How Does Search Engines Work – SEO Guide 101 for Beginners

Published on January 28, 2021

Search engines explore, understand, and organize the Internet’s contents to offer website users relevant results to their search queries. In other words, they are search machines.

If you aim for a higher rank on the search engine results page, your content should be visible to the search engine first. It’s an essential factor in SEO– if your website is not recognized, it will never show up on the results page.

How do search engines work?

The search engine has three primary functions:

  1. Crawl: Search engine explores the Internet for content. It looks at the code or content for each URL they discover.
  2. Index: After the crawling process, the search engine store and organize the content. When a page is indexed, it can be displayed on the search page as a relevant result.
  3. Rank: Provide the content that bests answer the queries of the searcher. The search engine orders the results by the most relevant to the latest relevant content.


What does crawl mean in search engines?

The search engine sends out crawlers or spiders to look for new and updated content. The content they will look for varies– it can be a webpage, image, video, PDF, and the like. Regardless of the format, the search engine crawlers will discover the content through links.

The Google bots will start on a few web pages, and if there are links linked on the webpage, they will follow it to find new URLs. As the crawlers hop on the link network, they will discover new content and add them to their index– Caffeine. Caffeine is a large database of discovered URLs. The URLs are retrieved from the index when a searcher seeks the information found on the URL.

How do search engines index your webpage?

When the search engine has crawled your webpage, ensure that they will index it. Yup, that’s right! Not all webpages that are recognized and crawled by the search engine are indexed. The index or Caffeine is where all the discovered pages are stored.

After a crawler discovers a page, the search engine renders it the same way a browser would. The search engine will analyze the contents of the page and store all the information on the index.

How are URLs ranked in search engines?

Search engines ensure that their users will have the relevant results when they type a query by ranking the indexed pages. The pages are ranked by the most relevant to the least relevant to a particular search query.

Search engines use an algorithm, a combination of process and formula, to determine a web page’s relevance. The algorithms have been updated several times over the years to improve the quality of search results.

Do not stress yourself in knowing every detail of Google’s algorithm. What you need to do is have a great foundation of how a search engine works. If you have this knowledge, you can easily progress to other SEO factors.


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