A Step by Step Guide on How does Search Engines Work

In this guide I am going to provide information on how does search engines work. But before understanding the working process of search engine it is important to understand what search engine is.

What is search engine?

what is search engine

A search engine is a software system which brings information from the web to the users.

Search engines provide relevant search results to the users from web according to the specified keywords or search query in a search bar.

Some of the examples of search engines are Google which most popular and most used search engine worldwide, Bing, Yahoo, Baidu are some of the other popular search engines used.

As now we are clear of what is search engines lets proceed to..

How does search engines work?

How does search engines work

Search engine works on three things:

  1. Crawling
  2. Indexing
  3. Ranking

What is crawling?

how does google crawler work

A search engine crawler is continuously searching for fresh and updated content on the web. Content can be in any form like article, image, pdf, video, etc. For crawler to crawl images they should have an image name and alt tags as crawler cannot read the images. Crawler identifies images by its alt tag.

So you can say crawling is the process of discovery of new and updated content done by search engine crawlers or spiders or bots.

Googlebot starts crawling through some web pages and then continues crawling through all the internal and external links present on these pages searching for more new content.

What is indexing?

After crawling numerous url on web if crawler finds a new or updated content, that content is indexed and stored in huge database.

What is ranking?

how search engines rank websites

When user searches something on search engine results are displayed from most relevant to least relevant result. This relevancy depends upon what was users search query.

These results are pulled out from indexed database of a search engine.

This order of search results according to search query relevancy is called ranking. You can assume that higher the rank of the website more relevant it is to users search query.

Page speed is another important factor to consider. If your website page loads at blazing speed more users will be engaged more on your site. It helps to improve your website ranking.

If your site takes more than 1-2 seconds to load a page user will bounce back to other search results increasing your bounce rate and lowering your ranking on search result pages.

Today most of the searches take place on mobiles. So having mobile optimized website is a must for ranking factor. Also having AMP means Accelerated Mobile Pages will improve page loading speed on mobile.

Why are search engines important?

Majority of the web traffic coming to your website is through search engines. Unless you are not famous as amazon, Facebook or YouTube people will find you through search engines. Even the big brands get most of their traffic from search engines.

So if you have a website you need search engine to bring people who are searching for products or services you offer on your website.

Why do people use search engines?

What do you think people look on search engines, do they look for any kind of information, or for some shopping sites to buy stuff, or search for some entertainment sites for passing their time.

Yes you are right users look out for all these things on search engines.

Users doing research or looking for information:

Users doing research or looking for information

Most of the people do some kind of information research on search engines. Users are always looking for answers for their queries on search engine for making decision.

Users also do research for their school or college projects. If someone is doing research on biology he or she may find articles about plant physiology which may be useful.

Users also do near me and best keyword searches to find salons near me or 10 best movies to watch in 2020.

Search engine is having many information providing websites and blogs. The most common name is Wikipedia which appears for almost all research based queries.

If you want rank your website for research intent queries, you should have content which answers to these types of queries. In depth how-to, what-is, why-is articles will help to rank better for research queries.

Users having shopping intent:

Users having shopping intent

After finishing research on product comparisons and reviews, users queries changes to shopping or buying intent keywords.

User search keywords like “best deals”, “best prices” or “free shipping” etc. which shows buying intent.

Website like amazon.com, ebay, flipkart, alibaba are shopping search engines where you can directly search and buy products.

But when you type products name which you want into search bar it shows actual product with different website from where you can buy it with all information like reviews, price, etc.

By doing this you can decide if you want to buy this product from amazon or from any other website.

Users who want to get entertained:

Users who want to get entertained

Users don’t only research and shop by using search engines they also get entertained by using them. Most of the users pass their time by using search engine to look for videos, music, social media sites and games for entertainment.

Users use Youtube, Netflix, Amazon prime and other many OTT platforms for doing video search and get entertained.

Google owns YouTube which is largest video search engine of the time. There are billions of billions videos uploaded on the platform.

If you search for videos on Google it will shows videos from YouTube as it shows Wikipedia page for research query.

People also use social media websites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter to share their stories, photos, videos.

Users listen to music on apps like Spotify, Amazon music etc. while driving, cooking, doing office work.


In this article we have seen what search engine is, how search engines works, why search engine is important and why people use search engines.

Search engines are part of our everyday life. We not only use Google search engine for research query, we also use video search engine like YouTube for watching videos and shopping search engine like Amazon.com for shopping.

Hope you got some information about search engines. Please do share your reviews about the article.

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