What is Search Engine and How Does It Work – In A Nutshell

What is Search Engine and How Does It Work – In A Nutshell

how search engine works

Did you know that the word “google” is also a verb? In fact, it has been officially registered as a verb in the Oxford English Dictionary since 2006. Whenever you say “I google something,” – that is grammatically correct. The truth is, we google everything – from information as significant and complicated as the Covid-19 pandemic to trivial things like where to eat. In a glimpse, it gives hindsight of the dominance of the search engine, Google in particular, as part of our lives.

With access to an abundance of information at our fingertips, it is hard to imagine our lives without search engines. While we use it frequently, we may not know how exactly search engines work. It is also worth noting that Google is not the only search engine available, though it is by far the world’s leading and most used search engine. On the other hand, there are also other search engines that you must have heard of or even used, such as Yahoo! and Bing.

Here is how search engines work and why you should care.

What Are Search Engines?

First thing first, what is a search engine? As aforementioned, Google is not the only search engine you can use. As a matter of fact, Google wants you to use google as a verb only when you utilize Google’s search engine for looking up something on the internet.

In simple words, search engines are answer machines. They exist to understand, discover and organize the internet’s content in order to provide the most relevant answers to the questions and inquiries searchers are asking. They are vital tools that find and rank web content that matches with users’ search queries. The main aim of every search engine is similar – to provide the best and most relevant results for users.

Understanding how search engines work – find, index and rank content – will tremendously help you to rank your website in organic search results for relevant and popular keywords. Subsequently, you will get more clicks and drive traffic to your website from ranking high for these queries.

How Do Search Engines Work?

search engine

Search engines work primarily through three functions:


Browse and scour the internet for content and new pages, collecting information for each page and URL they find.


Store and organize the content found during the crawling process. Once a page is in the index, it is in the running to be displayed as a result of relevant queries.


Provide the pieces of content and information that will best answer a searcher’s query, which means that results are ordered by most relevant to least relevant.

Search Engine Crawling

search engine crawling

Crawling is the discovery process in which search engines send out a team of robots – also known as crawlers or spiders – to find new and updated content. Search engines rely on crawlers to scour hundreds of billions of pages on the web for information. Information and content can be varied, ranging from a webpage, an image, a video etc. nevertheless, the content is discovered by links.

A search engine navigates the web by downloading web pages and following links to these pages to discover new pages that have been made available. It starts out by fetching a few web pages and then following the links on those web pages to find new URLs. By hopping, or rather crawling, along this path of links, the crawlers are able to find new content and add it to their index.

Search Engine Indexing

search engine indexing

Search engine indexing is where processed information from crawled pages is added to a massive database called the search index. It allows the crawlers to learn and understand what your site is all about and where to put you in the index. The crawlers or spiders take notes on everything – your webpages, titles, description tags, keywords, navigation. Afterwards, the bots organize the content and information into categories.

Essentially, the giant database is a digital library of trillions of web pages where search engines’ results come from. When you type a query into a search engine, you are not directly searching the internet for matching results. You are searching a search engine’s index of web pages. If a website is not in the search index, search engine users will not find it. Thus, getting your website indexed in major search engines like Google is super important.

Search Engine Ranking

search engine ranking

Search engine ranking refers to the order of search results by relevance. Generally, the higher a website is ranked on the search result results page (SERPs), the more relevant the search engine believes that site is to the search query. In other words, search engines sort through indexed information and return the relevant results for each query. When someone performs a search, the search engines scour their index for highly relevant content and then put it in order – in the hopes of solving the searcher’s query.

More often than not, many marketers and entrepreneurs only give attention to search engine ranking while neglecting the rest of the process. It is important to note that your content must be accessible and visible for the crawlers to be indexed and, thus, to be ranked.

How to Top-Rank on Search Engine Malaysia?

Now that you get the gist of what is a search engine and how it works, getting your website on the top rank of SERP is not impossible after all. Providing helpful content on your website with the most relevant, usable results for related queries on search engines is definitely a good start. By securing a top position of the SERP, you are on the right foot to drive unlimited traffic to your website and skyrocket your sales.

Nevertheless, we at Cleverus understand that you already have a lot on your plate as entrepreneurs and business owners. Let us do what we are good at – search engine optimization (SEO) and digital marketing – while you focus on your business.

Are you ready to dominate the top ranking on Google search results? Contact us at Cleverus or drop us an email at [email protected] for more information.


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