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How search engines work

This is the second lesson of search engine optimization lessons, in which we will address, and explain how search engines work easily and simplified.

Understanding how search engines work is the first step, and the key that will enable you to correctly and effectively configure your location for search engines.

In order to start dealing properly with anything, you have to understand this thing and understand how it works.

Note: Since Google is the world’s number one search engine, which dominates almost the majority of the market, especially in our region.

So we’ll talk about Google search engine in particular in a lot of aspects

Search engine stages

The work of search engines, especially Google, is based primarily on three basic functions. These jobs or stages of work are linked and dependent on each other.

Stage 1: Crawling

Crawling literally means “crawling”: a process that is done through smart computer programs called spiders, bots or Crawlers.

Search engine spiders visit every web page they meet to collect data about them, to index them in the search engine’s database.

It also monitors new sites and pages, and understands updates on sites and pages that already exist.

Spiders begin the crawl process by relying on page links already in the database, from which they move to newly created web page links.

It is worth mentioning here that search engine spiders understand web pages from the code used such as HTML.

Stage 2: Indexing

Indexing is the process in which data and information are stored, and collected through crawling.

Each web page is archived according to its content. Google’s search engine database contains an index of billions of web pages, videos, photos, and documents… Etc.

Not all web pages are actually saved to the search engine database, but certain parts of the content of each web page are saved.

For example, each web page is linked to some of the words and sentences you express. which are used in search results afterwards.

Indexing is an overlapping process that is intertwined with the crawling process, so there’s a lot to talk about crawling and indexing as a single process.

Stage 3: Providing Search Results

In this process, the search engine shows the user results, according to search words. Of course, the source of the search results is the database, which was collected through the previous phase.

Search engines have huge databases around the world, run by a range of huge high-speed machines, which makes it less than one second for Google search results to appear.

The order of search results comes according to pre-prepared algorithms based on a lot of factors and criteria called Rank Factors.

The search engine represents the eye or guide that guides the user to the right path, in order to reach what they want according to the search word they enter.

To understand the idea in a simple and easy way, imagine the world of the Internet with all its websites as a set of stations. Google, for example, sends its robots continuously to wander between these stations, to learn what each station contains.

New stations or content are added within each station, and what has also been removed and renovated. Then, through his database, he draws a complete map of each station and the things it contains inside.

When you tell him as a user that you want to go to a particular station, or even tell him what you want to get, he’ll guide you through his map of the paths (links) you have to follow in order to get to the station you want.

It will also provide you with the internal path within this station to get exactly what you want (i.e. the page that answers your question specifically)

Some information and statistics for search engines

  • 51% of visitors to all websites come from search engines.
  • By the end of 2016 there were 130 trillion web pages in google’s search engine database.
  • 1 billion users use Google search engine monthly
  • The average number of words in the search results on the front page exceeds 1,500.
  • Google accounts for more than 70% of online searches around the world, and 90% of smartphone searches are overshodded.
  • 87% of users of smart mobile devices use Google at least once a day.
  • There are more than 63,000 searches done every second through Google’s search engine.
  • These statistics are global statistics, and the numbers may vary somewhat, depending on the nature of the Internet user.

On what basis does Google arrange search results?

We explained above that the function of search engines is: to guide users to paths that answer their questions. Search engines perform this function through three basic processes: crawling, indexing and supplying results.

But the question here is: on what basis does Google arrange these search results.

First, when someone writes a research word in the Google search box and presses the search button, the search engine program filters its database, and arranges the results based on two basic criteria in general:


Of course, the results that appear when you type a keyword should be appropriate for exactly what the user wants. In the past, the concept of convenience was no more than matching search words with those on the web page.

But now that google’s search engines are undergoing a huge technological and technical development in particular, it’s fit after another.

There are smart factors that are now contributing to shaping the concept of convenience between Query and Search Results.
These factors include:

1- RankBrain

A name launched by Google on a new system based on artificial intelligence technology or machine-learning, Google announced the application of this technology in October 2015.

Two years earlier in 2013, the fact was revealed that Google receives previously untested research words every day at a rate of 15% of total searches. That’s a big percentage, and it’s a problem for Google.

RankBrain’s function here is to help provide web pages suitable for these search words. This is done by trying to understand the new long and mysterious research sentences, linking them to other research words that may be apparently different, but somehow linked.

Also by measuring the visitor’s experience with the search results of these new research sentences.

RankBrain technology, by applying its own algorithms, can teach itself to provide more user-friendly search results, even when receiving a research sentence for the first time.

2- Synonym System

Google has a smart and effective system for understanding synonyms between words. Thanks to this system, Google is able to provide more user-friendly results. By understanding what the user means, regardless of the vocabulary used, and then providing the results that serve the meaning and not the vocabulary.

