Chris London

How do Search Engines work?

It is important to understand how search engines work. This includes the process of crawling and indexing, plus the concept of page rank as well.

Search engines work by crawling billions of web pages using their own web crawlers or web spiders. These web crawlers are also known as Search engine bots.

Understanding Search Engine Index

Once a webpage is discovered by a search engine, they are added into a search engine data structure which is called index. Search engine index includes all the crawled web URLs along with several important key elements about the content of each web URL such as:

  • The keywords
  • Type of content
  • Uniqueness of the page
  • User engagement with the page

Understanding Search Engine Algorithm

The search engine algorithm aims to display a relevant set of high-quality search results that will fulfill the user’s search query as quickly as possible.

What Happens When a Search Query is Entered?

When a search query is entered into the search engine by a potential user, the search engine tries to identify all the pages which are deemed relevant.
During this process, the search engine uses a special algorithm to hierarchically rank the most relevant pages into a set of results. The algorithm which is used to rank the most relevant web pages differs for each search engine.

For example, a web page that ranks on the top for a search query in Google may not rank highly for the same query in Bing.

Below are a few elements search engines use to return the results.

  • Search query
  • Location
  • Language detected
  • Previous search history
  • Device from which the search query was entered

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