“Really! I thought only babies can crawl!” exclaimed my French laureate friend when he came to know that something in the computing world can crawl as well. My friend was being enlightened about web crawlers, the tiny programs that search engines use to churn the net for meaningful stuff. And what are search engines? Well, this tutorial will explain what they are?
In this day and age Search Engine is synonymous of one word, GOOGLE. Well, we could certainly say so as nearly 84% of searches are on Google-based. However, there are quite a few search engines other than Google that occupy the remaining search space. By definition, search engines are web tools or a website that search the Internet for pages on the basis of queries issued by users.
For instance, if a user on vacation wants to find out exotic places to visit near his location, he can do so by issuing the query, “places to visit nearby” on the search engine (Google, etc.). By doing so, he will get a list of pages around his location.
Search engine is a complex program with an input field named Search Bar at its forefront on which the user can issue the query. On its background is the database with which the search engine compares the query, categorizes the search results, and displays them to the user. Another job of the search engine is to continuously update its database by figuring out everything relevant from the Internet.
With an objective to deliver the most relevant results to the user, search engines perform these jobs by implementing a five-phased process. These phases are; Crawling, Indexing, Processing, Relevance calculations and Page Ranking. For complete understanding about these phases you can read our another blog post How do Search Engines Work?.
Ever wonder how search engines rank pages. Well, when it comes to prominent search engines like Google and Bing everything is based on an algorithm which use a lot of ranking factors to evaluate web pages, pick the best results, and create a list. These results are then displayed as organic results in Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) which they display on the result page when required. Some most obvious ranking factors include content quality, website security, and whether the site is mobile friendly or not, to name a very few.
Searchers want everything at their finger tips, with minimal effort. They expect search engines to deliver results with precision and speed.
Search engines themselves are motivated to generate more traffic because the more traffic they relevant traffic they generate, more opportunities they will get to advertise to searchers and generate revenue. Their ultimate objective is to ensure that the most relevant results hit the top of the SERPs.
Marketers are driven to achieve the topmost rank for the online properties of their brand or business on SERPs.
Searchers will only return to a search engine if it is able to produce relevant results for them in minimal time. This is a mutual win-win proposition for all the three stakeholders referred to above.
The first search engine ever created was Archie, by a student Alan Emtage, in 1990. The search engine looked for sites on the net and indexed them as downloadable files. It couldn’t index its contents.
There are hundreds of search engines, yet only a few dominate on the web. Google is the king among them. Over 84% of searches are performed on Google. Other prominent search engines are Bing (from Microsoft) with 2.61% searches and Yahoo (from Yahoo! Inc.) with 1.64% searches. Other popular search engines are Baidu (with 1.09% searches) and Yandex (with 0.54% searches).
Google rules the web space because of various factors: its fast, its improving every time (thanks to the brilliant minds behind it), and it’s connected to various free services.
As we know Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a set of techniques that online marketers use to try and get a lot more traction for the web sites they work for, on search engines. Their aim is to ensure that the online properties of the businesses they work for should rank at least on the first page of the relevant search engine result. This will generate more leads for the sales teams to convert and increase revenue for their businesses. So, sound business strategy is what these experts should come up with to leverage the true potential of search engines.
In nutshell, search engines help users retrieve relevant content based on the search queries they issue. They are fast and nifty. That’s why they are so popular. SEO plays an important role to display organic search results through search engines on the first page of SERPs.