Search engines are computer algorithms that help users find the specific information they are looking for on the web. The most commonly used search engines are Google, Yahoo, Bing, Yandex, Baidu among others.
Google accounts for around 67% of the web searches making it the most popular. They use automated software known as robots or spiders to follow links to websites and harvest information as they go. The engines have two primary functions; Crawling and building an index and providing users with a ranked list of the most relevant webpages.
How do search engines work?
When someone submits a query to search engines, the engine returns a list of sites ranked according to the relevance of the keywords used in the search query. The manner in which the search engines access your site and determine the significance of the words often depend on how the specific search engine works. Some engines make use of artificial intelligence to recognize concepts that frequently appear together while others list the most popular site first.
There is no any assurance that your site will come up on top in a search rank. After all, we can never all come up on top! However, there is some kind of optimization that you can do to your site to increase the chances and probability of your website appearing on the first page of Google and other search engines.
What is crawling?
Crawling is where it all begins. – It is the acquisition of data about a website. Search engines use software known as “web crawlers” to discover publicly available webpages. Crawlers look at webpages and follow the link on those pages, much like you would if you were browsing content on the web. The crawlers go from link to link and bring data about those webpages back to the particular search engine’s server.
The crawl process typically begins with a list of web addresses and sitemaps that are provided by the website owner. The crawlers visit these sites and look for links to other pages to visit. They pay special attention to new sites, dead links and changes to existing sites. Website owners should not set restrictions for crawling, indexing and serving so that their pages can be eligible to appear in the search results without extra crawling work.
What about Indexing?
Indexing is the process of taking all of the data you have from a crawl and placing it in a big database. The engine gathers the pages during the crawl process and creates an index so that it can know exactly how to look things up. The search engine then includes information about the words and their locations. When you perform a basic search, the algorithms look up your search in the index to find the appropriate pages.
Ranking and Retrieval
Ranking and Retrieval is the last step. When you type anything in a search query, the search engine attempts to display the most relevant information that match your query. The ranking algorithms check your search query against billions of pages to determine how relevant each one is. This information is so complex that companies carefully guard their ranking algorithms as patented industry secrets.