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Web Design – Search Engines

At this point, we see web pages are nothing more than textual content sitting on a server. How the reader finds your content is dependent on your ability to spread your website through social media, word of mouth, and the internet search engine.

Internet Search Engine

Internet search engine can be defined as:

1. A software program that searches a database and gathers and reports information that contains or is related to specified terms.
2. A website whose primary function is providing a search engine for gathering and reporting information available on the Internet or a portion of the Internet.
The search engine, or Word Wide Web (WWW) search engines have been around since the 80’s. The original search engines kept indexes of files stored on servers connected to the internet.
Some orginal search engine programs predating the WWW included:
  • Gopher
    • Gopher was a server that presented its contents as a heirarchically structured list of files. Many of these were converted over to Web sites. Gopher was originally developed at the University of Minnesota and named after the school’s mascot. Veronica and Jughead were search engines allowing you to search global indices stored in the gopher systems.
  • Archie
    • Archie s a program that enables you to search for files anywhere on the Internet by filename. Archie is also touted as being the first search engine on the web. The name Archie was derived as being short for  “archive”. Archie was written by Alan Emtage, in McGill University (Montreal) in 1990. The Archie search engine was a simple search engine that would keep an index of the file lists of all public FTP servers it could find. More can be read on Archie here.


How Internet Search Engines Work

Search engines use programs to crawl and index websites on the Internet. To date, there are more than 60 trillion individual pages online.Crawling is done by programs referred to as Spiders. Get it, spiders crawl the web. These spiders move link to link from one page to another gathering information. They then take that information back to the search engine in order to store it for the public to search on the engine for those websites of interest.


Meta Tags

Meta tags allow the owner of a page to specify key words and concepts under which the page will be indexed. This can be helpful, especially in cases in which the words on the page might have double or triple meanings — the meta tags can guide the search engine in choosing which of the several possible meanings for these words is correct. Ideally, the meta tags reflect the content of the web page. However, over years, many attempt to use meta tags having nothing to do with the page’s content, for the only reason to acquire people to view their page. To avoid situations like this, the robot exclusion protocol was developed.

The index

Programs referred to as Spiders, crawl the web in search of finding information on Web pages. Once they do, they return this information to the search engine as useful as possible. These are programs that never stop, as the information on the Web constantly changes.The index is simply a lookup table, a data structure, usually an array or associative array, often used to replace a runtime computation with a simpler array indexing operation. Once indexed, the results are then ranked by popularity.

You can think of it this way. A program that crawls on your computer, and updates an excel grid with specific words and location of the information found on your computer.

Creating the Search

Searching through the index, is referred to as a query. This is a submission of a search to the search engine.Building a more complex query requires the use of Boolean operators that allow you to refine and extend the terms of the search. Searched by Boolean operators are literal searches, looking for words or phrases exactly as entered.

  • Concept-based searches involves using statistical analysis on pages containing the words or phrases you search for, in order to find other pages you might be interested in.
  • Natural-language consists only of normal terms in the user’s language, without any special syntax or format. ATG Search allows a user to enter terms in any form, including a statement, a question, or a simple list of keywords.


Moving on. There are many “promotional” sites to submit your website too. One of the better, free ones I have come across is ‘Addme’. The free submission site, will submit your website to 20 top search engines. Check it out to promote your site. You can also use their meta tag generator, also available.

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