#Tech and Artificial Intelligence

What is a Search Engine and What Does It Do? The Top 5 Most Popular Search Engines

Search engines have been designed since 1990 to organize and make accessible the massive amount of information on the web. You will find answers to all your questions related to topic What is a Search Engine and What Does It Do? The Top 5 Most Popular Search Engines in the continuation of the text.

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What is a Search Engine and What Does It Do? The Top 5 Most Popular Search Engines

What is a Search Engine?

A search engine is software that indexes billions of web pages on the internet, searches these pages based on the keywords specified by the user, and presents the most relevant results to its user. Examples include popular search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo!, and Yandex. Search engines allow users to access the information they are looking for quickly and easily.

History of Search Engines

  • Beginning of the 1990s: The first search engines emerged in the early 1990s. Among them are search tools like Archie (initially used as an FTP site indexer), Veronica, and Jughead.
  • WebCrawler (1994): WebCrawler, the first full-text web page search engine, provided users with the opportunity to access the information they were looking for by indexing the entire page content.
  • Altavista (1995): Altavista, which was able to index web pages quite quickly for its time, gained popularity in a short period.
  • Yahoo! (1994): Initially started as a web directory, but later added search engine features and became one of the most popular search engines on the internet.
  • Google (1998): Founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google quickly gained popularity with its PageRank algorithm that analyzed links between pages. Over time, by improving its algorithm, it captured a large portion of the search engine market.
  • Bing (2009): Bing, Microsoft's search engine, replaced its previous version, Live Search, and tried to be an alternative to Google.
  • Other Search Engines: There are also other search engines popular in different regions and with different features, such as Yandex (popular in Russia), Baidu (popular in China), and DuckDuckGo (focused on privacy).

What Do Search Engines Do?

Search engines are digital tools designed to sort, organize, and present the vast and complex heap of information on the internet. Their main functions are:

  1. They provide quick access to specific information or topics for users.
  2. Organize the countless web pages and documents on the Web.
  3. With the ability to predict what the user is looking for, they present the most relevant results.
  4. Allow advertisers to reach their target audience.

How Does a Search Engine Work?

The working mechanism of a search engine usually occurs in three main steps: Crawling, Indexing, and Ranking.

  1. Crawling: Search engines constantly scan the internet using automatic bots called "web crawlers" or "spiders". These bots move from one web page to another through links and discover pages on the web.
  2. Indexing: Pages discovered during crawling are indexed. This is a process where the content of the page is stored in a database so it can be matched with queries later on.
  3. Ranking: When a user enters a query (keyword or phrase) into a search engine, the search engine tries to find the most relevant ones among the indexed pages. This is done using algorithms and signals. Relevance is based on factors such as page content, page authority, user experience, mobile compatibility, and many other factors. The most relevant pages are ranked and presented to the user.

How to Use Search Engines (With Examples)

Search engines are digital tools used to search for specific information or topics. The basic use is quite simple, but you can use some special techniques and methods for more effective results.

Basic Steps of Using a Search Engine:

  1. Entering the Search Engine: First, open a web browser (e.g., Chrome, Firefox, Safari) and go to a popular search engine. Let's use Google as an example: visit www.google.com.
  2. Entering the Search Term: In the empty search box on Google's main page, type the keywords related to the information you are looking for. For example, you can type "chocolate cake recipe".
  3. Search: After typing your keywords, click on the "Google Search" or "I'm Feeling Lucky" button or press the "Enter" key on your keyboard.
  4. Reviewing the Results: Once the search results are listed, click on the links you think have the most relevant information. Titles and descriptions will give you clues about the content.

Tips for More Effective Searching:

  • If you're searching for a specific phrase or sentence, you can search within quotation marks. For example, if you search for "Where art thou Romeo", you will find pages containing this exact phrase.
  • If you're looking for results on a particular topic, use more specific words rather than general ones. For example, instead of "cat", you could use a more specific term like "Ankara Van cat".
  • Search engines like Google support specific operators. For instance, searching "site:wikipedia.org cat" would only bring up cat-related results from Wikipedia.
  • If you want to conduct a more specific search, you can use Google's "Advanced Search" feature. This allows you to filter results for specific date ranges, languages, regions, etc.
  • If you can't find the results you're looking for, try using different variations of your keyword or phrase.

What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) refers to the efforts made to ensure that websites rank higher in search engines. The primary goal of SEO is to optimize a website for search engines, thereby achieving greater visibility in organic (non-paid) search results.

The main components of SEO are:

  1. Technical SEO: This deals with technical aspects of a website like speed, mobile compatibility, site structure, XML sitemap, and the robots.txt file.
  2. Content SEO: Focuses on strategies related to producing quality, relevant, and valuable content. Keyword research, content optimization, and content quality fall under this category.
  3. Off-site SEO: Concentrates on factors outside the website like backlinks and social signals. Strong and relevant backlinks can enhance a website's authority and trustworthiness.

What is a Search Engine Algorithm?

Search engine algorithm is a set of mathematical and programming rules used by a search engine to determine which web pages are the most relevant and useful in response to a user's search query. It dictates the ranking of a web page in search results.

Search engines continually update their algorithms to provide users with the highest quality and most relevant results. These updates aim to filter spammy content, enhance user experience, and adapt to new web standards.

What are the Most Preferred Search Engines Worldwide?

The search engines listed below are favored by different audiences due to their various features and customized algorithms. However, Google continues to be the most widely used search engine globally. Here are the most preferred search engines worldwide and brief information about them:


Google is the most popular search engine worldwide. It was founded in 1998 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin. With services ranging from search, advertising, maps, email, and many others, it stands as one of the leading names in the digital world. Google's algorithm is continuously updated, maintaining its leadership in delivering the most relevant web results.


Bing is Microsoft's search engine. After operating under the names MSN Search, Windows Live Search, and later Live Search, it was rebranded as Bing in 2009. Bing operates in integration with other Microsoft products, such as Windows OS and Microsoft Office.

Yahoo! Search:

Yahoo! was one of the leading internet portals in the late 1990s and early 2000s. However, its popularity has waned in recent years. Since 2009, Yahoo! Search has been powered using Bing technology.


Baidu is China's most popular search engine. It's specialized in searching Chinese content, and its usage outside of China is limited. It serves as the primary search engine for a vast majority of internet users in China.


Yandex is the most popular search engine in Russia, specializing in Russian content searches. Yandex dominates in Russia and also operates in other countries like Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Belarus, and Turkey.


DuckDuckGo is a privacy-focused search engine. It does not record or track the user's search history, offering users an anonymous search experience. Its popularity has increased in recent years due to privacy concerns.

In Summary

Search engines are digital tools used to search for information on the internet. They provide users with the most relevant websites and content related to specific keywords or phrases. In essence, a search engine operates by crawling and indexing websites, then ranking and presenting the results most suitable to the user's query. Globally, the most popular search engine is Google.


On the main page of the search engine, you conduct searches by typing the keywords into the search box and clicking the `Search` button or pressing the `Enter` key.

They provide rapid access to information, facilitate research, allow for gathering information from various sources, and save users time.

Google is the biggest and most used search engine worldwide.

The search term refers to the word or group of words a user types into a search engine. These terms provide clues about the information or topic the user is looking for.

The general purpose of search engines is to provide users with quick and easy access to the information they seek.

An internet search engine is a system that scans and indexes information on the internet, and in response to user queries with specific keywords, sorts and presents this information.