How a Search Engine Works – SEO 101

With more and more consumers shifting towards online search for all their essential services and supplies, it’s clear that search engine optimization (SEO) forms the dividing line between success and obscurity for countless businesses. Whether your local business operates out of a house, a brick and mortar store, or a truck, commercial SEO is essential.

Here at Nolen Walker, our SEO specialists dig into some fairly technical topics about web design, advanced search tactics, and content development. Sometimes however, it pays to return to basics and review how all of these elements come together. The foundation of search engine optimization of course, is the Google search engine. For both newly-minted business owners and heavily experienced professionals looking to better understand online marketing, here is a fresh guide on how a search engine works: SEO 101! 

The Google Search Engine Bar

The Google Search Engine is the Backbone of Online Marketing.

The Google Search Engine

Picture the Google search engine as the most efficient, organized, and zealous librarian you’ve ever met. It constantly hunts for new websites and pages to discover and stores them away in a vast index. When you walk in to ask about a particular topic, the search engine immediately examines its extensive collection of related materials and presents you with a list of resources (ordered from most to least relevant).

No other search engine comes close to Google’s extensive capabilities, which is why the company enjoys a 92% market share

Google Search ultimately serves two groups: content creators and content consumers. As your commercial website comes into being, your business will fall into the first category. While the search giant eagerly desires to promote businesses across the world, it also maintains a duty to provide high quality results for its consumer base. This creates the rigorous front page competition that HVAC professionals, roofing contractors, plumbers, and other services experience every day.

New Listing Times in Google's Search Engine

Ranking #1 on Google Looks Different Every Year. Competition Remains Fierce.

Understanding the Cycle of Search

There’s a basic rhythm to search engines that every business needs to understand. It all begins with the development and distribution of content. Then Google steps in to investigate new content and store it for future user queries. Finally, the search engine ranks the content according to relevance whenever someone types in a related keyword or phrase. Finally, the cycle starts over as content gets refined and redistributed.

Summary of the Search Cycle

  • Step #1: Businesses create fresh content for distribution.
  • Step #2: Google analyses the content and indexes it for later.
  • Step #3: Users submit queries & Google responds with the most relevant content from its indexed materials.
  • Return to Step #1: Content gets refined & new content emerges.
  • The cycle continues…

Too many businesses focus on getting their new website out as quickly as possible, without considering the next steps in the search engine cycle. They end up neglecting critical SEO elements, such as keyword research and navigation. If you keep the entire search cycle in mind as your team develops a commercial website, you’ll earn much better results in your site traffic and lead generation.

A Beautiful Website Design for a Roofing Contractor

How Does Google Analyze the Structure and Content of a Website?

How Google Interacts With Your Website

In the second step of our search cycle, Google crawls (explores) your website, identifies the basic structure, and assesses the content within. In essence, the search engine wants to get a clear picture of what your business is all about. After it forms an initial understanding of your website, it indexes the website for future searches. There are a few crucial factors that Google looks for.

Key Elements Google Examines

  • Site Structure
  • Products and Services (Keywords)
  • Visual Design
  • Content Quality

Well-designed sites make it easy for Google to map out their pages by creating a simplistic structure. Primary service categories each contain a collection of closely related sub-service pages. All of these service pages are then neatly presented in a simple sitemap, ensuring every single page gets indexed by Google.

Of course, content and visual play huge roles in how well your website ranks down the line. Keyword optimization and graphic design not only improve your rankings in Google search engine results pages (SERPs), they improve your visitor experience too! These two wins ensure long-term success for your business.

An Examine of a Local Pack Created by Google's Search Engine

Local Packs Enjoy Premium Traffic Volume. Be Sure to Claim Your Free GMB Listing!

What Other Resources Aid Search?

Google alone offers a myriad of resources to aid your company’s quest for online growth. Some tools, such as Google My Business (GMB), enhance your listing quality and improve traffic volume. Others provide more rich information for potential customers searching for local services. Still more analyze your website activity and expose opportunities and weaknesses in the site design.

Tools You’ll Need From Google

  • Google My Business: Provides more detailed information and posts for your local search listings.
  • Google Maps: Offers satellite supported location services to help people find your physical business.
  • Google Analytics: Assesses the traffic patterns and visitor behavior to create opportunities for site improvement.
  • Google Search Console: Examines site performance and identifies potential page errors.
  • Google Adwords: Supports customizable and easily-controlled paid search campaigns for premium SERP placement.
  • Google SERPs: Presents top ranking competitors, related search information, and potential content topics for businesses.

All of these resources provide invaluable opportunities to grow your business and refine your SEO strategies! With the exception of Adwords, these tools are free.  If you can only work with a couple tools initially, start by filling out your GMB profile and researching SERPs for your industry (and local results).

Frequently Asked Questions About Google Search


How does the search engine work?

Google Search can be summed up in two key aspects: information storage and retrieval. Every day, the search engine hunts for new information across the web. When it finds new pages, it examines them, determines what sort of information they have, and files it away for future use.

When a person completes a search query, Google’s algorithm examines the keywords and looks for related resources from its vast index of websites. Websites with the most relevant, high-quality sources are then presented in a Search Engine Results Page (SERP), while less relevant matches are offered on subsequent pages. As new pages are submitted and old ones updated, Google routinely updates its database so it can provide the best matches possible for each search.


How does Google make money?

The tech giant offers a huge number of paid services and products for consumption. Google makes the majority of its money through selling the ads that often appear at the top of search engine results pages. People create campaigns through Google Ads for all sorts of goods and services. Whenever you click on one of these ads, Google charges that person or service for the click.

Google earns over 70 percent of its revenue through its expansive portfolio of advertising platforms.


How do local Google searches work?

When someone submits a search query that requires location-based information, Google first examines where that search originates from. This is why your mobile device asks for to submit your location after certain searches. Google alters its usual ranking process to prioritize trustworthy listings closest to the searching consumer.

The algorithm powering the local search examines several elements in this process, including Google My Business addresses, location-based keywords on company websites, the origin of the search itself (where the user is), and local citation sources like Yelp. Google then ranks the resulting listings according to proximity, relevance, and reputation. The highest rated results are often displayed in a convenient list called the Local Map Pack, making it easy for the searcher to take next steps.


How does Google work for my business?

After you publish a website, Google examines (or “crawls”) the site with analytical tools called spiderbots. These bots seek to understand the purpose of the site, the services and/or products you provide, and the location of your business. It stores all that information in an index for later use, then presents your website during relevant Google searches.

This creates traffic, or people flowing into your website. A percentage of those people will eventually decide to call your service, creating leads for your company. At that point, your team can capitalize on those leads to create sales. As time passes, more people land on your site, and you release keyword-rich content, Google will reward your business with higher rankings and more traffic.

Team Up With Nolen Walker

Wish you had an experienced professional to handle your search engine optimization and website design? Our team at Nolen Walker supports countless roofing contractors, plumbers, HVAC professionals, and numerous other services across the nation.

Our clients enjoy fantastic rankings in their local search results, earning…

  • More site traffic,
  • Deeper user engagement, and
  • Higher quality leads!

To learn more about our services and how we can grow your business, talk with one of our experts today. We can’t wait to serve you.

Call 866-356-8198 for the SEO Experts!