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How search engines work


Hi there. Let’s discover more about
how search engines work. We’ll give you the basics on how
search engines find web pages, what they do with the pages they find and how they decide
what results to show. When you’re using a search engine
to find the closest coffee shop, you’re probably not thinking
about the technology behind it all. But later you might wonder
how did that search engine do that? How did it sort through
the entire Internet so quickly and choose the result
you saw on the page? Each search engine uses
its own software program, but they all work in a similar way. They all perform three basic tasks. First, they examine the content
they learn about and have permission to see; that’s called crawling. Second, they categorize each piece
of content; that’s called indexing. And, third, they decide
which content is most useful to the searchers;
that’s called ranking. Let’s take a closer look
at how these work. Search engines crawl the internet
to discover content, like web pages, images and videos. Each search engine uses computer programs
to make their way through the pages. These are known as crawlers, spiders or bots,
which is short for robot. The bots hop from page to page
by following links to other pages. These bots never stop. Their sole purpose is to visit
and revisit pages, looking for new links
and new content to include in the index. Indexing is the second part
of the process. The index is a gigantic list
of all the web pages and content found by the bots. The search engine uses this index
as a source of information displayed on the search results pages, but not everything the bot finds makes
it onto a search engine’s index. Search engines may find multiple copies
of the exact same piece of content located on different websites. Is that even possible?
Well, here’s an example. Imagine you’re not searching
for a coffee shop but a coffee maker. You might notice that the top-of-the-line
Coffee King 2000 has the same word-for-word description
on the websites of many major retailers. The description might have been
provided by the manufacturer, but now the search engine has a decision
to make as to which version to keep in the index. There’s no need for hundreds
of duplicates so it’s unlikely that every page will be added. So what if you own a website
that’s selling coffee makers? You’re likely better off writing your own
description of the Coffee King 2000. Makes sense? Right, that covers crawling and indexing,
which just leaves us with ranking. Think about what happens
after you type in a search. The search engine compares the words
and phrases to its index and looks for matching results. But what if it brings up hundreds
of millions of matching results? This is where its next
important task kicks in: ranking. The way search engines rank
pages is top secret. It’s kind of their special source. There are literally hundreds of ways
search engines determine rank, including things like words on the page,
the number of other websites linking to it and the freshness of the content. But no matter what formula they use
to determine rank, the goal remains the same to try and connect the searcher
with what they are looking for. Say you’ve read about an Australian
style cappuccino called a flat white, and you want to try it. If you search
for “flat white coffee near me,” the search engine will show you
nearby shops selling the drink because your search indicated
your location. You might even see a map
to help you find them. So just to remind you, search engines are
constantly working to scour the web for content, organize it and then display
the most relevant results to searchers. Understanding how this process works can
come in really useful to your business. as you try to climb higher
in those important search results.

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