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Search engines can feel hard to figure out. How did the person at the top of the first page get to be there? What are sponsored ads? Why is my website not higher up in the search engine result rankings? It is true that a majority of people do not click past the first page of search engine results, and most of those people do not click on anything past the first five results on the first page! For these reasons, it is important that your website perform well in search engine results. If you feel like it is a fruitless process and are tired of working hard to no avail, do not worry. There are several things you can do to improve your ranking on search engine result pages. However, there are a few things you should know first about how search engines work.

Search engines work by using “web crawlers” (also referred to as search engine bots or spiders) to visit billions of pages every day. They follow links on web pages and download their content to discover new pages or content that has been made available. This is called indexing. A search engine’s index stores all the data from new discoveries. An index includes all the URLs as well as key signals and topics of the URL such as keywords, content (pictures, text, videos, etc.), the age of the page (is it new or recently updated?) and user engagement with the domain. Indexing allows the search engine to determine what is relevant and new content that internet users will likely want to see. Because the entire aim of a search engine is to provide its user with content that is almost exact to what they are looking for, indexing is a vital part of this process. It helps narrow down what users will see.