This is very important for the user and site owners as well.

On the one hand, this enables the user to access the most appropriate results, if using local languages and slang. It gives site owners the opportunity to show their sites in search results for more diverse research words.

There is also a well-known term in the SEO community associated with this part, Latent Semantic Indexing, which is shortened to LSI. Indexing means the significance of words.

3- Other factors related to how people use search engines

Other important factors that contribute to shaping the concept of convenience are how search engines are used by users.

For example, voice search, and the use of smartphones. Each user’s search history is on a per-user level.


The second primary criterion used by search engines in ordering results is the quality element. After determining the most appropriate results for the search engine user, the quality standard comes in and determines the correct order of these results.

There is no doubt that the primary goal of search engines is: user satisfaction. Of course, the quality element contributes significantly to shaping user satisfaction.

And because we’re talking about Google in particular. The popularity of the web page, and the trust of the site, contribute significantly to shaping the concept of quality. So in the SEO community, you find a lot of articles about concepts like Authority and Trustworthy.

And how these elements are very important in arranging results in google search engine. From Google’s point of view, the more popular and trusted a web page is from the public, and it belongs to a popular and influential site, the more obvious it is that this page is more quality than others. Respected point of view but!

It’s not that simple because there are more sophisticated and paper-based algorithms that Google uses to arrange search results.

What are Google’s algorithms for arranging search results?

Algorithm is a word he signed on the ear that suggests difficulty and complexity. But it’s not really so, and as an aspiration to learn to improve search engines, you don’t have to deal with the idea of algorithms on their complex mathematical side.

But you just have to understand the idea and that’s what I’ll explain to you in a simple and easy way here.

Algorithms belong to mathematics, and the idea of algorithms was first revealed by an Uzbek Muslim scholar, Muhammad bin Musa al-Khwarizmi, in the 9th century AD.

But the concept of algorithms is very much connected to the computer nowadays.

Algorithms are simply a set of pre-prepared mathematical rules and laws, which allow a problem to be solved, or to reach a particular result in logical steps.

Computer algorithms: A set of code commands, which allow your computer to make a set of graphic processors to solve a problem or reach a result.

Google Search Engine Algorithms: A set of smart code and rules, which work together to provide Google users with satisfactory search results.

As we know together Google has a huge database of all web pages on the Internet, algorithms are the code commands that determine, which of these web pages appears as a search result when writing any word or research sentence, and arranging these pages in the appropriate way to satisfy the user.

But on what basis are Google’s algorithms built?
Rank Factors are the basis of Google’s search engine algorithms.

What are rank factors?

Ranking factors: A set of criteria, or attributes determined by search engine operators, to indicate the appropriate extent and quality of each web page to appear within the search results of a particular research word, and in what order this page appears.

Ranking factors represent the information inputs on which algorithms depend, in arranging search results correctly for each research word.

To illustrate the idea and to untangle the entanglement between algorithms and ranking factors, we have to use an example in our real life:

Winter begins and we decide to buy some winter clothes and be a coat, so these are the factors in your preference arrangement:

1- Black is the best followed by brown and then yellow.
2- The price is between 500 to 1000 Egyptian pounds.
3- Silk is your favorite followed by cotton and then skin.

You take all these factors, and you put them in an equation based on the value of each attribute and how important it is to you. It produces so-called algorithms.
You apply these algorithms to the coats in the shop and let it be 100 coats. It comes out with a list of only 20 coats arranged in a certain way according to your own standards.

This is the idea of Google’s algorithms exactly but more complex, intelligently and paper-wise, with a large number of ranking factors (Google has more than 200 workers to arrange search results).

Search engines, including Google, do not advertise their own criteria or the factors they use to arrange search results.
So on what basis were we able to figure out a lot of these factors? And on what basis does the SEO industry

The most important information sources underlying the SEO industry

Search engine information

Search engines are not entirely stingy for site owners. But there is some information you share with them. There is a Google guide on search engine optimization, and another for the Bing search engine.

Analytical tools

There are a lot of important analytical tools, through which you can get graphic and statistical information about any website, including competitors’ sites. With this information, you can access some modifications that rank your site in search results.

SEO experts

There are a lot of engineers who specialize in search engines who don’t work for a particular search engine. Those with their skills, intelligence and experience can anticipate and come up with some of the factors of order.

Experience and experience for site owners

Finally there is an experience and experience factor which is available to everyone. For example, as a website owner, you can try and test certain variables, in order to achieve better results.

Also, as a regular user of search engines, you can, with some thought and analysis of the initial results, understand the common element between them, which you can apply to your site.

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