Search Engine Techniques

search engine techniques

Search engines work by examining millions of Web pages (called “hits”), looking for information that matches the user’s query. The resulting data is then ranked by relevance and ordered according to the engine’s own algorithm. Search engines employ a variety of techniques to help users narrow the results, such as using truncation, special characters and quotation marks. Ultimately, it’s up to the user to learn and use these techniques in order to find what they need.

The greatest challenge for a search engine is how to determine what information is most relevant when there are many hits for a given search term. The Web is a vast collection of pages with varying levels of quality, including commercial content, national databases, research reference collections and private material. For example, a Web search for “bank” could produce hundreds of millions of hits, ranging from financial institutions to the blog of a conspiracy theorist.

In this environment, a search engine must be able to identify which of these millions of pages are most relevant, and then prioritize them so they appear in the user’s search results before pages that may be less useful or even irrelevant. Judging the relevancy of a page is a complex process that involves evaluating the contents, structure and metadata of a website. It also involves comparing this information against a search engine’s own database and other sources of indexes.

While the processes involved in a search are complex, there are some basic elements that can be understood by a business owner trying to optimize their website for search. For example, search engines are influenced by the words on a page, the overall theme of the page and the amount of times a specific word appears on a page, as well as the popularity of a word. Search engines also use various techniques to evaluate links on a page, how many other pages link to a page and the importance of those linked pages.

Search engine techniques can vary widely from one search engine to the next, and there are many tricks that experts use to narrow their searches. For example, the use of truncation can reduce the number of results by allowing a search engine to ignore words that are too long. Special characters like the tilde () and caret () can be used to exclude words that are too common or have the same meaning as another word. The use of capital letters in a search can be used to narrow the scope of a search by focusing on proper nouns, although this is rarely useful since most engines now ignore capitalized words regardless of whether they are capitalized in the query or in the results.

Adding quotes around a phrase tells the search engine to only look for pages that contain that exact phrase as entered by the user. This is particularly helpful when searching for a very specific term, such as a person’s name, or a particular quote. For example, searching for “cool bow ties” without quotation marks will result in many pages that only mention a person with the name of Cool, or simply talk about bow ties, while searching with quotation marks (“”) will return more specific results, such as websites selling these types of products.

You May Also Like