What is an Internet Search Engine?

by | Jul 7, 2010 | Articles

A search engine is a website that uses a series of algorithms, or specific computer programs, to find a selection of the most relevant websites based upon a search criteria. Most search engine users rely upon simple keyword searches to find web pages about their topic of interest.

Depending on the purpose or ability of the search engine, users may enter a combination of keywords as their search criteria. The word keyword has been adopted for a variety of purposes but in the context of this article, a keyword is any single term such as “car” while a keyword phrase is a more specific phrase made up of more general keywords, such as “new car loan”. As the internet grows in size and in variety of uses, search engines continually change to find web pages faster, and deliver the most relevant search results to the searcher.

A website is made up of web pages which is what we all view when using a client browser such as Netscape, Internet Explorer or Mozilla FireFox. With the number of web pages growing by the day, the best estimate available as to the size of the internet is the number of web pages contained in the largest search engine’s index. When a search engine performs a keyword search, it must have a set of possible results. We refer to this as its index. Google™ currently boasts the largest search engine index, proudly announcing on their homepage that, as of this writing, they are searching over 8 billion distinct web pages.

This is not, by any means, the full extent of the Internet as companies like Google hasten to break new ground in areas like indexing telephone directories and public information. Even with this “limited” set of possible search results, finding the page or pages you want fast and with more competitive relevancy is the mission of search engines. If a search engine is not know for delivering relevant results when searched, the engine will have no users conducting searches and generating traffic to resulting websites. It is the massive amounts of traffic delivered from search engine results that generates revenue for businesses who in turn seek to earn more potential customers from search engine queries.

Because of the popularity of Search engines and their applications for E-Business, new ideas involving or catering to search engines are making their appearance on the web every week.

Read more: Who is on top in the Search Engine Business?