The Working Of A Search Engine

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The Working Of A Search Engine

The Working Of a Search Engine

September 27, 2017 , Ittisa

As the name suggests, a search engine is basically a program that has been designed for Internet users to search the World Wide Web for relevant information based on the keywords entered in the search bar. The most common search engines include Google, Yahoo and Bing.

Search Engine working

There may be slight variations in the way each search engine works, but generally, a search engine has three main functions:

  • Searching the Internet for information based on words
  • Listing the information and where it was found in the form of an index
  • Displaying the relevant results to users when they search for those words or phrases

Making of the Index

Tiny computer programs, known as web crawlers or spiders, have the job of browsing the Internet and storing information from every page that it visits. These programs usually start with the very popular pages and the ones having heavily-used servers.

Search engine page indexing

When visiting a new page, the web crawler copies the URL of that page in the index. Then, it follows the rest of the links on the same page and repeats the process of copying and listing. Gradually a very big index, carrying information of numerous web pages is formed. This information is then provided to the search engines that bring you the results of your search.

There are some sites the web crawler does not have access to, most probably because those pages use computer codes to prevent the crawler from reading them. This is done to ensure that certain personal information like bank account details is not revealed to anyone using the search engine.

Getting the results

On a daily basis, a search engine receives millions of pages from web crawlers. It sorts pages accordingly and shows you the results in the order that it thinks will be the most useful. The most popular search engine, Google uses an algorithm known as PageRank, which is used for improving search results on the Internet.


The more the number of links referring to a certain webpage, the more important that page becomes for PageRank. Apart from this, other aspects like time-to-time updation of pages and whether the domain is trustworthy or not is also taken into consideration by the search engine before providing any results.

While the basic process remains the same for all search engines, due to slight differences in operation, the results may vary. As you type a keyword in the search bar, the search engine will sort through millions of pages stored in the index to find the match to your question – all in just a few seconds.

Getting results on a search engine seems to be very simple and millions of users use a search engine to get answers to their queries every day. However, the working of a search engine is not that simple. It involves a minutely detailed process and methodology, which needs to be updated time and again in order to remain relevant.

If you have any questions on search engines or how to use search engine optimization to improve your business, drop us a message and we’ll get in touch with you.

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