How Search Engines Work: Crawling, Indexing, And Ranking

How Search Engines Work: Crawling, Indexing, And Ranking

What do you do when you need some information or have some queries? As the Gen Y or Gen Z, your first answer would be to ‘google it’. Then, what do you think Google is? ‘Google’ is a search engine, using which we search the internet. Searching on Google has become such a norm that the process itself came to be referred as ‘to google’. The word was added as a transitive verb in various dictionaries including the Oxford English Dictionary in 2006. In the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictianary, ‘google’ is defined as ‘to use the Google search engine to seek online information’. Now the question arises, what then is the Google search engine? I am sure you have a vague Idea, but let’s get into the details, shall we? 

What Is Search Engine?

A Search Engine is an answering machine, thus it is a tool which can be used to find answers for the queries entered in it by the user. There are a number of websites having numerous web pages which contain information, all put on the World Wide Web (WWW).  When a search is entered within the Search Engine, it finds relevant web pages from the WWW or Internet, then ranks them, and displays them on its results pages according to the rank. Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc. are examples of Search Engines.

Now that we know what Search Engines are, let’s get a look at how they actually work. I mean, normally we just type a query and a Search Engine immediately displays the results. But, today we’ll take a look at what all goes behind this process of taking in a query, and providing results. 

If you are wondering what is the need to have this information? Well if you are an internet user, you ought to know how it works. And if you are someone owning a website, you need to know how a Search Engine works so that you can try and become search engine friendly, and take necessary steps to as to be visible on the search engine results.

How Search Engines Work?

As mentioned earlier there are a large number of websites being developed and put on the Web. To find relevant websites to relevant queries is the main focus of any search engine (Note: By a search engine, we are mostly referring to Google search engine. Because, let’s be honest, Google is the search engine most preferred.) 

The search engines carry out 3 key process/functions so as to deliver search results, viz. – Crawling, Indexing and Ranking.

Crawling: Crawling is the first and foremost process carried out by the search engine, this is the process of discovery. Search engines have a team of crawlers/bots/spiders, which discover content which is uploaded and updated on the web. The content includes new web pages, web sites, or new changes made to the already existing ones such as adding of PDFs, images, videos, etc. They also use links in pages to find URLs. The content thus discovered by the crawlers is then added to their index i.e. Caffeine. The Caffeine is thus a large database of all the URLs found by the crawlers. When a search engine user searches for information, the URLs on Caffeine can be retrieved to check if the content within is a match for the query asked.

Indexing: Indexing is the next step after Crawling. The pages crawled by the bot are processed, organised and then interpreted by the search engine algorithm, after which they are indexed. The index i.e. Caffeine as mentioned above is a large index of the various words on every web page along with their location. It results in the database of an extremely large number of web pages. The indexed pages are then measured for their importance when compared to other similar pages, and ranked.

Ranking: Let’s be frank, ‘Ranking’ is the process of Search Engine which is the most interesting for a business. If businesses are to grow fast they need to be visible on the Search Engines to the users. The ranking of search engines determines that. 

When a user enters a search within the search box of a search engine, the search engines will scour and check the pages within the search engine index (Caffeine for Google), which are relevant to the search. The chosen web pages are ordered and given a score based on the relevance as well as a number of ranking parameters set by the search engine (It’s the Google Webmaster guidelines for Google). The web pages are then displayed on the result pages of the search engine in the same order/rank.

What Is Search Engine Optimization?

As a business, if your webpage is not able to rank higher on the Search Engine’s Result Page (SERP), you are as good as invisible. Ranking higher on the SERP is the requirement of a business website, and all the steps you take for this purpose i.e. to rank high on a Search Engine, is called as Search Engine Optimization.

Search Engine Optimization or SEO is the process of increasing the visibility of your website on a Search Engine. SEO ultimately is going to get you more traffic, more conversions, more sales, and more returns.

If you hire a well experienced and expert SEO Company, (Techasoft for example), it’ll take care of your all SEO needs, helping you to improve your rank on a Search Engine. This was all the basics of how How Search Engines Work. Now your task remains to make the Search Engines work for your business. All the best!

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