How does a search engine work?

The amount of content on the internet is incredible. Search engines allow us to find specific information very quickly and easily. In under a few second, search engines scour through billions of web pages to deliver you the most relevant and up to date content available. To do this, search engines perform the following key functions:

  • Crawling the Web

  • Indexing and Organizing Content

  • Ranking Websites according to Relevancy

  • Crawl the Web again for Fresh Content

Search engines ‘crawl the web’ using automated robots. These ‘crawlers’ navigate the vast World Wide Web, discovering the fastest routes between web pages. Think of the internet as a suburb, with every PDF, JPG, web page or file representing a house. The roads in the suburb connect the houses, allowing people to drive between them. Similarly, a search engine uses links to efficiently navigate between web pages on the internet.


Indexing and Organizing Content

Every web page on the World Wide Web is connected by links that are used by search engine ‘crawlers’ to navigate the Internet. This vast pool of information must be organized so that search engines can produce relevant results quickly. To do this, search engines analyze the code of every web page and individual file on the internet. This indexed information is stored in data centers all over the world and accessed whenever a person types in a search query into a search engine.

Ranking Websites according to Relevancy

Search Engines deliver their results ordered according to their importance. This means that the web pages most relevant to your keywords searched will be found at the very top of the search engine results page.

Search Engine Optimization helps to influence the importance of a websites pages to make them appear more relevant to search engines.

There are more then 100 items within a website which can be modified to influence it’s relevance in search engine rankings.


How do Search Engines determine a websites Relevance?

Relevance is measured by how popular a website is. The more popular a website, the more likely it will be to rank well in the search engines. However popularity is difficult to measure, so search engines use more and more complex algorithms to assist them to identify the popularity of a website. 

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