Search engines are far more complex than they seem. It’s easy to assume Google is a rather simple website judging by its design characteristics. The website features a logo, a search box and a button to submit your search. There are very few websites on the Internet that initially seem as basic as this. However what’s behind the scenes, the true technology behind a search engine, is a rather advanced algorithm and data mining system that takes millions of dollars to operate.
Search engines use data mining to display their results
Every website on the Internet that is to be searchable must first be explored by search engines. This is called data mining. It’s the process of using computer “spiders” or bots to browse websites on the Internet and gather critical information. Information such as that website’s title, description, page content, and its most used keywords. By mining all of this information, Google and other search engines can then use it to display website results to their users.
When you search for a particular phrase on Google, their database with all of the mined information from every website is then accessed and the most relevant websites will be displayed. The algorithm behind which websites are displayed is even more complicated than the data mining process.
Search engine algorithms determine the order of the results
After searching for something on Google you will find many pages of results with about ten results on each page. These are the websites that Google has determined are most relevant to the phrase that you entered. As you may already know, sometimes these results are highly relevant and sometimes Google doesn’t quite get it right. Google has been refining their algorithm that determines the order of these results for years. In fact, they release several algorithm updates every single year and these updates drastically affect which websites get the privilege of ranking at the top.
Search engine algorithm take many factors into consideration and some of these factors include the title of the website, the description, the keywords found within the website’s content, whether images or videos exist on the page, how much content is on the website, the internal linking of the website and whether or not pages are linked to each other in an organized fashion, how old the website is, how fast the website loads, and how many other websites link to it. If big brands and authority websites all provided links to another website, then its rankings would increase because of these links. Links serve as popularity indicators and the more high quality links a website has the better its rankings will be.
Search engines have an “index”
When search engines use data mining to read a website and store its title, description and other relevant information, this website is then indexed in the search engine. This data can be stored in one single place or in a collective database. It means that the website has been crawled by search engine “spiders” or bots and has been added to the “index” of the search engine. Websites can also be un-indexed if they were to go off-line or if the content on the page was removed. This would happen when the bot goes to the website for a second time and recognizes that there has been a change. Websites that are extremely active and get updated with content regularly will be indexed faster by search engines. Search engine bots take priority over these types of sites and they will crawl them first.
This isn’t the only way an index can be stored.
When you use search engines you are searching the index
When you search a keyword or a combination of keywords into a search engine, you are essentially accessing the search engines index database. Every website that has been indexed by that search engine will be accessible by your search. It’s a very powerful feature to have available and that’s why Google and other search engines developed boolean operators to make that even more powerful. You can use strings such as “AND,” “OR,” “NOT,” “FOLLOWED BY,” and “NEAR” to customize your search. You can also search things within quotation marks and Google will ensure that the keywords are searched as a phrase and that phrase must be found within the document or file.
Users of search engines undoubtedly take the technology for granted and it’s important to understand just how complex a search engine truly is. Search engines make it possible for anyone to browse the internet and find almost every piece of information that has been published online.