How a search engine works

Characteristics of Search - understanding how a search engine works helps you to understand how your pages are ranked by the search engine, but how your pages are found is another story entirely. That’s where the human element comes in. Search means different things to different people.

For example, one of my colleagues searches the Internet using the same words and phrases he would use to tell someone about a topic or even using the exact question that he’s trying to get answered. It’s called natural language. 

Another colleague, however, was trained in search using Boolean search techniques. She uses a very different syntax when she’s creating a search term. 

Each of these methods returns different search results, even when the same search engines are used.

The characteristics of search refer to how users search the Internet. This can be everything from the heuristics they use when creating a search term to the selection the user makes (and the way those selections are made) after the search results are returned. 

It is interesting to note that more than half of American adults search the Internet every time they go online; and in fact more people search the Internet than use the yellow pages when they’re looking for phone numbers or the locations of local businesses.

This wealth of search engine users is fertile ground for SEO targeting, and the better you understand how and why users use search engines, and exactly how search engines work, the easier it will be to achieve the SEO you’re pursuing.

But we have to understand the search engines and  what does a search engine do? Search engines have four main functions:
  • They crawl the Web (via spiders).
  • They index the Web documents and pages they find.
  • Search engines process user queries.
  • Finally, they return ranked results from the index.
A search engine is made up of a number of parts all working together:
  • A crawling spider, also known as a web crawler, robot or bot, is an automated indexing program. It goes from page to page, following links and indexing or recording what it finds.
  • The index is what the spider creates. It is a "library" of pages on the Internet and it consists of tens of billions of pages! The search engine creates databases for keywords, so it knows where to go to when a user enters a query.
  • The engine is the part that does the actual searching. Users input a search query by typing a keyword or phrase into the search bar. The engine then checks its index to find relevant pages and delivers them ordered from most relevant and important to least relevant and unimportant.
  • The SERP (search engine results page) is the ordered listing of results for the user's query. A SERP contains a description and link to the result.
Search engines can individually customize search results based on the user’s:
  • Recent search behavior
  • Location
  • Web history
  • Demographic information
  • Community
The major search engines use more than just keyword ranking to determine the order of results. Remember, they’re trying to deliver the most relevant listings possible for every search.

As a result, they’ve recently started taking this down to the individual-user level. With behavioral search and personalization, results revolve around users, not a single boiler plate algorithm.

Google, for one, tries to further understand searchers’ intentions by looking at their personal Web history, or the complete records of their previous Google searches and the Web sites they’ve visited or bookmarked.

How far back they go is unclear. It’s important to note that Google can only track your Web history while you’re signed in to your Google account.

Because the extra services like free e-mail and customizable home pages are truly wonderful, many people have these accounts and may not realize their surfing behavior is being recorded. Google does give you ways to block this, however.

I hope that this information is useful for all. thank you


  1. Thanks for sharing your info. I really appreciate your efforts and I will be waiting for your further write ups thanks once again.
    SEO tools


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