Trying to find specific information on the Internet can be a bit overwhelming. Sometimes you want to be led right to what you are searching for, but other times you enjoy browsing through a list of choices. Where do you go when you need to find this information? The answer is simple – a search engine.
Few understand the makeup of the Internet. The Internet is a collection of FTP (File Transfer Protocol) sites that users have the right to download or upload files. With the millions of sites available, who has time to go through every one in search of specific content? No one! That is where search engines come into play.

A search engine is software that uses applications to collect information about websites. The information normally collected consists of phrases or keywords. These two are likely indicators of what is contained on the website, links into and out of the page, the URL, and the code that makes up a page. All of this information is then cataloged and stored into a database.

A user interface (means by which people interact with the system) is where users enter keywords and phrases in efforts to find specific content. Sites such as Google, Yahoo, and MSN are all examples of search engines.  They have begun offering companies the most ability for them to reach their target market.

A search engine operates in the following order:

  • Web crawling – Search engine programs that “crawl” from one web site to another following the links given to them or included in the page they’re examining.
  • Indexing – Content of the web site is grouped or cataloged into a database.
  • Searching – Once keywords or phrases are entered, the engine examines the database to produce search results.

Taken from source.