How Do Search Engines work?

Everything You Need to Know about How Search Engines work…

Nothing’s more overwhelming than managing SEO these days when it is getting more and more elusive. When your career is vastly dependent on the digital space, you ought to understand search engines’ basics— how they work, what they are, etc.

Having a detailed understanding of how search engines work allows you to adjust your blog or website according to its obligations. Not only that, but you may also have several added privileges.

This guide will answer every basic thing you should know about search engines. Do you know that Google alone handles more than 2 trillion searches per year?

What Is a Search Engine? Search engines are software programs that allow people to find the information they are looking for just at their fingertips. Search engines are prompt in showing results by indexing pages or scanning millions of publicly available websites online. The whole process is managed by complex algorithms which ensures a list of relevant websites at the top. When a user searches for a specific term, search engines show results according to the specific keywords, page title, and content.

The Development Of Search Engine Archie Query Form Introduced in 1990, Archie Query Form was the first search engine. It was a simple tool that was only limited to FTO sites and had no other special features. (FTO – Freedom To Operate – This only focuses on patented material.)

BackRub Introduced in 1996, BackRub was the predecessor of Google. It was based on basic principles of backlinks and the PageRank algorithm which has been used till date.

Google Founded in 1998, Google is the popular and dominant search engine in the world to date. The immense popularity of Google lies in its fast-loading relevant results, consistent boost, and a few more free services.

With the overpowering digital transformation, people these days vastly rely on online sources to solve any of their queries. What to buy, ways to expand our knowledge, ideas on things to do for fun.. Search engines could accompany us anytime – of course with an active internet connection.

Search engines can promote your brands through their website with adequate search engine optimization strategies (SEO).

Each search engine operates differently, but the basics keep the same. As said before, search engines are complex computer programs. The whole process is mainly based on three stages— discovering the information, organizing them, and thirdly, ranking. Technically these three stages are termed: crawling, indexing, and ranking.

Step 1: Crawling – Each search engine contains plenty of computer programs called web crawlers (aka. spiders). Their job is to find information that is publicly available on the internet. Let’s make it easier for you. Crawlers scan the internet and find web servers and hosting websites. For better crawling, they create a list of web servers and the number of websites hosted by each server. Then they visit different websites using different techniques and discover the number of pages available on the websites— whether they contain texts, images, videos, or any other format (HTML, CSS, JavaScript, etc). Besides taking note of the pages, they follow links (external links) of the websites to discover more pages. They continuously follow this cycle to keep track of the changes made to the websites (such as new pages, links, etc).

What can you do for better crawling?

Step 1: ● Add more pages to increase visibility in the SERP. ● Practice search engine optimization (SEO).

Step 2: Indexing. When indexing, search engines don’t store all the information discovered on the pages. As per their algorithms, search engines keep things like the date and time of the pages, title, and description, specific content associated with the keywords, incoming/outgoing links, etc.

Step 3: Ranking. The third and final stage decides which pages to show in the SERP as per a specific query. The process involves complex algorithms. Algorithms are an amalgamation of rules and analysis that ensures user experience by providing relevant web pages.

How Do Search Engine Algorithms Work? How search engine algorithms work is tricky. Day by day, algorithms are getting more complicated. Unlike in the earlier internet world, when queries were answered based on matching titles of the pages. This process has now become very complex. It is inferred that Google considers 255+ factors before making it rank on the first page. These factors are yet to be cracked out, but assumptions are made continuously.

Let’s have a basic idea of how search engines’ algorithms work.

Step 1: Analyze user query. The first step involves understanding the query made by the user— what information he/she is looking for? To understand it better, they break it down into relevant keywords. Not only that, but search engines also detect spelling errors and suggest exact queries of the grammatically correct keywords. This whole process has been made easier by the latest evolution in machine learning. Suppose if you search ‘how to make homemade chocolate’, search engines first decode the words ‘how to’. They certainly know that you are looking for instructions on how to make homemade chocolates. Within a few seconds, you’ll see a list of cooking websites that specifically answer your query.

Step 2: Finding matching pages – The next step involves indexing correct pages that answer the specific query. The process is necessary for both search engines and website owners. Whereas the search engine aims to provide results as fast as possible to keep their user happy and boost website owners. This is the process when an SEO expert can influence the decision made by the algorithm.


There are a few factors you can ensure to favor algorithms: Title and content relevancy: Does the title and content of the page conforms to the user query? Type of content: Shows specific results that the user is searching for. Quality of the content: Content should be plagiarism-free, useful and informative, unbiased, and factually correct. Quality of the blog: The blog should meet the standard of search engines. Date of publication: It is fundamental for news-related queries whereas search engines often favor the latest data. Popularity: Search engines favor pages that have a large number of references (backlinks) rather than pages with no links. An example of a backlink would be creating accounts and posts across the internet with your business name & URL. Another would be getting hosted as a guest speaker on an influencers page. The higher quality backlink you have, and more you show up across the web the more you become trusted. Page speed: Search engines prefer pages that load very fast. Device type: Search engines like pages that are mobile-friendly as most of the users browse through mobile devices and every search engine would never want to spoil user experience. Location and language: For a better location-based user experience, search engines favor pages that match the user’s specific location and language.

Why Should You Care How Search Engine Algorithms Work? The reason is simple— you’ll get huge traffic to your website and make conversions when it ranks #1.

It is proven that the majority of the users, including mobile and desktop, click one of the top five results of the search engines. Getting ranked on the top is ever rewarding rather than being left behind on the second page.

Understanding how search engine algorithms work allows you to adjust your website and increase your rankings and traffic.

What Are The Most Popular Search Engines? There are hundreds of search engines available in the world but a few of them have ruled the search engine market. Some of the top 5 search engines are:

1. Google

2. Microsoft Bing

3. Yahoo!

4. Yandex

5. Baidu

Google alone covers over 90% share worldwide. Google is owned by its parent company Alphabet and powers other search engines like Managed by sophisticated algorithms, Google provides effective crawling and accurate search results.

Microsoft Bing With 2-3% of the market share, Bing is the second most popular search engine in the world. It is a great option for those who drive for a new experience. Bing resembles almost similar features to Google. Bing is also efficient in crawling and indexing. Exception is— Bing uses a special algorithm called Space partition Tree and Graph.

Yahoo! With a 2% market share, Yahoo is the third most popular search engine in the world. Once Yahoo ruled the world, which over the last few years have been overshadowed by Google.

Yandex Yandex (yet another index) is highly popular in eastern countries and holds 1% market share worldwide. Yandex is widely used in Russia and Turkey with over 60% of all searches in the countries.

Baidu Baidu is widely popular in China with 1% market share worldwide. Domestically, it holds over 80% market share in China. Baidu’s features are almost same as Google’s and endlessly deliver relevant results.

Lastly, search engines are way more complex than they appear in their interfaces. As they are run by computer programs, they require a large amount of data to operate automatically.

Human intervention is required only when it comes to designing but it has now become easier with artificial intelligence. As a webmaster, your job is to make their crawling and indexing process easier through creating websites.

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