Crawling, Indexing, and Ranking in SEO


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Have you ever wondered how Google provides you 1000 or more answers when you ask a question? The answer is simple: these search engines have sophisticated programs that are evolving day by day to provide a better experience to the users. Now, if you are a newbie to SEO services or a professional, it would be recommended to learn about the basic tools that search engines use for finding the best possible answers to the query.

Not only it will provide you with information but it may also help you in determining the best possible way to optimize your website that in return, will rate you in higher ranks in the SERPs.

What Are Three Basic Tools for Google Search Engines?

The three basic tools for Google search engines are:

Crawling: Finding different URLs addresses and following them

Indexing: Storing information of the content for later retrieval

Ranking: provide the content from the most relevant to the least relevant content

These tools will be described in more detail in the next paragraph.

What is Crawling?

When a person searches a query, google bots, also called spiders or crawlers, search through different URL addresses to provide relevant answers to answer the question. These crawlers find a few web pages and then follow links on these URLs – this process is called backlinks. These spiders then add them into their database so they can be retrieved later when needed.

The web crawlers, especially Google, don’t crawl all the web pages every day as it would be quite hectic so it crawls the web over the weeks. It also should be noted that all Google spiders don’t crawl on each and every site. Instead, they determine the most relevant sites and follow up on the visited sites that lead these bots to crawl over the web.

If you are a web page owner, you should add the robot.txt file in your website directory. You wouldn’t want these bots to crawl and index your test pages in their database. The robot.txt file will help to determine which parts are accessible to the spider and which parts are not. A sitemap can also help these crawlers to determine the architecture and understand the important content of the site. For those who have very large sites, having hundreds of URLs, they can also optimize their crawler.

By using the robot.txt.file, the bots would not disturb the unwanted stuff and unimportant files. But be careful when optimizing the crawlers for the web pages. You would not want your important stuff not to be crawled by the crawler. If a page blocks these bots, the bots would not crawl on its page.

However, some bots would not follow this protocol such as email spammers. They break through the directions and cause disturbance on the web pages.

What is Indexing?

The database of searches on Google is called indexing. When the sites are crawled, it is then stored in their huge database or index. It can be considered a digital library with relevant data stored.

Servers all around the world let these pages be accessed almost as quickly as possible. Storage and sorting of the data require quite a lot of space.

If you want to see the indexing of your site, just type on the search bar. If you cannot see the indexing of your website, there may be some problems:

  • A code is blocking the crawlers to crawl the site
  • Site navigation problems
  • Penalty by Google
  • The site may be new or undiscovered or has no external links

What is Ranking?

After indexing, the database is run by an algorithm determining the most relevant and the least relevant to the query. This process is called ranking.

When the crawlers gather the information of the query, it is ranked based on the most authentic to the least authentic answer based on the question.  A successful SEO would help determine the importance and relevance of the query. The main question is ‘what is the difference between these two?

  • Relevance: The content which is provided is the best possible answer to the query.
  • Importance:  Those web pages are considered important, the more they are cited by other websites.

The question in hand is also ranked by the search engines in three different methods:

  1. Navigational queries: the user is finding a specific website. For example, Nike
  2. Informational queries: the user is finding his/her question’s answer or learning how to do something. For example: ‘Nike air huarache reviews’
  3. Transactional queries:  the user is making a purchase. For example: buy Nike shoes

There are complex algorithms with huge signals that help in determining the ‘relevant’ and the ‘important’ information following the question.  Although the algorithm updates for improving its services such as Google, the foundation of these are well understood.  Well. we really don’t know all the rules and algorithms that are used in these search engines as it can be opened up to hackers. The fundamentals are easily understood for the perfect SEO strategy.

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How Does a Search Engine Evaluate a Web Page?

During the process of ranking, the search engines crawl through the web page and it needs to have a rough idea of what’s the web page is about. Google is found to put the content of the webpage in more consideration. Basically, search engines inspect the words and phrases that are found on the web page, and then they are aligned into a map. This map is called a semantic map.

Final Words!

When you add up a query, your answers are delivered to you in seconds. But these instant answers require a complex set of different processes to find the relevant answer to your query.

For a better understanding of SEO, crawling, indexing and ranking should also be learned for a better picture of the fundamentals. This way will also lead the search engines to easily read and understand the content of the website and hence find the right search results.

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By Sidharth

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