How Search Engines work


The main function of a search engine is to provide quality and relevant results to their searcher's as fast as possible. To achieve this, search engine keeps crawling and indexing the web pages 24/7 and saves the HTML version of a page in a gigantic database.

And when search performs, search engine scours its entire database and returns only those results which are most relevant to the searcher's query within a fraction of a second.

To accomplish this entire sequence, from holding billions of web pages to promptly display the relevant results, the search engine company have set up their data center all over the world.


search engine data center

Now the question is...

How do search engines determine which pages are relevant to the searchers?

Actually, a search engine is an answering machine and it will only survive if it shows proper results. Days have gone when search engines used to rank your website as per the keywords used in the post.

It doesn't mean keyword is not important, it's still important only if it is used in a proper way. In Chapter 2 we will go into details.

Nowadays people are seeking for more accurate and complete information of their quires. And In order to fulfill their need search engines has updated its entire algorithm.

Today hundreds of factors determine which web page is more relevant to the search queries. Typically the long post performs best because it contains In-Depth information about the topic. And this is what people and search engines are looking for.

So if you really want to rank your webpage on the first page of SERPs start writing valuable In-Depth content. Along with this, the website having more relevant backlinks and popularity also drags search engine attention to rank it.

Have a look at the infographic of How a search engine works. Later we will see how people interact with search engines.

search engine infographics

How do people interact with the search engines?

Over the years human interaction with search engines has been evolved so much, you can say it is getting more specific. However, primary principles of conducting a search are still same and it goes as:

  1. People experience the need for some information or help.  
  2. Formulate that need in a phrase or question or even words, commonly known as "the query".
  3. Enter that query in the search box of search engines like Google or Bing.
  4. The search engine will show some relevant results.
  5. Searchers' will click on the result shown in SERPs and scan for the solution.
  6. If the searcher's got what they were looking for then well and fine or else they will go back to the SERPs and click on another link to get the solution.

Generally, people have two types of queries:

Informational query: When people are seeking for some information, such as the Best University of the world, Biography of Steve Jobs, Best SEO company, How to rank my website etc comes under informational queries.

To do something: When people are willing to do something, such as buying a movie ticket or buying a domain name comes under transactional queries.

In both types of queries, searcher's look for the relevant result. That is why I am repeating this, again and again, "Build your website for users not only for search engines".

Even the search engines themselves, working after providing the relevant results to their users as fast as possible.

What does search engine say about SEO strategies?

google logo small

Google webmaster guideline

  • Make your webpage for users, not only for search engine
  • Create useful In-Depth content
  • Make a site with easy navigation
  • Don't misguide users and search engine
  • Use keyword to create descriptive meaningful content, titles, and URLs
  • Avoid unnecessarily keyword stuffing
  • rel = "nofollow" and rel = "canonical" tag should be used properly

bing logo small

Bing webmaster guideline

  • Ensure clean, keyword rich URL
  • Make your webpage users friendly
  • Create keyword rich content but avoid unnecessarily keyword stuffing.
  • Don't hide your content
  • Make a site with easy navigation
  • rel = "nofollow" and rel = "canonical" tag should be used properly.

Basically, both leading search engines webmaster says the same thing. 

Now Let's do a quick experiment on a search engine:

Open a new tab in your browser (an incognito window will be better ) and type "SEO Company"... what you got? List of all the SEO company nearby your location right?... YES.

This is how search engines have evolved themselves. They will automatically analyze your search history, browsing behavior, your location, your interest and then combine all the data in order to provide you the most accurate result within a second.

Got any question feel free to ask in the comment section.

As I have mentioned it earlier, people nowadays are getting more specific. Like if someone wants to start an online business, then their queries will be as:

  • How to start an online business in India?
  • How can I make a website to start an online business?
  • What are the requirements to start an online business?
  • Can an online business make money?
  • Where to register an online business?

and so on... 

So if you start writing an In-Depth content which covers almost every detail about the topic will definitely get ranked because people like the website which provides almost every details at one place.

And if they (people) found it worthy, your post will definitely get shared, results in driving more traffic to your website. It indicates the search engine that your web page has a valuable content and your page will get ranked on the first page of SERPs.

It's cool right...? Yeah..!!

Now, if you are wondering how you will find all the questions people can think, here is a great website you can go with. You just have to enter the word and you will get hundreds of questions related to that keyword. Choose some of them, analyze it and start writing your article.

But how you will choose a proper keyword and how you will properly implement it? Check it out in the next chapter...


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