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What is a Search Engine and how does it work?

A search engine is a tool and a service that allows its users to look for information via the internet. This can be done from PCs, laptops, tablets, smartphones, and other mobile devices.

How do search engines work?

Generally, a user types its query, which can consist of one or more words, into the search bar. The platform then returns a list of possible matches that should contain the information the searcher intended to find.

The list of results is called search engine results page or SERP. Most display their results in many ways. It can be websites, videos, images, or others. Nowadays, technology allows users to do voice searches as well.

Even though when we think of search engines, only a few come to our minds (Google, Yahoo, Bing). Actually, there are many others available. Some of these  include:

  – Duck Duck Go

  – Yandex

  – Dogpile

  –  Yippi

How do they decide what results to show?

When a person enters search terms into the search bar, the results shown are listed (ranked) in order of relevance. Every platform has a different way of going about the ranking process, but they all use algorithms.

Simply put, an algorithm is a set of detailed instructions used for completing a task or solving a problem. In the case of search engines, algorithms are the set of step-by-step instructions that determine which results to show users from the millions of pages crawlers have indexed.

Most search engines update their algorithms frequently in an effort to understand how users carry our searches. The goal is to provide them with the most relevant results every time they search for information. That is the reason it is important to have an SEO firm behind your marketing campaign.

The end goal is to enhance user experience; thus, search engines typically show high-quality, relevant results at the top of SERPs.