Last Updated on July 19, 2023 by Jordan Alexo
Did you know people make 3.5 billion searches daily on Google? Yep, that’s right!
But what is a search engine? How do they work? What is the primary goal of a search engine?
Quick answer: A search engine is meant to help people like you and me find relevant information as fast as possible.
Anyway, stick around because, in this guide, you’ll discover: a brief history of search engines, how they work, different types of search engines, and what to expect in the near future.
- Relevance is King: The primary goal of a search engine? To serve up the most relevant and accurate info for your search query. It’s all about making your life easier, one search at a time.
- The Three-Step Dance: How do search engines work? It’s a three-step tango: Crawling, Indexing, and Ranking. They find the content, store it, and then use it based on relevance.
- Different Strokes for Different Folks: There are two main types of search engines: Spider or Crawler-Based and Human-Edited Web Directories. Each has unique features, so find the one that works best.
- The Future is Now: Voice search, AI, local search, visual search – the future of search engines is here, and it’s exciting. Stay on top of these trends to maximize your search experience.
- SEO is Your Secret Weapon: If you’re a business owner, SEO is your ticket to the top. It’s all about making your website more visible and providing a better user experience. So get your SEO game on point, and watch your business grow.
What’s The Main Goal Of A Search Engine?
Let’s go straight to the pina colada.
The search engine’s main goal, no matter if it’s Google, Bing, or the underdog DuckDuckGo, is to help people find the most relevant and accurate information for their searches.
It’s all about you – the user.
Just think for a moment. You type in a question, a phrase, or a word, and boom! In less than a second, you’ve got millions of results at your fingertips.
But it’s not just about speed. Nope, it’s about giving you the right information.
Based on a study on Moz’s study:
71% of searches result in a page one organic click. And pages two and three get only 5.59% of the clicks.
For that reason, search engines work so hard to get it right. Because they know you’re most likely to find your answer on the first results page.
But here’s the thing:
It isn’t just about serving you and other people. See, search engines have to balance user experience with making money.
After all, they’ve got bills to pay. As they say, “Two things are guaranteed in life: death and taxes.”
So, while their primary goal is to provide relevant information. Also, search engines are designed to make money, mainly through advertising.
And that’s why “Google is valued as over a trillion-dollar company.”
Next time you Google something, remember it’s not just a tool. Rather a well-designed system.
That balances your and other people’s and business’s needs, all with one goal – to give you the most precise information possible when needed.
A Brief History Of Search Engines
The history of search engines is a wild ride, filled with innovation, competition, and a lot of code.
Back in the day, we had Archie – the first-ever search engine. It was a simple tool, but it laid the groundwork for everything that came after.
Fast forward to the 90s, and we saw the rise of Yahoo, AltaVista, and, later, Google.
Gosh, I still remember using AltaVista with my dial-up internet connection.
Anyway, speaking of Google, did you know that when it first launched in 1998, it processed just 10,000 search queries daily?
And nowadays, that number has skyrocketed to over 9 billion daily searches. That’s a growth of 900,000,000%! That’s crazy!
The evolution of search engines also shows the rapid technological advancements and our insatiable thirst for information.
Meet Search Generating Experience
From the humble beginnings of text-based searches, we’ve moved on to voice search, image search, and even AI (Artificial Intelligence)-powered predictive search.
In fact, Google is testing and planning to implement a system called “SGE (Search Generative Experience).”
It’s a way to help people get an answer to whatever they are searching for right on the spot. Without needing to spend so much time searching for God knows how long!
Next time you use a search engine, take a moment to appreciate the decades of innovation that have made it what it is today.
I say it’s a testament to human ingenuity and our relentless pursuit of knowledge.
Plus, AI in search engines is being reshaped to give people faster information and more personalized search results.
How a Search Engine Works?
Ever wonder what goes behind the scenes when you hit ‘Enter’ after typing in your search query?
It’s like a well-choreographed dance, a three-step tango that happens in the blink of an eye:
1 – Crawling
This is where search engines send out robots, aka spiders or crawlers, to find new and updated content.
For instance, this could be a webpage, an image, a video, or a PDF. You name it, they’ll find it.
2 – Indexing
Once the crawlers have found the content, the search engine processes it and stores it in a giant database known as an index.
This is like the search engine’s own version of a library catalog.
In fact, for a blogger, this step is essential. You want your content quickly indexed to rank and appear on the search engine results page (SERP).
Well, the faster your blog post (or whatever) shows up in the SERP, the faster people click on it and read it.
3 – Ranking
When you search, the search engine goes through its massive database and shows you the best results.
In other words, “possibly” (not always) the most relevant and credible sources online.
And you’re probably wondering, “how the heck do search engines know what are the most credible sources?”
Well, Google has an algorithm that uses over 200 ranking factors to tell which site is badass and deserves to be at the top of the SERP.
These factors include:
- Keyword usage
- Site Usability
- Backlinks (the number of quality sites linking to yours)
- Mobile friendliness of the site and more
Based on a study by Ahrefs: The top-ranking page in Google’s search results gets the most search traffic in 49% of cases.
That’s why search engines work so hard to get this right – the higher the rank, the more visibility and traffic. Also, that’s the reason site owners battle tooth and nail to reach the top positions on SERPs. Because they know:
More Traffic = More people buying and reading your stuff
What Are The Two Main Types Of Search Engines?
