An Introduction To Search Engines For Beginners

A Beginner’s Introduction To Search Engines

This chapter is strictly for absolute beginners who are starting to learn SEO from scratch. In this chapter, you will find a brief introduction to search engines at a beginner’s level. 

A Beginners Introduction To Search Engines

 

Anyone with a fair understanding of search engine basics can skip this chapter on introduction to search engines for beginners and move to the next one – Layout Of Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs).

I wish to clarify that, this chapter is written keeping “Google” in mind as the search engine. I chose to use the Google search engine because it is the most widely used search engine in the world. But every concept explained here applies to other search engines as well.

Topics Covered In this chapter

Who uses the internet (Search Engines) and why?

The answer to the above question is very obvious and very simple. Of course, it is human beings regardless of gender uses the internet. In this digital era, there are only a handful of people who still do not use the internet.  Each and every human being on earth in one or the other form is dependent on the internet.

Note: An experienced digital marketer need not be given an introduction to search engines. This introduction to search engines is for beginners who are keeping their baby steps into the world of digital marketing and S.E.O. 

Internet – a new channel by which people can carry out their shopping, banking, and social transactions online – has changed the way today’s global population live and interact.

If we look back, say, 15 – 20 years ago, there was a time when, we had to go in search of any piece of information that we wanted to several places, meet several people, spend loads of money, time, and energy. Even then, after so many efforts, there was no guarantee of getting the right information that we were searching for.

But, today, in this digital era, we have the blessings of vastly spread internet which is available at a very low cost and at an alarming speed. Anything that you wish to know or understand is available on the internet. The information is just a second away from your Google Search.

For example, say, in 1980s, if a person residing in India, wanted to know which is the capital of the country Seychelles, he had to travel to a nearby library, scan through the shelves, pick right kind of book that would probably give the right answer, scan through the pages of the book and, if he gets lucky, he would get the right answer. Imagine how much of time has been spent to figure out the capital of a country. 

But, today, the scenario is totally different. Just pull out your mobile phone from your pocket, open the Google App, key in Seychelles on the search box and you get all needed information about the country Seychelles. All this happens in less than a minute.

The world has come too far with the advent of the internet. Information about anything and everything is available on the internet. Thanks to the internet and search engines which is making the world – “Information Friendly”. Hence, I would like to call this era – Information Age.

What is Search Engine? 

Search Engine is a tool or software that helps people get information from the internet. People ask for information on Search Engines and it delivers it. The mechanisms used by search engines to deliver results will be discussed later. For now, understand that the internet or more specifically, the world wide web is scattered with tons of millions of information. When we ask search engines for specific information, it searches its entire database for the specific information and gives you related results in the form of either videos, images or web pages. The below figure shows an example of one such search about “buy land in Bangalore”.

 

Search engine query for buy land in bangalore

What are the different kinds of searches/queries?

People use the internet for getting information. Information could be related to anything ranging from a toothbrush to land availability in Mars. For any kind of information, people or users search on the search engine.

The main uses of the search engine are to provide relevant information to users who are browsing the internet for information.    

The words or phrases that we use to type on the search engines to look for our desired information is called Keyword(s).

The search action is called – querying the search engine.

The resulting pages that appear as a result of querying is called “Search Engine Result Pages” (SERPs).

The picture above shows the SERP for “buy land in Bangalore” query on Google.

The different kinds of searches/queries are classified as follows:

  1. Navigational Queries
  2. Informational Queries
  3. Transactional Queries

a.Navigational queries

Queries typed by searchers when they know exactly what they are looking for on the web. For example: Searching for keyword “Donald Trump Wikipedia” on Google will result in links that will directly take you to Donald Trump’s Wikipedia page.

search query for donald trump wikipedia

b.Informational queries

Queries typed by searchers when they want to learn about something – it could be anything depending on what people want to learn. They are not looking for a particular website, rather they are OKAY with anyone or any websites that can give them the needed information.

For example: A simple search for Keyword “How to prepare chicken burger” will result in several links in the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages) which the searcher can leverage. According to Pennsylvania State University, 80% of searches on the search engine are informational searches.

search engine query for "how to prepare chicken burger"

 

c.Transactional queries

Queries for buying or purchasing – in simple words, something that involves a transaction is called Transactional Queries.

