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Sep 2013

How do the Search Engines work?

Posted by / in Blog, Search Engine Optimisation /

Each page of a website has special code (meta tags) which tell the search engine what the page is about and how to list it.

The search results on Google show the meta tags as follows:

  • title tag shows the title
  • description tag shows the description
  • keyword tag stipulates which keywords are being used on the page so that Google knows what keywords to list you for.


Once you have all the meta tags, the search engine is able to list you, but probably only at position 1000000! How do you improve your rankings?

There are a few factors but the most important is Content. Each page needs to  focus on one specific keyword/keyphrase. This word needs to be repeated as often as possible. This is called Keyword Density (ie. number of times the keyword is repeated for every 100 words). The higher the Keyword Density the more relevant the page must be for that keyword and thus improved rankings.

The search engines also give more weighting to words that are bolded, hyperlinked or in header tags. In fact the words within a header tags are given the most weighting, especially the <h1> tag.


Alt tags are used to describe images in instances when the images do not download. They are however, also fabulous places for us to add lots of keywords, which helps with SEO.

Then we get to the more technical items – robots.txt file, xml sitemap and google analytics.

The robots.txt file tells the search engine which pages and folders of your website that it can list. The xml sitemap gives the search engine instant links to all the pages within your site for easier listing. Both of these are required by the search engines. Google Analytics doesn’t directly influence your keyword ranking, but Google being Google, when you use its products, it will give you preference. Google Analytics is actually a fabulous tool to use to see your website statistics in an easy to read format.

The search engines changed their algorithms about a year ago and now allocate 40% of your keyword ranking towards how interactive you are with your clients. For this reason they now require the following elements on the home page of your website:

  • Links to social media sites – facebook, twitter, linkedIn, Pinterest, etc
  • A Blog
  • A signup for newsletter form on the home page (even if you never send a newsletter, this form is vital in showing google that you are trying to connect with your clients)
  • Twitter or Facebook Feed – showing your tweets and facebook updates on your home page

If you would like us to quote on any of the above, please let me know.

Author: Jeanne Malherbe

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