How search engine works

Search means to find information from the web. Engine means machine or software. Search engine is a machine or software system which allows the internet user to search information from the World Wide Web.
There are a large number of search engines exists in the web. They are Google, Yahoo, Bing,,Yandex and so on. Let’s see now how search engine works.

When you make a web query to search engine using a keyword for particular information, search engine does the following steps:

  • Accept your query
  • Analyze your query
  • Figure out the word order
  • Look up the relevant content under the user keyword in its database
  • Relevancy and ranking is determined by over 200 factors
  • Make results by taking into account everything it knows about your query
  • Rank the results by doing a strictly judgment to keep the content’s placement in SERP.
  • Send the results to your browser

Search Engine performs three functions to display accurate answer of the search query:

  • Web crawling
  • Indexing
  • Ranking

Search engine performs these three functions by using two components.

They are Crawler and Algorithm.

Crawler: The crawler is an internet bot or web robot that runs automated tasks over the internet. In fact, it is a software application that moves one page to another page through link for the purpose of web indexing.

Algorithm: The word “algorithm” refers to the step-by-step logic-based procedure for solving a particular problem. Search engine uses algorithm to rank and return the relevant results under a keyword of a search query. Google algorithms are updated often. This is done in many ways for only how to find the most relevant web pages for particular keywords.

Here is a flow chart on how search engine works

How search engine works

How search engine works

Crawlers (sometimes called spiders or robot) are constantly scanning the web to collect information from the sites or pages while they are dropped in the web. While it collects every page it also finds the relevancy to the keyword.

Thus, the crawlers crawl all the relevant pages under keywords by following the links from one page to other pages and take a copy of the sites to make an index. It is the prerequisite step to showing up results in the search engine result pages (SERP). Thus, the web crawler crawls billions of website and makes index of the relevant content.

How search engine works

Search engine collects the pages under a keyword which contains the same keyword in the URL, in the title of the site, in Meta description, in the body of the content, in the heading tag and so on.

Thousands of machines process a large quantity of information very quickly.

From the index of the content the crawler makes ranking of each site. To find the most relevant content and to show more useful results of a search query in a fraction of a second, Search Engine like Google uses its algorithms. Different algorithms work different jobs. Ranking algorithms look at hundreds of ranking factors to prepare a search result that helps the users to get what they are actually looking for.

Each year, Google releases hundreds or thousands of algorithm updates that affects search results in significant ways. Many losses their rankings and many experiences improved rankings.

Five major algorithm updates are Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird, Pigeon, and Fred.

 Having completed all the mechanisms of searches, Search Engine Result Pages (SERP) are displayed by search engines in response to a query by a user.

The results are of two types. They are organic search result and sponsored search result.

SERP (Search Engine Result Pages)  includes the following terms in their pages   

  • Sponsored result or Paid advertisements
  • Organic result
  • Featured snippets
  • People Also Ask boxes
  • Local (map) pack
  • Knowledge panel

Sponsored results: It is a paid search result listing. In this case, search engine advertising guarantees that within a day or less the site will appear in the top of the results for the target keyword terms. In this case search engine is committed to display the paid result in top of the SERP.

Organic results: Organic results (SERP listing) are generated by organic SEO. In this case, search engine considers hundreds of metrics to determine the relevance of the searched term. It is a natural listing.  Search engine algorithms test judges the relevancy of the web pages for a search query whether it will go to the listing or not. Algorithms consider the factors like content quality, trustworthiness of WebPages, back links; social media etc to make the result pages that contains organic 10 listings per page.

Featured snippets : In order to enhance the search experience, Google has been adding more information in search results. The Featured Snippets are a format of result that provides direct answer to the questions relevant to the search query. There are different types of featured snippet like text snippet, video snippet, list and table snippets.

People Also Ask boxes : “People also ask” box is a featured that provides quick-answer boxes. It contains a set of questions and answer related to the original search query. 

Local (map) pack : In case of local search, Google shows a map among the organic search results which is called Local (map) pack. Google shows three local businesses listings that might answer local search query.

Knowledge panel: Knowledge panels are information boxes that appear in Google’s search engine result page in response to the searching for entities like places, people, organizations, things.


Search engine is a software in the web that shows answer in response to the search query of the users. Here the foremost job of search engine is to show exact answer of the search query. It is very difficult to find out the relevant answers from billions of sites in the web.  For ensuring exact and rich answer search engine updates its algorithms thousands of times in a year. Thus, all the search engines are continuing its search works and showing answers of the search to the users. What you think on ‘how search engine works’ please comment below.

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