For example: A simple search for keyword “Java Books Amazon” is a Transactional Query. It can also be a Navigational Query, as the searcher knows exactly from where to buy.

search query for "java books amazon"

 

As another example: A simple search for the keyword “Nearby vegetarian hotel” is a transactional query as well.

Examples of major search engines

The different types (or various kind) of Search Engines include:

a. Google

b. Bing

c. Yahoo

d. Ask.com

e. AOL.com

f. Baidu

g. WolframAlpha

h. DuckDuckGo

i. Internet Archive

j. Yandex.ru

Among all the above examples of search engines, ’Google’ is the most dominant and reliable search engine used throughout the world followed by Yahoo and Bing.  Though in countries like China and Russia, ‘Baidu  and ‘Yandex’ are more prominent.

What is the goal of search engines?

The main goal of every search engine is to provide with the best, relevant and appropriate search results to the users(searchers). In other words, give users the best search experience with relevant, fast and recently updated contents for which the users are looking for.

If a search engine fails in giving users relevant results, the user may switch to another search engine expecting better results. This is like a customer choosing the right vendor among several other competitors.

Therefore every search engine is very strict in providing the best user experience and for that, they invest a tremendous amount of time, energy money to improve their relevance.

Why people use search engines?

People use search engines mainly for 3 reasons:

a.Research

People are looking for solutions/answers to their specific problems/queries. For example, students use search engines for research papers for their projects or learn about their favorite subject. As another example, a fitness enthusiast may use the search engine to learn and understand about fitness and nutrition etc. 80% of search engine queries are research-based queries. And search engines love websites that are rich in information or research-based content. That is the reason Wikipedia is always at the top of the SERPs.

b.Entertainment

People use search engines to browse for their favorite movies online (using YouTube or other video streaming sites), play games, use social networking sites etc. There are plenty of ways, people use search engines for keeping themselves entertained.

c.Shopping

People use search engines to buy something. Before making a buying decision, they use the search engine for research on a particular item they are interested to buy. Once thorough research is done they go ahead and do shopping online. Famous websites for shopping include Amazon.com among many other e-commerce websites.

What is SEO or Search Engine Optimization?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a set of activities/techniques/processes performed on a particular website/webpage to rank it higher on the search engine result pages (SERPs) naturally ( without the need for paying to the search engine companies).

The website or a webpage that has performed SEO on it is called a “Search Engine Optimised website” or “Search Engine Optimised webpage”. Such websites or pages will be ranked higher on the search engine result pages(SERPs) for particular keyword searches for which it has been optimized.

The goal of every website owner who does SEO is to get his website onto the first page of Google’s search engine results. More the visibility of the website or webpage on Google, more the visitors, and more customers.

More on “how to do SEO” on your website would be learned in further chapters.

Who will do SEO and why?

SEO is done by website owners to rank it higher on the search engine result pages naturally. The website owner could be an individual blogger or a team of SEO professionals working for a big company like Amazon.

The main reason for them to perform SEO is to drive traffic to their website with an intention to make sales either directly by selling their own products or by selling third-party Ads.

Who is an SEO Professional?

A Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Professional is the one who performs SEO on websites that include analyzing, reviewing and implementing strategic changes to websites so that they are optimized for search engines.

By doing this, an SEO professional is trying to increase the number of visitors ( or traffic ) to the website by improving page rank within search engines.  An SEO professional’s main job is to get more visitors to the website who can later become converting customers.

 

Congratulations! You are done with the first chapter on “Introduction to Search Engines” for beginners. Hope you enjoyed the reading.

Congratulations

 

All the best for your next chapter on “Layout Of Search Engine Result Pages“.  In the next chapter, you will learn how Google shows search results in various formats based on the type of user search queries.

Feel free to comment below on whether this blog post on “Introduction to Search Engines” was useful or not. If yes, please do me a favor by sharing it with others who might benefit.

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Subhash.K.U is a Professional Programmer turned Digital Marketing Enthusiast. He is the most sought marketing consultants for small and medium scale businesses. He founded Subhash Digital Academy to teach professional digital marketing skills to students, entrepreneurs, and working professionals. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering and is an Oracle Certified Programmer. He also holds certificates of Google AdWords, Facebook Blueprint and Hubspot Marketing. He is the co-author of the best selling book – Cracking The C, C++ and Java Interview published by McGraw Hill. He is now penning another book on the subject of marketing and entrepreneurship.

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