scan the World Wide Web. That’s their beach. Every day they’re looking for new data and information. This is why typically blogs will rank higher than websites, as they get freshened up way more often than websites, which are more static. As he scans the entire beach, he begins to find items, which he will then gather and do the second thing below.


#2. Mr. Google will then categorize the items at his big warehouse. You know the checkout area of Ikea where there are bins, columns, rows, and all that jazz that makes your head spin, as you’re browsing over your checklist of items you marked off with that small pencil? Well, then you can understand Mr. Google’s need to extremely organized, as there are many different types of items he finds on the beach. If he finds a piece of jewelry on the beach, then he will check if it’s gold or silver, if it has detail, if it’s a chain, if it’s thick or thin, and he will use subcategories as much as needed. The techy term for this is “indexing,” and Google uses a very complex, fancy formula to organize this data, known as an “algorithm.”


#3. Last but not least, Mr. Google has to help the tourist regain what they’ve lost and are looking for, at least in my story. But in the online world of Search Engines, the third thing they do is RANK. So let’s say I lost my Pandora silver bracelet with my camera pendant, and I come to Mr. Google’s warehouse and describe my bracelet to him. Mr. Google, in turn, will go to his huge warehouse and come back with 10 items. He will show me the items, in order, from the one that he thinks most matches my description to the least. This, my friends, is what ranking is. Page 1 of results shows 10 results, from best to least in the eyes of the fancy formula.  What moves those results up and down is a series of what I call Brownie Points – conditions that Google looks for – and there are over 200 of these that they use to rank a site.  So, the better you describe your items, a.k.a. “what you want to be found for,” and the better you provide content around those topics and make sure your website/blog has text, then that’s the start of being found on Google.


Has this helped you understand how search engines work? What questions do you have for me? Stay tuned for some upcoming blog posts on ranking factors, but make sure you also check out my Tend of my last blog post here for a list of Top Ten Brownie Points Google’s Looking For on Your Website.