Search Engine

Understanding the Stages of a Search Engine

One of the most common goals within marketing is to rise through the ranks and be on page one of Google, Bing or Ask.com, but how is this achieved? With so many processes involved in bringing your content to the forefront of search results, it is understandable that stealing that prime position on page one is difficult!

There are certainly more than four stages to this process but breaking it down makes is easier to understand and implement into your own content marketing. Here are our 4 easy steps to understanding how your website gets ranked:

  • Crawling
  • Rendering
  • Indexing
  • Ranking

Crawling

When a search engine requests webpages from websites’ servers, this is called crawling. For example, if Google itself was searching through their own web browser typing in or clicking on a link to a webpage. Search engine machines all visit webpages similarly to how we do – when a search engine visits a webpage, it complies notes on the webpage of the content and the links. It will make sure to visit all of the links on that webpage and make a copy of them.

Most of the major search engines have their own technology to do the ‘crawling’ for them, and they are called ‘Googlebot’ for Google and ‘Bingbot’ for Bing. These search engine ‘bots’ can discover webpages’ links in some of the ways listed below:

  • When links are created back to their page
  • Through backlinks
  • Social media posts
  • Documentation including links
  • URLs found in written text and not hyperlinked.

In some instances, it will depend on how accessible the links and other information is to the bot, and it can affect how the search engine interprets the webpage. Therefore, showing the importance of creating strong backlinks and doing this in different and creative ways, such as guest posting.

Rendering

Once the search engine crawls a webpage, it will then ‘render’ the page. Rendering involves taking the HTML, JavaScript and cascading stylesheet (CSS) information to generate how the page will appear to the user on a desktop or mobile. 

Search engines will store compressed files of how these pages will appear. Some will only keep a shorthand version of the webpages in a much more simplified formatting, i.e. just the text.

Indexing

The next step in this process, is to determine what the content of the page is about and whether it will be stored in the index. Similar to an index of words found at the end of a book, the search engine index works in the same format.

A search engine index contains many keywords and keyword sequences that are featured on the webpage, and it then associates them with a list including where the keywords are situated.

Indexing is also like a master database look up table, allowing to easily find exactly what you are looking. Of course, this is now much more advanced – when you type in your keyword to google it lists all of the URL’s that would be of interest to you based on the keywords across a huge scale. Search engines like Google are keen to keep this search engine as effective as possible so there is a chance that any content that is of low quality, will not become indexed and make it high in the ranks!

Ranking

The most popular step in this process, ranking. Once a search engine has a list of all the webpages associated with a particular keyword or keyword phrase, it must decide an order that all of the pages relating to those words will appear. Ranking is a very complex step which so much time and investigation has been spent on because getting it right is the difference between success for some businesses.

Most people who work within the SEO industry will know or have heard of the ranking process and the ‘algorithm’ in how it works. Different algorithms can include number of pages, views, clicks, comments, likes, shares. With new pages and links added every day, Google’s method to rank these is done quite quickly allowing an opinion to be made about the authority and usefulness of the page with its hundreds of factors included in the algorithm.

Simply understanding these stages to a search engine ranking, can help your content marketing preparation by including some of these points to achieve that no.1 spot!

Planning for Peaks: How Can Technology Play a Vital Role? 

Retail is always one step ahead and that doesn’t just the physical stores – planning for peaks is at the front of every online retailer’s mind too. Whether that’s strengthening your ad strategies, preparing for product launches or being smart about inventory. 

It all comes down to staying productive and preparing for the upcoming busy season. Tech plays a vital role in this, ensuring you can offer the best service for customers – from their first website visit, right down to last mile delivery. 

In stores this is obviously key but online it is so much more competitive. The competition online starts with exposure to your business and making sure you are the first they have seen! It is important to make sure you are seen before the rest of your competitiors and expanding your online exposure as much as possible. With shoppers becoming less brand loyal online and opting for retailers that can offer the smoothest service and best delivery options, it’s more important than ever to plan out and anticipate customer journey from the very beginning and getting your products out there. 

The beauty of being online is that there are many ways you can market and advertise your product to your audience. Things like Google Ads, Social Media campaigns and Guest posts can all help to gain the all important exposure before the crowds, or clicks rush in.

Amazon Prime Day 

Amazon Prime Day is taking place as we speak, so although you might be prepared in terms of the stock, if you’re a seller in this space, there are still a few marketing tactics you can use to boost sales. 

One of the best ways to encourage purchases is to educate your customers and provide tips around shopping for the two-day extravaganza. Many customers are not aware that they can create personalised deal updates on Amazon – they simply go onto the Prime Day 2022 page and create deal updates for the items they want to follow on there. 

