Search Engine Techniques

search engine techniques

Search engine techniques are ways to help a person improve his chances of getting useful results from the Internet. While every database and search engine differs slightly, there are some common techniques that are universally applicable. These include a few Boolean operators and more sophisticated wording in search queries. These techniques can cut down on irrelevant search results and save a user time and effort in searching.

A search engine is a computer program that finds information from a collection of data, such as a library catalog or a database but most often the World Wide Web. It produces a list of “pages” — computer files on the Web — that contain or relate to words entered into a search field called a query box. Search engines usually allow users to join terms with the Boolean operators AND, OR and NOT to refine and expand search queries.

To find pages that are relevant to a particular search query, a search engine uses an algorithm to scan the contents of a page, identifying keywords and determining the relevance of each keyword to the subject. The number of times each keyword appears on the page, its location within the page and whether other pages on the Internet link to it are also important factors in determining relevance. The most important pages are displayed at the top of a search engine’s results page.

In addition to using algorithms to determine relevance, the most sophisticated search engines use a variety of techniques to ensure that the results they display are as legitimate as possible. This can involve analyzing the way that pages link to each other to determine what subjects are being discussed and how the content is structured, looking at the language used in a given piece of text to see if it is conversational or formal and analyzing the quality and reliability of a website to see if it is likely to be trustworthy.

Gimmicks that less-reputable search engine optimization firms employ may work for a short period of time, but the search engines quickly become wise to these tactics and will label them as spam. In addition, a search engine can only rank sites based on the information it is provided with, so the most valuable, accurate and relevant information tends to have higher rankings than inaccurate or unsubstantiated materials.

A search engine’s process of indexing, searching and ranking is complex, but it is a vital component of the Internet and helps make it a convenient resource for information. The complexity of the algorithm is what makes the most popular search engines so successful and keeps the others from gaining significant market share. While many attempts have been made to analyze the search engine algorithm, it remains proprietary information for the companies that run the engines and is considered to be a trade secret. This is due to the desire by large search engine providers to prevent manipulation of their results.

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