SEO Mini Series – Part 1 – How do Search Engines Work?

Posted On May 4, 2021

Before we can understand SEO let’s go right back to the start – let’s learn how search engines work!

If we understand how search engines work then we can start to understand how SEO or search engine optimisation works.

SEO is just that – search engine optimisation. Optimising your website and your content to help the search engine show your website to search users.

Search Engines help people find things they need.

For example, someone could search for a service, a product, or an answer to a question.

Google is the main search engine we use in the UK.

SEO or Search Engine Optimisation is what you can do to your website so that search engines will find it, and show it to other people looking for what you have.

Search engines are smart because they know what people want to see when they look for something.

So, how do search engines find information and show it to searchers?

Search engines are made of three parts

1. A spider bot

2. An Index

3. An algorithm.

These are all important and work together.

The spider bots search the internet for information – they are always looking for content, keywords, headings and links.



If we imagine the internet as a big, digital spider’s web, we can visualise the spider bots moving all over the web from one link to another.

Links connect pages together and allow the spider bots to move around easily.

The spider bots save whatever content they find in a place called ‘Index’.

Every time a spider bot finds new information the Index is updated.

You can think of the Index as the ‘brain’ that stores all the information.



The algorithm is the ‘deciding factor’ of what to show in the search results.

e.g. if you ask the search engine what a moon is they will consult their algorithm and use all sorts of rules they have before deciding what information to show you.



The search engines answer will be based on their algorithms and will always be the best possible answer for the searcher.

And there you have it – what a search engine is and how it works!

Now you are ready for part 2 – why do we need SEO?

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Written by Rosie

Hi, I’m Rosie and I’m a freelance web designer specialising in websites for the pet industry. I love animals, I love design and I love business.


t: 07984 235 635

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