Search engines are complex computer programs that are responsible for getting your optimized website noticed by prospective customers. Thus, it is important to know how these search engines work and how they present information to the customer initiating a search.

There are basically two types of search engines. The first is by robots called crawlers or spiders, which I will discuss in this article.

Web Crawlers

Search engines use spiders to index websites. When you submit your website pages to a search engine by completed their required submission page, the search engine spider will index your entire site. A spider is an automated program that is run by the search engine system. The spider visits a website, reads the site’s content and meta tags, and follows the links that the site connects to. Then, the spider returns all that information back to a central depository, where the data is indexed. The spider will visit each link on your website and index those sites as well. Some spiders will only index a certain number of pages on your site, so don’t create a site with 500 pages!

Additionally, the spider will periodically return to the sites to check for any information that has changed. The frequency with which this happens is determined by the moderators of the search engine.

A spider is almost like a boot where it contains the table of contents, content, links, and references for all the websites it finds during its search. Indeed, a spider may index up to a million pages a day. Talk about a busy robot!

Examples of search engines include Excite, Lycos, and Google.

Locating Information

When you ask a search engine to locate information, it is searching through the index which it has created, rather than searching the Web. Different search engines produce different rankings because not every search engine uses the same algorithm to search through the indices.


One of the things that a search engine algorithm scans for is the frequency and location of keywords on a web page. A search engine can also detect artificial keywords known as keyword stuffing. Then, the algorithms analyze the way that pages link to other pages on the Web. By checking how pages link to each other, an engine can determine what a page is about and whether the keywords of the linked pages are similar to the keywords on the original page.

I hope you found this article helpful. The search engines are regularly changing their algorithms, so it’s helpful to gain some insight into how these search engines work.