The Three Things Search Engines Do & Why You Should Care


what do search engines do?

Have you ever wondered how search engines actually work? Even if you haven’t, you should care how they work and, more importantly, how they can work for you. And that’s what we’re talking about today: three things search engines do.

Not too long ago, we sent an email out to our list asking how everyone felt about SEO… and this is what came flooding back:

  • “The rules are always changing.”
  • “Where do I even start?!”
  • “I feel overwhelmed.” 
  • “What I learn won’t work for me.”

Those things, over and over again with a heavy emphasis on overwhelm. So we figured it’s time to take it back to basics. 

A lot of time, the stress and overwhelm comes into play when we don’t quite understand how something works or how it can work for us. So let’s back up and talk about how search engines work. And no, we are not going to get all technical because no one cares how search engines were made and engineered. It’s more about how they do what they do. 

3 Things Search Engines Do

It comes down to three words: crawling, indexing, and ranking. Don’t freak out! We’re gonna break each one down.

1. Crawling

Every search engine has spiders (bots) that crawl your website capturing all the information on each page. These bots can’t read your mind. They can’t know you mean something when you say something else. 

2. Indexing

Think of this like the largest file cabinet you’ve ever seen. Every page on your website and every word you write gets filed into a folder. Think of those folders being labeled as keywords or content buckets. 

3. Ranking

This is where Google determines how relevant your folder is to what their audience is searching for. Are you going to show up on page one or page ten? 

You can’t rank without first being indexed for a word, and you can index without those bots first crawling your website. 

All three of these things need to happen for your page to appear on a results page. 

The secret to helping search engines like you

  • Make sure search engines can crawl your website. 
  • That your content is getting indexed for the right things. 
  • And that you rank high on a search engine page so we can drive traffic. 

Most of the time, we jump right to the end and ask ourselves why am I not ranking? We forget that the first two things have to happen first. 

This is true across every search engine, not just the giant Google. 

How to Make SEO Easy | The Free Training

So now what? Well, we want to break down for you the exact steps you need to take to make sure a search engine can do all three of these things for you. And that is exactly why we created a free training that is happening this week, March 5th and 7th—How To Make SEO Easy

Inside this class, we will be teaching:

  • What you should do to help search engines crawl, index, and rank your content.
  • An actual starting point. Answering that question earlier on “Where the heck do I even begin.” We will be sharing four things that will actually improve your SEO you can do that will take you less than an hour. 
  • We will eliminate and break down all that nasty jargon— if you are here, you already know this is our specialty!
  • You will leave feeling confident about getting started in the world of SEO.  
  • And there may or may might be a couple of prizes we are giving away to those who join us 👀

We are so excited to be teaching this free masterclass and even more excited that you are going to join us! Grab your seat, and we’ll see you there!

The Three Things Search Engines Do & Why You Should Care

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Abbey Oslin and Courtney Petersen are Minnesota-based marketing experts, educators, and co-founders of boutique marketing agency Duo Collective, which specializes in SEO, social media strategy, and branding for small business owners and creative entrepreneurs. To learn more about Duo Collective, or to inquire about working with our team, head over to 

To inquire about being a guest on Duo On Air, please fill out this application form. 

And to submit a topic or a question for next week’s episode, send us a DM on Instagram! See you on Monday!

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