Index Definition & Meaning

What Is An Index?

An index is a database used by a search engine to store information for all the websites it has crawled on the Internet. Users cannot find web pages through a search engine if the content is not in the index database. Also known as a search index.

Search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing can only display results from websites included in the index database. An index contains a site’s URL, videos, text, or images posted on a website as well as all other information included in its HTML code.

Algorithms analyze this data when calculating the post’s relevance for a search term by attempting to understand which content holds the most value for the searcher’s query. All search rankings are based on index data analysis.

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Google and other search engines with global coverage have country and local indexes that help display the most relevant results for a specific country, region, or city.

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Go to the SEO Glossary to find more terms and definitions that relate to the field of search engine optimization.