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January 28, 2023

How do search engines find and show results

Author imaage
Kiran Ramesh Hundaragi
Associate Growth Manager
How search engines find and show results

Information is constantly being created and uploaded to the internet. If it wasn't for search engines, we would have a very difficult time finding the information we need. Search engines are like the librarians and archivists of the internet, they help us find exactly what we're looking for.

What is a search engine?

There are many different types of search engines, but they all work in generally the same way. When you type something into a search engine, it uses special algorithms to scour the internet for content that is relevant to your query. It then ranks the results in order of relevancy and displays them on the screen.

The process of finding and ranking information is constantly being refined as search engines strive to provide users with the best possible experience

History & Development

The first search engine was developed in 1990 by Alan Emtage, a student at McGill University. The engine called ‘Archie’ was used to index FTP archives.

Over time, these programs evolved into sophisticated search engines like the ones we use today. Search engine algorithms became more complex and powerful, allowing them to scour not just webpages but also images, videos, and other types of content. 

Today's search engines are constantly learning from user data to provide an even better experience for searchers. They can use artificial intelligence to understand the intent behind queries and provide more personalized results that meet those needs

How exactly do they work?

Search engines have primarily two parts: an index and an algorithm. The index is like a library, it contains all the information that the search engine has found. The algorithm is how the search engine decides which results to show you. 

A search engine relies on these basic principles: 

  1. Crawling: The first step in any search engine is the crawling process. This involves scanning and indexing websites, finding new pages, and storing information about them in its database. 
  2. Indexing: Search engines use algorithms to sort all the content so that they can provide users with relevant results as quickly as possible.
  3. Ranking: Finally, once the pages have been processed and rendered, they need to be ranked according to different factors. After all, you can't just randomly show information to people without putting any thought into what should be shown first.

How Do Search Engines Choose What To Show You?

There are several ranking factors that influence the algorithm based upon which the results are displayed to you. Factors like the quality of content, number of backlinks to that page, etc. are taken into consideration before displaying a result. Search engines use complex algorithms to determine the relevancy and relevance of each page it has indexed so that you get only those relevant results that match your search query.  

Search engine algorithms have come a long way from the simple keyword-based searches of the early days. Today’s algorithms use artificial intelligence and natural language processing to understand the intent behind your query and provide more personalized results that meet those needs.

Some important factors are:

  1. Are the results relevant? Relevance is one of the most important factors in a successful search engine. Relevancy can mean different things to different people, so it’s up to the algorithm to decide what content best matches a query.  
  2. Are the results authoritative? Search engines also look for authority when ranking websites. They want to ensure that the results they show are from reliable sources.
  3. Are users satisfied? Engines track user data to get a better understanding of what people are looking for. If after visiting a website users keep on searching for results that implies they are probably not satisfied.
  4. Is the page frequently linked on other websites? Search engines also look at the number of other websites that link to a page. The more links pointing to a website, the higher it will rank in search results. 
  5. Is the content "fresh"? Search engines also prioritize fresh content. This means that websites with newer, more timely content will show up higher in the results than ones with outdated 
  6. Where is the user located? Search engines also take user location into account when displaying results. So if you’re searching for something in a specific city, the search engine will prioritize local businesses and websites in that area. Or if someone in Kenya searches for ‘news’, they will get different results than someone in Indonesia.
  7. Is the content easy to read and understand? Search engines also favor websites with well-written, high-quality content written in an accessible manner for readers who may not be as familiar with a topic. 
  8. Are the keywords relevant? The keywords that are used in the search query and on your web pages will also influence how your content is ranked. 
  9. How fast is the website? The speed at which your web pages load also plays a role in how well they rank in search engine results. The faster your page loads, the more likely it is to appear near the top of search results.
  10. Is the site Mobile friendly? Search engines prioritize websites that are optimized for mobile devices, so make sure your website looks good on all screens.

These are just some of the factors that search engines use to decide which pages get shown first – there are many others! By taking all these factors into account, search engines can provide the most relevant and helpful results while still giving you a well-rounded overview of what’s available online.

Search engine technology has come a long way over the years, and the algorithms they use to find and show results are constantly being refined. 

By understanding how these factors influence the way your content is ranked, you can optimize your website to appear higher in search engine results.

Wrapping Up

Search engines form the backbone of the internet, they are essential for finding the information we need. Search engines are an important part of our online experience today. By using special algorithms to find content relevant to your search query, they make it much easier for us to locate the information we need on the internet.