What is a search engine?

A search engine is a program with which large volumes of data by key words, called keywords can be searched. Serve as a data source documents, which indexes the search engine that is, from reading and in the so-called index s Peichert so indicated has. Such a document usually represents a website on the Internet. The indexed content is then published text, images, but also links.
The first search engines were used in the library system. The theoretical basis of all search engines is “ Information Retrieval” , which deals with the computer-aided search for complex terms.

What is the overall goal of a search engine?

The search engine Google has defined its own goal of always wanting to present the best, i.e. most relevant, content or answer to a search query. In order for this to be successful, the search engine relies on an algorithm that evaluates over 200 factors per page found and puts them into a ratio. It is also about presenting useful content as quickly as possible. These factors are also mapped in the algorithm and thus the ranking factors.

The search engine Bing, for example, would like to establish itself (as of July 2020) as a search engine for online trading. The original search engine Yahoo, on the other hand, is now nothing more than a web portal that has a search option, but B ing fills it with search results.

How do search engines search the internet?

Search engines save documents from a data source. If a query is now sent to the search engine, i.e. if a keyword is entered, the search engine searches all stored documents in its database for this keyword. With the help of various algorithms, i.e. more complex calculation formulas, the relevance of each document for the keyword is determined and then ranked (SERP). The result displayed is the ranking of websites in relation to a specific keyword. Often a small excerpt of the content is included, so-called meta information.

In addition to indexing websites, search engines have also made directories all over the world accessible, such as literature, business directories or news archives.

How do websites get in the search engine index?

On the one hand, bots, so-called crawlers, index, i.e. record, the websites and their content. This is a fully automated process and makes it possible for the search engines to encounter the constantly growing number of websites. On the other hand, it is still possible to manually enter websites for indexing in the Google Search C onsole. This is particularly advantageous if there was no indexing due to technical misconfiguration or if content on a website needs to be crawled again.

Historical development

In 1990 the first search engine for the Internet, “Archie”, was developed at McGill University in Montreal. In 1991 “Veronica” and “WAIS” followed. In the 90 i like the 20th century, followed by an explosion of different search engines (Source: History of search engines).

In the meantime, the field of search engines has differentiated. Google is the world leader, followed by Bing. Yahoo!, (as already mentioned, this is actually a Bing search on the web portal), Baidu and Yandex Metrica. In addition, there are now Duck Duck Go and Ecosia, Wolfram Alpha, Ask, Qwant, Startpage and many more. There are also a number of special search engines.

General and special search engines

General search engines try to build an index as large as possible and organize it internally. Examples of such search engines are Google, Yahoo !, Bing, Baidu or Yandex.

Special search engines concentrate on a delimited thematic index from the start.

There are special search engines for certain subject areas, such as taxes, law, medicine or sports. The search software of some libraries also belongs to the special search engines, as they have a precisely defined database. Intranet search engines are widely used by companies and organizations. Access is usually restricted and the data sources reflect internal servers or hard drives. Thinking search engines search through the data on a computer (PC or MAC).

Experience report from various search engines: Beyond Google – alternative search engines put to the test

Search engines are usually free of charge for the user. Companies that want to be well placed for certain keywords, but are not, can buy paid positions marked as advertising. At Google this is called Google Ads (SEA), at Bing “Microsoft Advertising”. Other search engines have comparable offers.

Search engines: What are the alternatives to Google?

According to gradinmath.com, Yahoo! and Bing formed as an alternative. In the meantime there was also Altavista (closed in 2013), Lycos (still active, but little known in Germany in the meantime ). The introduction of Duck Duck Go, which promised better privacy and appeared in time for the NSA scandal, caused a bit of a stir . Ecosia, a search engine that promises to plant trees if you use them, is also popular in the constantly changing Internet user community . For a closer look at the alternatives to Google, see the following Experience report from various search engines: Beyond Google – alternative search engines put to the test

Why do users use alternative search engines on the Internet?

It is not only since the NSA scandal that users on the Internet have become more and more aware of your traces and the associated risks. Tracking, cookies, data protection are also the topics that some of the alternative search engines propagate, or their different handling of data than the industry giant. As internet users are becoming more and more aware of the value of their data, more and more people are opting for alternative search engine offers. The tendency to make “green decisions”, i.e. those with the least possible damage to the environment or even a positive impact on the environment and people, is also increasing. The alternative search engine Eco, for example, works on this aspectsia there. Which, in addition to increased data protection, also offers to plant trees – i.e. to do good directly.

It remains to be seen how the major search engines react to these trends and how many people use the alternative search engines. So far, the industry leader is still clearly Google.

Search engine optimization vs. search engines

In early his years of 21, J ahrhunderts, the professional “has search engine optimization ” (SEO) developed. This tries to “manipulate” the results of the search engine by designing the indexed documents in a special way. This includes a wide variety of technical as well as structural and content-related factors.
Meanwhile, the search engine optimization is an important tool for search engine itself, as the SEO experts make a Web technology and content “clean” can. In view of the immense amount of data and offers on the web and the limited computing and storage capacity of the search engines, SEO s ensure smoother and faster indexing of websites. This also explains why major search engines such as Google provide information to website operators when updates are forthcoming .

Continue to the article search engine optimization

The future of search engines: where is it headed?

All search engines, whether Google or special search engines, try to understand the language better and to teach the algorithms. Among other things, artificial intelligence and neural networks are used for this purpose, which can also learn and understand more distant relationships between words and expressions and, for example, colloquial language. The spoken inquiries are also continuously analyzed, so that the hit rate is also better with everyday noises and dialect. In addition, for example, Google trains its bots to recognize images or relevant areas on graphics, photographs and the like.

It will be exciting to see what is generated from the findings of these learning processes for services or updates. The only thing that is certain is that search engines will continue to be subject to constant change and further development in the future .

What is a search engine