In less than 20 years, the internet has gone from not existing to being one of the biggest and most influential industries in the world.


Google, which was only founded in 1998, is now the most popular search engine on the web. Every day, billions of people use it to find information, buy products, stream video, and many other uses.


The Three Stages of Search Engines


While we all rely on the internet for practically everything today, most people have no actual idea how it works.


Search engines like Google, Bing!, and others use three basic stages. The first is crawling, where content is discovered. The second is indexing, where the discovered content is analyzed then stored in huge databases. And the third is retrieval, which is when you use Google to find what you are looking for on the web.




Crawling involves scanning a website to get a complete list of everything on it, including page title, keywords, and links to other sites.


Google uses automated bots called “spiders” to scan hundreds of new websites every second.


How Web Search Engines Work – Indexing

Once a site has been discovered and crawled through, the search engine will then index it, separating it into its various components so that it can be shared with the search engine’s users according to multiple subjects and uses.  storing it in vast hard drives capable of holding petabytes worth of data.


Google stores the data its search engine indexes in vast hard drives capable of holding petabytes worth of data.


How Web Search Engines Work – Retrieval 


The third and final stage is actually performed by you. When you type keywords into Google’s search engine, you are asking the search engine to retrieve the results it indexed and display them on your device.


Google uses a complex, constantly changing algorithm to display the results in the order the search engine believes will be most useful to you.

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