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Search Engine Information > Internet Search Engines: Basics > What is a Search Engine?

What is a Search Engine?

April 2004
By Alice Seba

We use the catch-all phrase of Search Engine when talking about search websites, but really there are three main types of search sites:

> What is a Search Engine?

A true search engine or web crawler finds your website by following links through the Internet. This crawler, sometimes called a "spider" stores all this information in a huge database. When search engine users enter a word or phrase into the search engine, the search engine returns web sites ranked according to their importance for that word or words. A website's importance is determined by a number of technical factors, including the content on the page, in it's meta / HTML tags and incoming links.

But let's put it simply: When you ask, "What is a search engine?"...The basic answer is a search engine is powered by technology that travels through links to find all the websites on the Internet. It is different from a directory, which is powered by humans.

Some Important Search Engines: with Yahoo and Google being the most important.

Yahoo Search
Ask Jeeves / Teoma
Alta Vista (powered by Yahoo)
All the Web (powered by Yahoo)
MSN (powered by Yahoo)
AOL (powered by Google)

> What is a Web Directory?

A directory is formed by human beings that arrange websites into categories and allow visitors to search their human-made databases for sites they are looking for. A few examples of web directories:

> Yahoo has its own directory, in addition to a search engine. You can search their directory through categories and by keyphrases. The Yahoo directory accepts paid listings.
> Google also has its own directory. It is comprised of websites listed in the largest human-edited directory The Open Directory Project. The only way to get into the Google directory is by being listed for free in the Open Directory Project.
> Looksmart is a directory, where listed websites pay a set amount (currently 15 cents) each time someone clicks their link.

> Side note: A very small, but important (well, at least I think) directory is our very own WAHM Mall at Internet Based Moms. :)

> What is a Pay-per-Click Search Engine?

A pay-per-click search engine allows website owners to bid for particular keyword phrases. In most cases, the highest bidder gets the top spot in the listing.

A few examples include:

Enhance Interactive (formerly Ah-Ha)

Google has it's own pay-per-click component at Google AdWords. Yahoo also display the pay-per-click results of Overture.


Now that you know more about search engines, let's find out: Should I submit my web site to search engines? ---> cont.

More Search Engine Information: Highly Recommended! 

Check > John Reese's Traffic Secrets 2.0 course is a must have for anyone serious about driving traffic to their website.  Learn more about this fantastic resource by clicking here.


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