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How search engines work: A simple explanation

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Want to know how search engines work? You are one of the few in the world. Knowing how these big giant information retrievers work, can help you on your internet marketing journey.

After I decided to write about this topic, memories of my senior years at school came back.

I remembered my lecturer, Mr Akinsola who was lecturing one of the subjects that included SEO. I came to understand SEO and search engines for the first time in that semester. I was more interested in how search engines work, that topic never left my mind.

Fast forward years later, here I am, writing about one of the most interesting subjects I did in school.

Anyway, enough about me and my memories. You’ve probably used a few search engines in your time. Which could be one of the reasons why you’re here.

Did you take some time and think about how search engines work? If you have then, that’s great.

I know and understand that there’s only a few people who really have a good idea about search engines. But that might be because some of them never got a chance to learn about them.

While some of us use search engines all the time, we never want to understand them. We have gotten so used to search engines that it has become difficult to live without them.

You just open your browser, enter the URL of your preferred search engine and type whatever keyword phrases you want and voila. Then there’s related information in front of you.

During that time you might have not known that a search engine crawler went through billions of web pages located in various data centers around the world. Analyzing those pages or indexing them and selecting the most relevant results.

Anyway we’ll get to that later.

What is a search engine?

Before we even go deeper in trying to understand how search engines work. We have to understand it is a search engine.

A search engine is an online tool that helps you query for any type of information and it will display results related to your search.

Those results are displayed on a Search Engine Results Pages or SERPs.

In those SERPs there are thousands of search results if not millions that you can select from.

The top search engines include Google, Bing, Yahoo and MSN

There are other search engines besides these ones, you can find them and learn about them.

How do search engines work?

A search engine uses an algorithm that crawls different web pages stored in different servers around the world. It crawls these web pages based on the keywords provided by the user. One one of the reasons why you should choose your keywords based on your research prior to writing your content.

There are two algorithms used by search engines, the on page and the off page algorithms.

The on page algorithm works in on page seo while the off page work in the off page seo technique.

After crawling the web pages it indexes related results and displays them on SERPs.

Other words that you will hear about in the search engine field are terms like spiders, robots and crawlers.

Spiders, Robots, and Crawlers

A spider, robot or a crawler is a software that is designed to crawl web pages one at a time based on the hyper-links on those pages. This robot goes around the internet collecting content from web pages

The search engine term is used to describe two or three types of crawlers, which are Crawler Based, Human Based and the third one could be Hybrid search engine.

These crawlers are the ones that determine how search engines work.

The Crawler Based Search Engine – When searching the web the crawlers create an automatic list for those search results. If you change your web page the crawlers can find those changes and if you rank high on search engines then you might want to consider re-optimizing that page.

Human Powered Directory – Human depended search engine that filters through short descriptions submitted by humans.

Making changes to your content or your web pages can either help your rankings or kill it.  That[‘s how search engines work, make sure you make relevant changes to your site. Also make sure your results do not get affected in terms of the directory, the search result remains.

After crawling the internet for a user’s search, the search engines indexes the information by saving the found content on the search engines data centers. The crawlers look for new and precise content all the time.

Search engines are connected to various larger databases around the world. Those databases contain unique URLs of different web pages.

Each web page is ranked differently based on multiple features that it has. The features are given a quality score.

The features include keywords on the page title, meta description tag, internal, external links, accessibility, page structure and more.

All of those features fall under search engine optimization or also known as SEO.

Search Engine Optimization is a technique used by search engines to rank web pages on SERPs.

For you to be good in search engine optimization you might have to have clear knowledge on how search engine optimization works.

I would like to keep this article as short as possible. I just want to give a brief explanation on how search engines work.

Understanding the basic stuff about search engines will help you in your internet marketing or starting your own blog.

If there’s something you want to add or are willing to share please do so.

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