How do Search Engines Actually Work?

Every online business understands the importance of getting ranked high on Google and other search engines. It helps them to reach customers easily, which in turn translates to more profit. But do you know how search engines operate?

Search engines are the basis for online marketing success, and yet so few actually know how it works. Therefore, in this article, you shall learn how it search engines work and how you can optimize its results to your

Crawling and Indexing

Search engines utilize robot ‘Crawlers’ that have 2 major functions: to Crawl through the web in search of websites and documents and to Index their findings for proper organization according to relevance. Crawlers go through billions of web pages and documents online, including files, media and videos. They also provide proper and timely answers to queries. Let us see how Crawling and Indexing work.

The World Wide Web can be like a subway, with every document or webpage connected by ‘links’. Links are also known as hyperlinks. When you click on a hyperlink on one page, you are taken to another page. It is not necessary that the second page would be of the same site. In fact, in most cases, you are linked to pages from different websites. ‘Links’ are really important as they bind documents, web pages and media files together.



This is where ‘Crawlers’ come in. They go through billions of documents online, decipher their codes and store small pieces of information in massive computers in special data enters which belong to the companies owning search engines such as Google. Now let’s say that you are searching for something on Google such as ‘pizza joints in new york’, the company’s monstrous machines start working going through thousans and millions of documents they store in order to arrive at a credible result for you.


Need for speed

You may have seen your search results came within a fraction of a second. When you are a search engine company like Google or Yahoo, speed is of essence. When search results take even more than 2 seconds, users may get dissatisfied and try something else.


An example

The results you get are given according to relevance and popularity. For instance, since you have searched for ‘pizza joints in new york’, you will be getting results of shops and restaurants in the city only. Secondly, the results shall be according to Popularity of these businesses and their websites.

How Crawlers deliver results according to Relevance and Popularity?

Now, you may be asking how search engines or their crawlers deliver results according to Relevance and Popularity. Thats a good question!

The first search engine’s operation was very basic. The results delivered back then was merely like going through a telephone directory. You got what you typed in. Back then if you had typed ‘pizza joints in new york’, you would have got every site having one or a combination of these keywords. In the end, such results were of no value.
Today, search engines are much more sophisticated. They assume if a website is popular, it must have relevant information. To find both popularity and relevance, engines apply complex algorithms.