What is a Search Engine and What Does it Do?

Search Engine

Search Engine

Everyone with a computer or internet access knows what a search engine does on the surface, since it has become the primary navigation tool for the majority of information we seek and consume. But what is a search engine exactly, and how does it present us with the information it does with such speed and efficiency? Here is a list of some background information.

1. Search Engine Definition

A search engine is a website that allows users to search for content using keywords. The search engine results page, or SERP, is presented to the searcher with ranked content to browse.

2. How Do They Work?

Search engines work through three major steps. First, there is the “crawling” stage, in which the engines use programs called bots, crawlers, or spiders, to search the internet for content. The second step is “indexing,” during which the engine will try to organize the content based on keywords. Thirdly there is “ranking,” in which the results are ranked based on factors like keyword relevance, site traffic, and loading speed, among other factors.

3. What are the Top Search Engines?

The most popular search engines are Google, Bing, Yahoo, and Baidu, the latter being primarily used by Chinese residents and speakers. These search engines, among a few other popular ones, have been embroiled in controversy in recent years because of their privacy practices, which involve taking and storing user data and sometimes selling to parent companies, like Verizon. Those who prioritize privacy will find numerous alternative search engines to use, however, including OnePage, StartSearch, and DuckDuckGo.

4. Why Use Them?

The main reason to use search engines is their accessibility, ease of use, and the fact that culture has changed enough that going to a library to look something up has unfortunately become an outdated and inconvenient concept. Search engines provide the widest variety of sources possible at the palm of your hands. They also actively tweak their algorithms to assure that they continue to provide the best listings on the SERP in an organized fashion that will streamline the research process.

5. Cons of Using Search Engines

With any great tool, there will be drawbacks. As previously mentioned, the most popular search engines have been found to engage in worrying practices of privacy violation, including the selling of information to corporations. There is also an enormous level of competition when it comes to trying to get your business ranked as highly as possible on the SERP, but this can be resolved with SEO and perhaps even hiring an SEO agency to represent your business.

Search engines are a contemporary research tool used by the masses, and every day, there are new ideas about how and why they should work, and how individuals and businesses can make the best use of them. By understanding what a search engine is and what it does beyond the surface, it will be easier to delve into SEO strategy to pursue the steady growth of your business.