Crawl to Click: What are Search Engines?

When I was sixteen I created a blog with my sister, we used any free template available online and we started creating content. Updating the design with worst-practice standards but keeping the dream on.

My posts followed a simple layout: text, photo, text, photo and more text. I was responsible for reviewing gigs, so my posts were filled with pictures. So, every time that I had to post a image I was instantly filling alt attributes and making sure the files were compressed. I knew I did that because "it's good", but never really understood why.

A few years later I learned that image size, alt attribute for images, title tag and meta description (and many other settings) is directly connected to SEO, which stands for Search Engine Optimisation. There's an excellent post here on Codú that talks a bit more about SEO if you want to check it out.

NOTE: alt attribute is actually directly related to accessibility, which is not one SEO's rank primarily factor, however, they're interconnected concepts through user experience.

Developers are too curious, I wasn't satisfied. SEO is the practice of optimising a website to improve its visibility. But how? Who or what defines good visibility? Which parameters are taken into consideration? That's why I decided this week to talk a little bit more about search engines.

What is Search Engines?

Search engines are answer programs designed to find, comprehend, and categorize online content, intending to provide the most fitting answers to users questions. Or in more simplified words: Google, Bing and Yahoo. These search engines works through three main functions: crawling, indexing and ranking.


Crawling is the process used by search engine web crawlers which are nothing more than bots (also called spiders) that visits every website's web pages and then follow the links on those web pages to find new URLs, obtaining data throughout the process.


Indexing happens after all the information is collected through the web crawlers, the search engines store all of the data found in an index ready to serve up to the searchers.

NOTE: It’s possible to instruct search engines to avoid storing certain pages for different reasons in their index. You can learn more about this on Niall's post.


Once all the data is obtained and indexed, the search engines display their index for highly relevant content and then order that content looking to answer the user question. This ordering of search results by relevance is known as ranking.

That's how SEO it's highly important and is closely related to search engines. SEO is the process of making your website more appealing to search engines so that it ranks higher in their search results when users search for relevant keywords or topics.

Funny fact: like every other program out there, different sources have their particular behaviour. What it means is that the SEO may be different among the search engines. However, people tend to focus mainly on Google. This happens not only because Google have the largest market share, but also for the reason that most of the web searches happen on Google.

Last week I talked about how Figma redefined my approach in the development process, feel free to check it out How Figma Redefined My Approach and Preferences!

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Written by Valentino Braga


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