How Traditional Search Engines Sort Their Listings


The criteria by which traditional search engines sort their search result listings constantly changes. It is like a never-ending cat n' mouse game between the web designers, who try to outsmart the search engines, and the search engines, who keep revising their computer programs in an attempt to better sort through the relevant sites.

Basically, how things work is that the search engines have computer programs called "spiders." These spiders crawl around the internet trying to find any and every web site in existence. When they come across a new web site, they scan the contents of the site's web pages. Then these contents are run through their sorting computer software to figure out where your web site will appear in their various listings (search results).

The sorting software makes careful note of numerous things on your site including:

  • The Domain Name
  • Page Title
  • Headings
  • Every Single Word Of Text
  • The Frequency With Which Certain Words Appear On Your Pages
  • Alt Tags (the words often attached to graphics as you hover your mouse bottom over them)
  • Meta Keywords (words encoded in your site that are supposed to tip the search engines off to what your site is about)
  • Meta Descriptions (The short paragraph describing your site that search engine visitors will see in their search results right below your Page Title)
  • How Many Other Sites Link To Yours
  • If You've Updated Your Site Since The Last Spider Visit

Taking all these factors into consideration, the search engine's computer software decides how high your site will be listed in the results when someone types in any keyword related to your site in any way.