How does a search engine work?

Want to know more about how a search engine works? You’ve come to the right place! Find out how Google and its peers work, and how to get the most out of them.

Search engines are an integral part of our daily lives. As soon as we carry out a search on the Internet, an algorithm imperceptible to our eyes takes charge of proposing the most relevant results.

For this reason, it’s important for professionals wishing to appear on the Internet results pages to understand what search engines are and how to take advantage of them.

This article is here to answer that question: let’s find out together how search engines work, and what habits you need to adopt to use them effectively.

How search engines work

A search engine is a software program designed to find information on the Internet.

Most Internet users don’t necessarily know how search engines work, or what their parameters are. But it’s worth finding out, so that you can draw conclusions and send positive signals to search engines, especially Google. Let’s take a look at the inner workings of Google, Bing and DuckDuckGo.

What you need to know

Let’s look at the complementary relationships between the various stakeholders: The Internet is your TV network, the search engine is your TV box, and the browser is your TV screen. As you can see, each part can’t function without the others!

Exploration and indexing

Think of search engines ashuge databases: each time a user types in a query, the search engine draws on all the resources it knows to provide the most appropriate answer. But how does it bring these different resources together?

Initially, as soon as a website is created, its owner or creator can request the intervention of a search engine so that the latter becomes aware of the new site. But in the end, it’s the engine that decides: it regularly crawls new websites to index them in its database (its index). This process can take some time,

Exploration and indexing

Think of search engines ashugh

databases: each time a user types in a query, the search engine draws on all the resources it knows to provide the most appropriate answer. But how does it bring all these different resources together?

Initially, as soon as a website is created, its owner or creator can request the intervention of a search engine so that the latter becomes aware of the new site. But in the end, it’s the search engine that decides it regularly crawls new websites to index them in its database (its index). This process can take some time, as there are no less than 170 websites created every minute on average worldwide!

As soon as a search engine becomes aware of a new site, it decides whether or not to index it. And this indexing stage is vital if your site is to be visible on search engines. In short, there can be no SEO without indexing.

But for a site to be properly indexed by a search engine, you need to prepare the ground and make it navigable, or “crawlable” in web jargon. To achieve this, several processes need to be put in place.

Technologies for crawling web pages

Every search engine has its own way of working, but all are united in their use of crawling.

As soon as a site is crawled by a search engine, the latter wants to analyze it to understand the nature of the site and what it highlights. To do this, several computer robots, imperceptible to us, will “crawl” each page of the website: these are web crawlers.

But to enable them to carry out this task, you need to provide them with various aids to make their job easier, and also to help them understand the site’s main subject. So pay particular attention to:

  • Provide your website in plain language,
  • Include your site’s sitemap, a sort of navigation map,
  • Optimize tags: meta, titles (Hn), to help robots understand your site’s structure.

You can request indexation directly from the search engine to speed up this process. However, some engines, such as Google, regulate this request. In fact, in the case of Google, it has set up a “crawl budget”: this represents the budget allocated to the indexing.

However, to enable them to carry out this task, you need to provide them with a range of support materials to make their work easier, and also to help them understand the site’s main subject. Therefore, pay particular attention to:

  • Provide your website in plain language,
  • Include your site’s sitemap, a sort of navigation map,
  • Optimize tags: meta, titles (Hn), to help robots understand your site’s structure.

You can request indexation directly from the search engine to speed up this process. However, some engines, such as Google, regulate this request. In fact, Google has set up a “crawl budget”: this represents the budget allocated to indexing your site.

The more times Google’s robots have to crawl your site, the more money the American giant spends. It will then tend to space out its explorations of your site to limit its costs. So be meticulous when it comes to indexing your site, to make sure it’s as optimized as possible, and as quickly as possible.

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