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What are search engines and how do they work

What Are Search Engines, and How Do They Work?

Some people wonder about the history of search engines, what they are and what was the first search engine? They began when a student called Alan Emtage created the first one, "Archie," in 1990. Alan inspired the name from the word "Archives." When the idea of them went viral successfully, other advanced ones appeared. In this post, seobase will give you a closer insight into what are search engines and how it works, what's the algorithm, what is search engine optimization (SEO), and many other important questions to answer in the next few lines. 


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What is a search engine?

It is an online tool that allows people to search for websites on the internet to find information by typing in keywords and phrases. These keywords are called "search terms." they are also known as "web crawlers" because they crawl through web pages looking for relevant information.  The search engine is based on the user's search query, uses its database and sorts them to find a list of results on the search engine results page (SERPs), answering the user's question. It does this entire process using its algorithms. Today, they are used to finding almost everything online. You can use them to find products, services, jobs, news, events, and even other websites. There are two main types: general-purpose and specialized. 

  • General-purpose: is designed to give users access to as much information as possible.
  • Specialized: are designed to answer questions related to a particular subject.
how do search engines work

How do search engines work?

The way search engines provide results listings on SERPs differs from one engine to another, but in the end, they all work for one goal, which is to deliver answers in a manner based on 3 basic principles:

  • Crawling

Crawling is the first part of having a search engine identify your page and list it in results; crawling is the actual explorer of new webpages on the internet. The crawling process sends bots by Google or others to a web page or post and “reads” the page.  They use small programs called web crawlers (also known as bots or spider bots) that follow links from already known pages to the new ones that need to be discovered. However, having crawled pages does not necessarily mean your page is indexed. This brings us to the second stage, which is indexing.

  • Indexing

Indexing is the post-crawl process; it is a process of validation and storing the content from the web pages in the search engine’s database. Google indexes the web pages after it crawls them if it considers them worthy based on their algorithms.   At the indexing stage, Google decides which keywords your pages should rank for on the SERPs based on your SEO factors. In addition, any links on the indexed page are indexed for crawling by the Google Bot. 

  • Ranking

The ranking is the final step in your SERPs journey. Every search engine uses many SEO factors for ranking; it announces most of them for legitimate use and keeps the others confidential and not available to the public. You can use seobase online SERP checker tool to check your SERPs rank. Also, the seobase Rank Tracker tool will benefit you to track your keywords ranking on Google and others. 

What is a search engine algorithm

What is the algorithm?

A search engine algorithm is the set of rules that determines which results appear at the top of a search result list. Also, they call it the “algorithm” because it’s an algorithmic process. An algorithm is a series of steps a computer program follows to solve a problem.  The algorithm considers several factors when determining which sites should appear at the top of the list. These factors include things like;

  • Meaning of the query.
  • Page relevance.
  • Content quality.
  • Page usability. 

What is search engine optimization?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the practice of improving the visibility of websites within the organic results of major search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo!. This means ensuring that your website appears high up in the search results list returned by these search engines. There're many factors to optimize your content; SEO revolves around the 3 most important factors:

what search engines are used the most

What are search engines used the most?

Search engines were originally developed to help people find information on the Internet. Its main goal was to make finding information easier than ever before. 

  • Google

Google is the biggest search engine used the most in the world. Google overpowers the market with over 90% market share worldwide. In addition, Google adopts many complex algorithms for crawling, indexing, and ranking. Ranking depends on more complex SEO factors; it may know about some but not advertise others. Google penalties are among the most stringent penalties. Google does not tolerate the implementation of these penalties if you feel that you are using Black Hat SEO, which is illegitimate for Google.

  • Microsoft Bing

Bing is the second largest search engine after Google. Microsoft launched it in 2009. It is challenging to consider Bing a competitor to Google as it has 2-3% of the market share. However, it is still an excellent alternative for those who want to try an alternative to Google. It provides search results such as images, videos, places, maps, or news. Bing adopts the basic principles, such as; Crawling, indexing and sorting, and relies on its algorithm called Space Partition Tree And Graph, which relies on vectors to classify information and answer queries.

  • Yahoo!

Yahoo is the third-largest search engine in the world, with a total of 2% search engine market share. Previously, Yahoo was the most important and popular that dominated the Internet. Now, Yahoo is competing with the smaller ones like Bing or DuckDuckGo.


Search engines are websites that allow users to type in keywords and phrases and then return results based on those words. They use algorithms to determine which sites should rank higher for specific keywords. Reading this post gives you the required knowledge to know about what are search engine optimization and how do search engines work. seobase provides the best online SEO tools to help you rank in the SERPs. 

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