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Internet search engines – function and working method

internet search engines

Internet search engines have become an essential part of Internet use. They provide us with information on almost every topic, and we now use them every day without even thinking about it. They are easy to use and provide the necessary orientation and information procurement on the Internet. But how does an Internet search engine work, and what are the differences? The answer to these and many other questions can be found in the following article. Let’s go!

Table of contents

The two types of search engines: how they work and what they do

Internet search engines can be divided into two types: full-text search engines and meta-search engines.

full-text search engines

The full-text search engines search and index the entire text of a website and refer to all relevant terms or phrases. This task is performed by the so-called web crawler, which automatically searches the World Wide Web for data and information on countless public websites worldwide. This content is sorted according to characteristics and stored in an index. This automated process (crawling) is repeated regularly because websites that have already been found are analysed again and again by the web crawler in order to determine changes and thus keep the index of a search engine up to date.

Full-text search engines include Bing, Yahoo, and, most notably, Google. Over the years, adding value for the user has become more and more important. Numerous full-text search engines are now paying more attention to the added value for the user in the text at hand; the user should be shown the search results that best match his search query. Meta search engines

metasearch engines

The metasearch engines do not have their own databases or search engine indexes. They forward their users’ search queries to other search engines and use them to create their own result lists. The metasearch engines access the results of other search engines. The internal contribution of a meta-search engine is that it uses its own evaluation, sorting, and ranking criteria when creating lists of results. They often obtain the search results from the largest and most well-known search engines and determine their own rankings from them. The most well-known metasearch engines include:

  • Metacrawler.com (the world’s first meta-search engine)
  • MetaGer.de (the largest and most well-known German metasearch engine)
  • Unbubble.eu (meta search from Germany, more than 20 data sources)
  • Meta-spinner.de (suitable for the product search)

The task of search engines

The tasks of a search engine on the Internet can be divided into the following three main categories:

  • Part of the search engine searches and indexes web pages.
  • A second part stores and catalogues this information.
  • A third part makes the collected information on a topic or area available on request.

Seen in this way, one could say that a search engine is the indexed table of contents for the Internet and wants to provide the user with the most relevant search hits for his search query.

Search engine marketing: with better rankings in the search engine

It is of great importance for companies to be found in the search engines. Great interest meets a concrete need. Relevant keywords for the right target group should be identified in order to not only generate more traffic but also more customer inquiries at the end of the day. Search engine marketing (SEM) uses marketing measures to influence the perception of one’s own offer in search engines. The range of search engines and the intention of users to use them ensure that search engines are of great importance in marketing.

Since only offers in high positions are of benefit to the provider (usually in the sense of high traffic), the measures are aimed at achieving the highest possible positioning in the search engine hit lists. Search engine marketing can be divided into two sub-areas: One is search engine optimization (SEO), and the other is search engine advertising (SEA).

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search engine optimization (SEO) focuses on measures that optimally prepare your own offer for the search engine algorithm. Even if the exact algorithms are not known and are constantly being further developed, positioning can be fundamentally supported and thus optimized by various measures. Optimization can target different types of search engines, including image search (e.g., Google Images), video search (e.g., Google Video), news search (e.g., Google News), and vertical search engines (e.g., Booking.com).

The optimization can also be operated for other search engines, such as Bing, Yahoo, or DuckDuckGo; we are only talking about Google here since this search engine is by far the most important, with a market share of 75 percent worldwide and over 90 percent in Germany. So-called keywords, which users search for via search engines, are central to optimization for search engines. As a company, it is essential that your website be found on the first page of the search results for the keywords that match your offer. If you do it right, SEO measures will result in your page appearing in organic search results. Search Engine Results Pages (SERP) are displayed as close to the front as possible.

Key Ranking Factors:

  • Quality and topicality of the content
  • Distribution of keywords in the document
  • Value of external and internal links
  • Internal links: User guidance
  • Loading time of the pages
  • Other (responsive design, etc.)

Search engine advertising (SEA)

Search engine advertising (SEA) is a search engine marketing tool for placing paid advertising next to and/or above search engine results, also known as search engine advertising (SEA). It also includes placing advertisements on content pages, i.e., on third-party websites. With paid search advertising, up to four paid ads are displayed above the search engine’s organic search results in order to achieve higher visibility and a better ranking than the organic results.

Which ads appear in which position depends on the keywords and the click price, which follow the pay-per-click principle. The pay-per-click (PPC) or cost-per-click (CPC) principle means that you only pay if the ads are actually clicked on. The advertiser submits a click-price bid for each keyword. An auction runs in the background of every search query, and the higher the bid, the more likely it is that the ads will appear.

The future of search engines

All search engines, whether Google, Bing, or Yahoo, are trying to better understand the language of the users and teach it to the algorithms. Among other things, artificial intelligence and neural networks are used, which can also learn and understand more distant connections between words and expressions and, for example, colloquial language. The spoken queries are also analysed more and more, so that the hit rate for relevant search results improves even with ambient noise and dialect.

It will be exciting to see which insights can be generated for services or updates. The only thing that is certain is that the search engines will continue to undergo constant change and further development in the future.

If you need support in implementing your SEM strategy or are looking for inspiration for the next SEO or SEA step, please contact us. We are glad to help you!

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