Many people confuse the term “search Engine (SE)” with directories. Or they think they are both the same. They couldn’t be more wrong. The difference here is in how the search results are found/organised/generated.
I can think of three main/types of so called search engines.
- Crawler Based Search Engines.
- Business Directories or other human edited directories
- Paid Inclusion Search Engines
If you can think of another one, one that I may have missed feel free to post a comment.
Crawler Based Search Engines
These are search engines that use software scripts to automatically crawl or spider websites and other web properties. Depending on their ranking algorithm they save the results in their huge information repositories. The search engine algorithm decides hw relevant your website is to a certain keyword and it ranks it accordingly.
While a human visitor sees your website, looks at the images, graphics and other eye catching elements; the search engine spiders look at different elements. It looks at all the text on your webpage but pays more importance to the beginning of the webpage and the end of the webpage. It also looks at the text used in links.
This is a topic that can use up a whole book to explain. However the main difference is that: People look at the usability and the look of the website, while the spiders look for the algorithm specified parts like keywords, links etc.
Quite often business owners pay thousands of dollars for a fancy looking website. I’m talking $3000 to $7000 in many cases. The websites are full of flash, cool graphics however the designers quite often don’t consider the important aspects of SEO. The aspects that the search engines are looking for to rank well in the search results. So the business owner has an awesome looking website, that the spiders have ranked as “not relevant” or “not important” and positioned somewhere on page 20 where no one will ever find it when looking for the business owners product or service.
What good is the beautiful design now when no one can ever see it?
SEO is a solution for this very common problem. SEO is used to make the pages more search engine friendly so that they are ranked better and are easier to find in the search results. This is only the first part of SEO and is called On-Page-Optimisation. The second part id Off-Page-Optimisation. More on this in upcoming articles.
This does not mean that we cannot use good looking graphics and flash, we just need to keep SEO in mind when designing a website. So when choosing a website designer, it is important that they understand at least the On-Page-Optimisation before you hire them.
Once the spiders have crawled your new website, they will convert it to their format and store it in their so called index. According to the algorithm it will store your website where it is relevant to any particular keyword. So when someone searches for a keyword that is relevant to your website, the search engine will display it where it sees it to fit (according to the relevance).
The main players in this kind of search engines are: Google, Yahoo and Bing.
Business Directories or other human edited directories
These are websites that may have many different categories. A good example ae Business Directories. You go to the directory, click on Family, then click on Child Care to find a child care centre.
These are edited by humans often called editors. They decide if to accept or decline a website from being displayed in the directory.
To find such a directory, just Google: “YOURCITY BUSINESS DIRECTORY” and I’m sure you will find many of them.
Paid Inclusion Search Engines
Similar to the above, it is a human managed directory that you can only be on, if you pay the webmaster a certain fee. There are some hat are very good and have allot of traffic that your business can profit from. While there are more of these that are not worth a cent.
Unless you are sure that the paid link will bring you traffic I would stay clear from such so called search engines.