How Search Engine Operate

An illustartion of how search engine operates

In our previous blog posts, we’ve been talking about SEO, SEO ranking and Quality Content. But we totally forgot to explain how search engine operate, and this brings us to this post. Bevenny Creations is going to give you a brief history about search engine, how they operate, and why do we need them.

History of the search engine

It all started back in 1990 with Archie Query Form, I don’t know if any of you young folks know about this. But anyway, Archie searched FTP sites to create index of downloadable files. Since they had limited storage space, they only listed downloadable files and not the content of each site.

A few other search engines followed after-suit, from the year of 1991 to 1994 when Yahoo Search was introduced to the world. Then in 1998, we had MSN search and Google entering the search engines race for dominance. Even till today, there are still new search engines entering the race. But at the moment, Google is number one is most parts of the world.

I guess, you are still wondering what the hell is a search engine, and why is it so damn important? Don’t worry cause we are going to answer all these and more questions for you.

What is a search engine

They are programs that search documents for specified keywords and returns a list of the documents where the keywords were found. A search engine is really a general class of programs, however, the term is often used to specifically describe systems like Google, Bing and Yahoo! Search that enable users to search for documents on the World Wide Web.

To make this a bit easier for you to understand, let’s use the yellow pages as an example of the search engine. Yellow Pages index all telephone directory of businesses and people. It was the best search engine you could thing about in 1883, until the web search engine took over. So now, you can understand that search engines index content of the internet, making them easier to find.

How does it work

It works by sending out a spider to fetch as many documents as possible. Another program, called an indexer, then reads these documents and creates an index based on the words contained in each document. Each search engine uses a proprietary algorithm to create its indices such that, ideally, only meaningful results are returned for each query.

The term spider means a web crawler. Web crawler visits a web page, it makes a copy of it and adds its URL to an index. Once this is done, the web crawler follows all the links on the page, repeating the process of copying, indexing and then following the links. It keeps doing this, building up a huge index of many web pages as it goes.

How do they rank pages

Page ranking is the best known algorithm which is used to improve web search results. In simple terms, page ranking is a popularity contest. The more links that point to a web page, the more useful it will seem. This means it will appear higher up in the results.

The web pages on the first page of search results are those that ranking algorithm thinks are the best. But that isn’t all, because they also pay attention to lots of other ‘signals’ when working out the order to show you results. For example how often the page is updated and if it is from a trustworthy domain.

There are many search engines to choose from. Different search engines use different algorithms. This means that some sites will give their results in a different order, or they may even show completely different results altogether.

Why do we need them

They are very useful for conducting researches, looking for help or even business information. Let’s just say, they are important for knowledge management. Also many website owners rely on search engines to send traffic to their website, and entire industry has grown around the idea of optimizing Web content to improve your placement in search engine results.

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