How Search Engines Google, Yahoo, and MSN Works? [Explained]

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Crawler to Algorithm to Answers.

web bots

The first basic truth you need to know to learn SEO is that search engines are not humans. While this might be obvious for everybody, the differences between how humans and search engines view web pages aren’t. Unlike humans, search engines are text-driven.
Although technology advances rapidly, search engines are far from intelligent creatures that can feel the beauty of a cool design or enjoy the sounds and movement in movies. Instead, search engines crawl the Web, looking at particular site items (mainly text) to get an idea what a site is about. This brief explanation is not the most precise because as we will see next, search engines perform several activities in order to deliver search results –crawling, indexing, processing, calculating relevancy, and retrieving.

Here is How Search Engine Works? [Video]

First, search engines crawl the Web to see what is there and this task is performed by a piece of software, called a Crawler or a Spider (or Googlebot, as is the case with Google). Spiders follow links from one page to another and index everything they find on their way. Having in mind the number of pages on the Web (over 20 billion), it is impossible for a spider to visit a site daily just to see if a new page has appeared or if an existing page has been modified, sometimes crawlers may not end up visiting your site for a month or two.

How does Google Search work? [Video]

What you can do is to check what a crawler sees from your site. As already mentioned, crawlers are not humans and they do not see images, Flash movies, JavaScript, frames, password-protected pages and directories, so if you have tons of these on your site, you’d better run the Spider Simulator below to see if these goodies are viewable by the spider. If they are not viewable, they will not be spidered, not indexed, not processed, etc. – in a word they will be non-existent for search engines.

search engines robots

Google, Yahoo!, and MSN web crawler/bots crawling a web page.

After a page is crawled, the next step is to index its content. The indexed page is stored in a giant database, from where it can later be retrieved. Essentially, the process of indexing is identifying the words and expressions that best describe the page and assigning the page to particular keywords. For a human it will not be possible to process such amounts of information but generally search engines deal just fine with this task. Sometimes they might not get the meaning of a page right but if you help them by optimizing it, it will be easier for them to classify your pages correctly and for you – to get higher rankings.

When a search request comes, the search engine processes it – i.e. it compares the search string in the search request with the indexed pages in the database. Since it is likely that more than one page (practically it is millions of pages) contains the search string, the search engine starts calculating the relevancy of each of the pages in its index with the search string.

There are various algorithms to calculate relevancy. Each of these algorithms has different relative weights for common factors like keyword density, links, or metatags. That is why different search engines give different search results pages for the same search string. What is more, it is a known fact that all major search engines, like Yahoo!, Google, Bing, etc. periodically change their algorithms and if you want to keep at the top, you also need to adapt your pages to the latest changes. This is one reason (the other is your competitors) to devote permanent efforts to SEO, if you’d like to be at the top.

The last step in search engines’ activity is retrieving the results. Basically, it is nothing more than simply displaying them in the browser – i.e. the endless pages of search results that are sorted from the most relevant to the least relevant sites.

ABC of Search Engine’s Work Process:

  • Crawling –  search engines navigate the web to crawl (reading content) the webpages by following links from page to page.
  • Indexing  – search engines sort the web pages by their content, category, location types of website and many other factors.
  • algorithm – search algorithm is a very much complex mathematical formula to deliver relevant and accurate result of user search query get to work looking for clues to better understand what you mean.
  • google search bot

Google’s Crawling & Indexing & Algorithms [Explained]

The journey of a search query starts before you ever type a search, with crawling and indexing the web of trillions of documents saved in google database.

Finding information by crawling

Google use software known as “web crawlers” to discover publicly available webpages. The most well-known crawler is called “Googlebot.” which is developed by Google. web crawlers look at webpages and follow links on those web pages, same as we do when we browse content on the web. They go from link to link and bring data about those webpages and save  to Google’s servers.

Organizing information by indexing

The web is like an ever-growing public library with billions of books (website) but not organized properly. search engines like google collect  the pages during the automatically crawl process and then creates an index  like the index in the starting page of a book, the index includes information about words and websites locations and many other information. When people search, at the most basic level,  algorithms look up  search terms in the index to find the appropriate pages to show on  search result page (SERP’s) of a search engine.

Search Algorithm Process

You want the answer, not trillions of webpages just your answer? Algorithms are complex computer programs that look for clues to give you back exactly what you want to search.

algorithms are the computer processes and formulas that take your questions and turn them into answers. Today Google’s algorithms rely on more than 200 unique signals or “clues” that make it possible to guess what you might really be looking for. These signals include things like the terms on websites, the freshness of content, your region, website popularity, user engagment on sites and many more.

The Evolution of Search

Gooogle goal is to get you to the answer you’re looking for faster from their million of site’s index,  this is creating a seamless connection between searchers and the knowledge they seek.

Watch The Evolution of Search? [Video]


Choice for website owners

Most websites don’t need to set up restrictions for crawling, indexing or serving to search engines, so their pages are eligible to appear in search results without having to do any extra work. bcouse serach bots automatically crawls websites and save to their database.  site owners have many choices about how Search Engins’s crawls and indexes their sites through a file called “robots.txt”.

Conclusion: If you’re looking to deepen your understanding of how search works and has evolved [Watch This Video] Everything is in process of search is automatically Search Engines has developed software called bots, crawler or spider they automatically read and download websites in their database and they also have algorithm program which decide which page to rank when a user perform search query as well as fighting spam means they remove scrap and irrelevant or no added value content from their database automatically.

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aarif habeeb

Aarif Habeeb has over 2 years of Digital Marketing experience & is a Digital Marketing Strategist and Technical Content writer .

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