ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Search Engine Optimization Marketing: How Search Engines Work?

Updated on January 14, 2010

Web Marketing & Search Engine Optimization: Understanding How They Work

To understand search engine optimization marketing, you must first understand how search engines work. Forgive me if this sounds very elementary, but so as not to confuse anyone, I want to start from ground zero, so to speak. Once you fully understand the foundation of how search engines work, it will be easier for you to market effectively on the web – no matter what you’re selling.

What Exactly Is a Search Engine?

The best way to describe a search engine is as the Yellow Pages of the internet. They index every site on the web. There are many search engines, but the internet is dominated by three -- The Big 3 -- so to They are: (by far the most popular), and (Bing).

If you want to find a business on the internet, instead of pulling out a big, thick, yellow telephone book, you log onto your favorite search engine and start typing.

What Search Engines Do

Search engines work to locate information on the internet for web surfers. When you want to find something on the web, you go to your favorite search engine and type in some words. In search engine optimization (SEO) speak, these are known as keywords/keyword phrases.

Two types of results pop up when you type in these phrases: organic results and paid (sponsored) results, illustrated in the graphic to the right just below. The results that pop up are what the search engine in question thinks are the most relevant – of the billions of web pages on the internet – to what you’re looking for.

Search Engine Optimization Marketing: When Your Budget Is Low or Nonexistent

When using search engine optimization marketing – especially if you have little or no money to do, for example, a pay per click campaign -- you want to be as high up in organic* results as possible. Why?

Because most web surfers don’t look past the first three pages of results returned, according to an April 2008 survey reported by, an industry leading analyzer and researcher of online and digital media businesses.

The survey found that:

Nearly seven out of 10 respondents said they clicked a search result within the first page of results, and 92% clicked a result within the first three pages of search results. . . . fewer search engine users surveyed were willing to click results past the third page . . . .” [Source:, Searching for SEO: Searchers prefer organic results]

So, in your search engine optimization marketing efforts, how do you get on the first few pages of results? This is where SEO gets interesting.

All most internet users know about search engines is how to find stuff using them. But, if you’re going to start pouring money into marketing on the web, then you must go a step further and learn how search engines operate. Specifically, how they find and rank sites.

*What is organic traffic?

Organic traffic is, in essence, “free traffic;” it’s any traffic that comes to your site that you didn’t pay for, (eg, pay per click ads).

Search Engine Optimization Marketing: How Search Engines Find and Rank Sites

Search engines find and rank sites by using what’s known as spiders or robots (aka bots). They troll the web, cataloguing sites as they find them. HOW they catalogue sites is key to ranking well. This is known as search engine optimization.

Let’s say you have an offline store that sells antique dolls. A (keyword) phrase you’d probably want to rank well for is “antique dolls”. If someone types in that phrase, you’d want to be on the first few pages of results, that way they’d click through to your site and buy something.

So how do you get there? How do you get on the first few pages of results? Well, by helping the spiders/bots categorize your site properly. IE, by having a website that is search engine friendly.

This means having it properly “optimized.” It’s like going to the video store to rent a DVD. If you want a horror flick, you’d go to the horror section, NOT the romance section. You do certain behind-the-scenes things (ie, optimize your site) to help search engine spiders put your site in the right category.

What are these behind-the-scenes things?

Search Engine Optimization Marketing: 4 Easy Ways to Make Your Site Search Engine Friendly

To learn how to make your site search-engine friendly so that it shows up high in search results, read the hub, Free SEO Promotion Tips for Online Marketers, Freelance Writers & Small Biz Owners. It outlines four things you should do to every page on your site to make it easier for search engines to return it in search results.

Search Engines: About

Did the info here help you to understand better how search engines work?

See results


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • BrainSpace profile image


      8 years ago from North Carolina

      This article was very informative. Thanks!

    • searchengin profile image


      8 years ago from New Zealand

      Awesome it really helps people to start their own business..


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)