You might think they’re all the same, but there are two main types: Spider or Crawler-Based and Human-Edited Web Directories.
1 – Spider Or Crawler-Based Search Engines
You have Google, Bing, Yahoo, and Yep (Ahrefs new search engine). As I mentioned, these search engines use robots to crawl through websites and index their pages.
They’re all about automation and scale, processing billions of pages ruthlessly.
2 – Human-Edited Web Directories
Sites like Wikipedia and DMOZ take a more hands-on approach. These directories allow people to edit and add new entries, ensuring high accuracy and relevance.
Well, they don’t have the scale of their spide-based counterparts. But they make up for it with their human touch.
See, each search engine has one goal: to give you the most relevant and precise information for your search. So pick your poison or use both to find whatever knowledge you want.
What Are The Most Popular Search Engines?
So who eats the biggest piece of the pie? Well, that’s Google, the undisputed king of search. Then there’s Bing, Yahoo, and YANDEX. Each one has its unique features and strengths.
Google has trampled its competition because it has the most advanced ranking algorithm and search technology.
Also, links and anchor text signals initially made Google the dominant search engine. Other search engines back then didn’t have the same ranking capabilities.
So, their searches weren’t as relevant and accurate as Google’s.
And based on Statistica, as of 2023, Google has 85.53% of the global search market. It’s the heavyweight search champion, delivering relevant results at lightning speed.
But don’t count out the others. See Bing, Microsoft’s search engine, has made an impact, especially in the US market.
And DuckDuckGo, with its focus on privacy and not tracking users, has helped people keep their asses safe while Googling or, perhaps, DuckDucking around.
While Google might be the king of the mountain, it’s not always the best choice for every search. It depends on what you want; you might prefer Bing, Yahoo, or DuckDuckGo.
So don’t be afraid to give them a spin and see what you like the most.
If you have an online business, don’t only focus on Google. Also, optimize your site for other search engines to reach more people and get more traffic.
What Are The Emerging Trends In Search Engine Technology?
Search engines are always evolving and innovating. And to stay in front of your competitors, you must keep updating and learning the newest trends.
1 – Voice Search
With the rise of smart speakers and digital assistants like Alexa and Siri, voice search is becoming more and more popular.
Based n a report by Juniper Research, it’s estimated that by 2023, there will be 8 billion digital voice assistants in use. Crazy, that’s more than the world’s population!
2 – Artificial Intelligence
Search engines are getting smarter, thanks to AI. They’re learning to understand context, interpret natural language, and even predict what you will search for before you do it.
Then there’s local search.
With the rise of mobile devices, search engines are getting better at delivering local results. So if you’re a local business, make sure you’re optimizing for local search.
According to a study by GotoGulf, 46% of all Google searches are looking for local information.
3 – Visual Search
Platforms like Google Lens are leading the way. It lets people search using images instead of words. It’s a new way to search for something.
It’s a new way of searching, and it will only get bigger. Here’s a Google video explaining it:
The future of search is changing and darn exciting. In case you have an online business, you need to know about these trends to take advantage.
So keep learning, experimenting, and optimizing your site to adjust to these new techs.
What Is SEO And How To Do Search Engine Optimization?
Lastly, if you run an online business, then SEO and search engines go hand in hand. You simply can’t afford to ignore SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
Because SEO is all about making your website more visible to the people searching for your products or services.
It’s about understanding what the heck your audience searches to find your site’s content.
And optimizing your blog posts and overall content to rank higher for those search terms.
But SEO isn’t just about driving traffic. Nope, it’s also about providing a better user experience. For instance:
- Fast Loading Times: Nobody has the patience nowadays to wait forever to open a website. You need to have a site that loads between 1-3 seconds. Otherwise, people will leave.
- Mobile-Friendly: People increasingly use mobiles to do everything, including navigating websites.
- Skimmable Content: People skim through blog content. Yep, few people read the full post. So, you have to make their life easier by providing content with bullet points, subheadings, key takeaway sections, and shorter paragraphs.
SEO isn’t just for the big fish out there. Whether you have a small blog, or a business selling white socks (boring), SEO is for you.
You must learn to optimize your site to rank higher and receive “organic” traffic from search engines.
If you’re starting and wondering where to learn the basics: read this post, “How to write an SEO blog post.” I explain all the details to help you get your feet wet.
But don’t worry, because nowadays, you also have SEO AI tools like Neuronwriter.
This tool tells you what keywords to target, word count, etc., to rank your content higher in search engine results.
Last Thoughts: The Primary Goal of a Search Engine
So now you can bore your friends with everything you found about search engines. From their humble beginning to the mind-blowing technology they use today.
You’ve seen how they work, why they matter, and how they’re shaping the future of discovering information online.
But let’s quickly recap everything:
The search engine’s main goal is to provide the most relevant and accurate information for your search query. It’s all about relevance. Giving you the most accurate and relevant pages based on your search.
And remember, search engines are always evolving. With new trends like voice search, AI, local search, visual search, and more.
So as someone with an online business, you must keep updated with the latest trends and take advantage.
And remember, relevance is king (I can’t stress that enough). So ensure your content is relevant, your website is user-friendly, and your SEO game is on point.
Do that, and you’ll be ahead of many other websites.
If you’d like to ask something, leave it below, Jordan Alexo will reply shortly after. Thanks for reading!