On top of summer, sales are bound to be better when this annual event rolls around at the same time for sellers. One of the most common complaints from stockists is having to manually look through full lists of orders to determine what’s on back order and what stock availability looks like. Having somewhere to digitally store this information and create a centralised list can really help with prioritising inventory levels. Here’s where tech, once again, can literally save the day! 

Christmas in July! 

One of the scary thoughts of peak season for many online retailers is the reminder that Christmas prep needs to start as early as July in order to keep up with an influx of sales. This is almost always a less daunting thought when there is a streamlined fulfilment process in place. 

Many retailers opt for an Order Management System , allowing for the continuous tracking and active monitoring of purchases and inventory levels. This ensures the fulfilment process runs smoothly and in turn, so does the customer journey. Not only does this allow you to process orders faster during the busiest periods, but it also removes the risk of the sometimes costly human admin errors that can come naturally when there’s high demand. 

Opening up conversations around Christmas can also be helpful, especially if you have larger recurring customers and contracts. Discussing the peak season allows you to plot and plan, formulating your distribution strategy ahead of schedule. 

This, along with having the right tech in place for when one of the busiest periods of the year hits, allows you to streamline orders and reduce errors. Most importantly, tech enables you to maximise the opportunity that surrounds this peak period, so you don’t end up with dead stock or the inability to fulfil orders. 

Summer sales strategy 

Summer is in full swing, and things are already hotting up for many online retailers. Consider packaging up products with summer in mind when thinking about your strategy plan. Certain products such as sunglasses, fans and sportswear, naturally seem more appealing in the hotter months. Put these particular items at the front and centre of your marketing efforts and across your website. It can help to list items under certain themes such as summer, much like Amazon does when it comes to peak periods. 

Thinking about your customer journey is also key throughout the summer months. Shopping experiences should be hassle-free and so should getting in touch with retailers. Research suggests that 40% of survey respondents said that they are happy to be contacted by chatbots when seeking help online. Deploying a chatbot strategy could be key to maximising your time when it comes to responding to common questions, where customers are also looking for efficiency so they can enjoy the great outdoors!

Following this, it’s the picking, packing and shipping processes involved in summer fulfilment that should be handled with care. Technologies available such as order management software, ensures users are alerted in real-time when a new order comes in and, information will automatically be sent to warehouse operatives – allowing them to pick and pack the order as quickly and as accurately as possible.

Black Friday 

Black Friday, also known as Cyber Week, is one of the most anticipated sales periods for online retailers. Having your ecommerce store set up for an influx of sales this November should be a top priority that you’re already starting to think about. 

One of the things that is helpful to do early on, is getting as many customer reviews and testimonials on site by the time this busy period rolls around. Purchase decisions are often made by reading through other user experiences. Customers have lots of sites to choose from when it comes to Black Friday sales and this is a great way to educate them and support them with purchase decisions. 

Another top tip is to always have a range of payment methods available on site, so that you can reach a wider range of people when it comes to potential sales. You should also have strong delivery options and an easy returns policy, so that customers can purchase with ease. 

Implementing a multi-courier strategy, rather than working with a sole courier will allow eCommerce businesses to offer more flexibility and options. Using more than one dedicated courier will also help to keep costs down. 

If you opt to implement an order management system with pre-built courier integrations, then working with multiple couriers won’t even add to your admin burden. These pre-built integrations seamlessly connect with all the data within your platform, allowing it to automatically select the best courier for the job, based on rules you define (delivery date, product value, delivery location etc.) 

Post-Covid service levels in peak seasons

Covid-19 had big impacts on order management, fulfilment and delivery processes  across the world but now customers are no longer accepting Covid-19 as an excuse for late delivery. Poor customer service and a general lack of efficiency in the order process are not so widely tolerated. Post-Covid-19, shoppers are now spending less online but demanding better service when they do. According to a new study, two-thirds said they had noticed an increase in customer service problems at point of purchase and/or delivery since the pandemic began. 

Peak sale periods are a real test on how effective a retailer’s order management and warehouse management systems are in meeting the high demands of customers. This is something that is crucial for retailers to get right, with 63% of customers stating poor delivery would stop them returning to a company. 

Implementing technology such as a consolidated order management system can help retailers handle an increase in order demand, whether that’s supporting warehouse employees, or customer service teams during seasonal peaks. A sound order management system provides real-time data and displays achievable KPI’s, therefore reducing any errors and miscommunication in times where demand is high and retailers have to act quickly.