How Search Engines Work?

The World Wide Web and the Internet

Imagine a life without roads, maps, or a GPS. How could you possibly find your way from point A to point B in today’s vast world? Sure you could survive like our ancestors did in the stone ages, but the world has evolved. Store fronts have emerged, cities have been built and technology is king.

Internet users are currently facing a similar dilemma. The World Wide Web began as a tool used by the government and grew into a massive virtual filing cabinet with every type of website you can imagine: personal websites, e-commerce websites, informational websites, blogs/forums, social websites, file sharing websites, etc, etc, etc. Let’s learn how search engines work!

SEO and the World Wide Web

Links Are Roads For Search Engine Crawlers

The world wide web is composed of billions of websites, webpages, and other various documents that are all connected by links. Think of these links as roads for search engine spiders and crawlers to follow. When search engines crawl these links they read the code and text of a given document in order to decide whether the document is worthy of being indexed in the search engines index.

Once these documents are stored in the index they are recalled and served in the search engine rankings based upon the relevancy of the searchers query (keyword).

Search Engines and Linking Structure

How Do Search Engines Provide Results

Search engines are designed to provide results to a searchers query by providing the user with a list of websites that are super relevant to the keyword used by the searcher. For example, if you search for “pizza in New York” the search engines want to provide you with a list of web pages that are super relevant to that search query and only those websites that are of importance and high value.

Search Engine’s throughout the years have evolved from deciding how important or relevant a website is to the searchers query. When search engine’s first came about they simply looked for relevant keywords on the website. Today search engines have become much smarter and as a result search engine optimization has become very complex. Search engines look at hundreds of variables to decide whether or not a website is relevant and of importance.

How Search Engines Provide Results in the SERPs

Search Engines look for Relevancy and Importance

We told you that search engines look for relevant websites of importance, but how do they measure these two metrics. The importance of a website is measured by it’s popularity. If a website is popular then it most likely contains valuable content that the searcher wants to view. As search engines evolve they will continue to pull in different variables that measure how popular a website is compared to others. Search Engines are becoming more advanced every year.

Search Engines Measure Relevancy and Importance


Let’s go learn about the top search engines before we go any further.

Check Out Lesson 2 – SEO Guide