search engine result page

How Do Search Engines Work?

When a consumer searches online, the search engine is designed to sort through hundreds of billions of web pages to find the most relevant, valuable results in a fraction of a second and then present them in such a way that helps the consumer find the best result. They do this by using a series of algorithms. These algorithms are designed to look at several factors to return the most valuable results to the user; such as:

  • Keywords
  • Relevance
  • User-friendliness of the landing page
  • Expertise of sources
  • Location 

The focus on each factor varies depending on the search. For example, when it comes to answering searches about current events, the freshness of the content matters more than it does when it comes to dictionary definitions that have not changed. 

Breaking Down Search Engine Results Pages

A crucial part of the customer journey for a small business is showing up in search results when a consumer is searching for what you sell or offer. For you to make a sale, your product or service needs to show up on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). Our CEO Mike always says, “the best place to hide a dead body is on the second page of a Google SERP.”

A SERP is made up of two main components:

  1. The initial search query - a word or phrase that users type into a search engines’ search box to find the information they need.
  2. Search results - The returned list of landing pages in response to the user’s search query. Each result will usually display the URL to the landing page, a title, a short description. As well as visuals like rating stars, thumbnail images, or videos.

It’s important to know how a search engine displays its results on a SERP.  Having this knowledge will help you optimize your online presence and show up on search results.

Let’s break it down:

Search Bar
What keywords/phrases does the auto-suggest provide?

Does your website, blog, or AdWords answer questions that are relevant to your business?

Google AdWords
Do your paid ads focus on longer searches that separate your business from your competitors?


Google Maps link
Did you claim your Google My Business listing?  

Did you include all relevant information such as name, address, phone number, hours, website, categories, etc.? Is it the same as on your website and other listings?

Local Pack
Are you leveraging reviews from happy customers?

Are you building high-quality citations? i.e. sending your business information (name, address, phone number, website, hours) to other key sites like Bing, Facebook, Yelp, RLP, etc.?


The Basics
Is your website mobile-friendly?

Does your website provide your name, address, phone number, hours? 

Does your website state the products you sell or services that you provide? 
Can your website be read by search engines? 

Are you optimizing the title tags, meta descriptions, etc.?


Related Searches 
Are you using related searches for ideas for content on your website/blog and AdWords?

You can have a million dollar idea, but if your customers can’t find you, you won’t sell anything.

Getting your business listed on search engines is a crucial step. Improving those listings and adding all the bells and whistles is where real local partners can do the heavy lifting for you. 

We are just getting started on building the foundational structure to your digital marketing strategy. Once the foundation is set and established, you can start to send traffic and leads to your business and watch the growth happen.

Want to learn more about how to grow and scale your business? Stay tuned for next month's blog about digital marketing strategies for small businesses.






Leave a comment