Search engines, like Google, are essential tools to finding anything on the Internet. In 1991, there was one website on the Internet. In 2014, there is an estimated 1 billion websites. Search engines function to filter and sort digital information. Think about the largest library you can imagine. Now, what if there were no book shelves and everything was just in a pile in the middle of the floor. This is what ‘the Internet’ looks like without search engines; everything piled in the middle of the floor with no rhyme or reason. How will you find what you came in looking for? How much time would you have to spend searching? How would you know you were getting good quality information?
In order to sort, filter, and organize everything that is out there, Google sends spiders, or crawlers, out into the web universe to sort and organize all of the information that is out there. It organizes what it finds by grouping them into relevant search terms (the techy people call these Keywords). Next, each page in these groups is given a ranking of how ‘important’ the spiders and crawlers think the data is and that is the order Google displays these results on its search engine results page (SERP). Google uses a trademarked algorithm called PageRank, which assigns each Web page a relevancy score. A Web page’s PageRank depends on a few factors:
1) How often and where the term you are searching for appears on the Web page: If the word you are looking for is all over the page, the site will most likely answer your question.
2) The quality of the site providing the information is determined by how long the site has been around for.
3) If other web pages ‘endorse’ a page by saying “Here is a link to something valuable, www.abc.com, check it out” Google believes the quality of the information you find is better.