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Popular Search Engines
Information courtesy of Dowco

The best think about the World Wide Web is that there are hundreds of millions of pages online. The worst thing about it is that there are hundreds of millions of pages online.

Search engines work by searching through a previously generated database of web pages. A query to a search engine will start a query on the database, with the results being ordered by algorithms unique to each search engine.


The search algorithm is a closely guarded trade secret wqith all search engines. Since it is important for businesses to have a high ranking in a search engine result, webmasters will put in key works or other tags on a web page to attract a higher search engine ranking. Algorithms take such obvious tricks into account to give valid results based on a page's relevance to a search query, and the page's general level of importance based on several factors.

Most databases are compiled with automated web-bots, small programs that traverse the internet, copying each page it comes across. The pages are then cross referenced with the pages it links to as well as other pages that link to the first page.

Databases can also be put together from human created listings. However the large size of the internet makes these search engines less common today.


Yahoo, MSN and Google are present. In fact according to the website Alexa, in July 2006 they represent the 3 most visited sites (in that order). Google is generally regarded as having the largest database of web pages. so you'll find sites with Google that you wouldn't find in other search engines.

One key tag on web pages that search engines look at which doesn't show up in browsers is the meta bag. This is a listing of words in the HTML code that is a relevant to the page and helps search engines catalog where that page belongs. On the down site, these tags can be irrelevant to the page and just entered to allow the page to show up in searches for something other that the page subject. If you've ever searched for movie reviews, and found the search engine returned links to adult sites, this is how that was done.

All search engines allow you to enter advanced searches to pare down the results from thousands to a more reasonable number of pages. You can be more specific in your search parameters, and you can exclude words, even whole web sites from the search.