Web-sites, Web-pages and Search Engines.

As far as a search engine is concerned, a web-site is simply a set of interconnected web-pages in the same domain, each page containing content that the search engine can spider and put into its database.

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Most search engines consider all the pages in the same domain to be part of the same website. Some are smart enough to figure it if a particular domain contains more that one website.

Most search engines rank pages individually. When a query is made, they first find all the pages that match the query (ie: contain the words in the query), and then apply some ranking algorithm to determine which pages (in it's opinion) are most appropriate.

Other search engines (for example, Google) assign a rating to the entire website, and use that as a large part of the ranking algorithm. In Google's technique, for example, a website that a lot of other important sites link to, and that links to other important sites, is considered to be an important site (this sounds a little recursive, but it actually works quite well). So Google tends to show web pages from "authority" sites that match the query.

As Google is becoming one of the most important search engines on the net, getting a high ranking with them is a priority for a lot of folks. You do this by engaging in a linking campaign.

Note that indexes, because they don't spider your website, just contain a database entry consisting of what you submitted to them. If that matches the query, you appear in the results. Where you appear depends on what ranking critera the index is using. In the old days, it used to be alphabetical, but more and more, the top indexes are using some sort of ranking or popularity system to order their results.

Google, quite ingeniously, uses their website ratings data to sort the listings they use from the Open Directory index.

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