How Search Engine Works

How Search Engines Works

Either as a website owner or user, it is beneficial to know how search engines and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) works as it helps you improve your site or discover content faster as you navigate the internet.

Search engines are essentially answering machines. They are built to discover, coordinate, understand, and provide content on the internet to offer the most useful results to inquiries made by searchers.

To get your website up on search engines’ results, you have to provide content that is search engine optimized or seek an SEO agency’s service. Content ranks higher in essential requirements to get your site up in Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs). The question now is: How do search engines work?

Table of Content:

1. Search Engines Have Three Basic Functions

2. Search Engine Crawling

3. Search Engine Index

4. Search Engine Ranking

5. Can Search Engines Find Your Site?

6. How do Search Engines Interpret and Store Pages?

7. How do Search Engines Rank URLs?

8. What do Search Engines Look Out For?

9. Conclusion

Search Engines Have Three Basic Functions

  • Crawling: Comb the internet for relevant contents related to typed-in keywords
  • Indexing: Organize and store contents discovered while crawling. As soon as a page is in the index, it is ready to be shown as one result to the queries.
  • Ranking: Provide all contents that best answer the query; the results are well-ordered regarding relevance.

Search Engine Crawling

This is the search engine’s discovery process, whereby a team of robots (spiders or crawlers) is sent out to discover and update contents. Contents aren’t just written web posts; they are also videos, images, PDFs, etc. whichever format it is, content is discovered by links and relevance – which is where search engine optimization comes in.

Search Engine Index

Search engine bots process and store contents they find in an index, an enormous database of every content they’ve discovered, and qualified as good enough to serve search engine users.

Search Engine Ranking

Once a query is made on a search engine, the bots comb through their index for highly relevant content and then organize them to solve the user’s query. The organizing and sorting by relevance is what is known as search engine ranking, and that is where a typical SEO agency would pay close attention to by improving your website search engine optimization. Generally, you can conclude that the higher a website is ranked, the more relevant the site is to a query.

Can Search Engines Find Your Site?

As we’ve just discussed, ensuring your site gets crawled and indexed must be displayed in the SERPs. If you are already a website owner, it is a good idea to begin by checking how many of your web pages are in the search engine’s index. With this, you can get excellent insights into whether the search engine is crawling and discovering all of the pages you want it to find and the ones you don’t.

To check your indexed pages, you can use “,” an advanced search operator. You can easily do this on Google. The amount of results Google provides is usually not exact, but it gives you a great idea of which of your pages are indexed and how they currently appear on SERPs.

For more accurate results, you can consult an SEO agency. In a situation where the pages you prefer to be displayed are not being displayed, you should know that it is mostly dependent on the search optimization of that page. Also, if your pages aren’t displayed in SERPs, there are other few likely reasons:

  • Your website is seen as new and is yet to be crawled.
  • Your website is not linked to any other external sites.
  • Your website navigation makes it difficult for bots to crawl.
  • Your website includes some basic codes known as crawl directives that blocks search engines.
  • Google has sanctioned your site for using spam tactics.

How do Search Engines Interpret and Store Pages?

Once you are sure your site has been crawled, the next phase is to ensure that it can be indexed. This might sound surprising, but the fact that your site has been discovered doesn’t imply that it has been indexed (stored).

As soon as a crawler discovers a page, the search engine takes it as a browser would. In the process of crawling, the search engine analyzes the contents and then stores all the relevant pages relative to the query in the index.

How do Search Engines Rank URLs?

How do search engines ensure that all queries keyed-in get their relevant results? The answer is ranking or the sorting of search results by most relevant down to the least relevant. The contents usually ranked higher are contents that have undergone quality search engine optimization, usually done by an SEO agency.

To ascertain relevance, search engines make use of algorithms, formula, or process by which indexed information is retrieved and sorted in useful ways. These algorithms have undergone significant changes over the years to improve its quality in delivering relevant search results. For instance, Google makes algorithm adjustments every day. Although some of the adjustments are minor tweaks, some core algorithm updates are made, such as Penguin’s battle link spamming.

What do Search Engines Look Out For?

All search engines want the same thing: to provide searchers with the most relevant answers to their questions in an organized way. It has always been the case for years – this is their primary reason for existing. Since that’s the case, then why doesn’t it seem as though search engine optimization is different today than in the past?

When search engines where just being introduced, it was much easier for site owners to game the machine by using tactics and tricks that go against quality guidelines. For instance, in the past years, keyword stuffing could quickly get your page up on the search result’s first pages. This trick made users’ experiences on search engines terrible. People get bombarded with irrelevant information instead of getting relevant content related to their inquiry.

It might have worked in the past, but it won’t today.


You don’t need to know everything about Google’s and every other search engine algorithm – it’s still “top secret.” However, with quality search engine optimization from an SEO agency, you are way forward getting your pages on the first pages of SERPs.

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