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Search Engine Basics and Its Classification

Search Engine Classification

Hi friends, we heard the term “Search Engine” and are well familiar with it, not entirely but a little bit, right? 

In this article, Seogdk shared information about Search Engine Basics and their classification. So let's take an overview of search engine history and its various types.

What is a Search Engine?

What do you do when you need to find something on the internet? In most cases, you click on a major search engine’s search box type the term or phrase that you are looking for, and then click through the results, right? But of course, search engines weren’t always around. Okay, so you know the basic concept of a search engine. Type a word or phrase into a search box and click a button. Wait a few seconds and references to thousands of pages will appear. Then all you have to do is click through those pages to find what you want. But what exactly is a search engine beyond the general concept?

It’s a little complicated. On the back end, a search engine is a piece of software that uses applications to collect information about sites. The information collected is usually keywords or phrases that are possible indicators of what is contained on the web page as a whole, the URL of the page, the code that makes up the page, and links into and out of the page. That information is then indexed and stored in a database.

On the front end, the software has a user interface where users enter a search term a word, or a phrase in an attempt to find specific information. When the user clicks a “Search” button, an algorithm then examines the information stored in the back-end database and retrieves links to web pages that appear to match the search term the user entered.

History of Search Engine

In 1991, a student named Mark Mc Cahill at the University of Minnesota decided that if you could search for files on the internet then surely you could also search the plain text for specific references in the files. Because no such application existed, he created Gopher, a program that indexed plain-text documents that later became the first website on the public internet.

From their search as you know, it began to mature. The first real search engine in the form that we know search engines today, didn’t come into being until 1993. It was developed by Matthew Gray and it was called Wandex. Wandex was the first program to both index and search index pages on the web. This technology was the first program to crawl the web and later became the basis for all search crawlers. From there, search engines took on a life of their own. From 1993 to 1998, the major search engines that you are probably familiar with today were created:

  • ·         Excite – 1993
  • ·         Yahoo – 1994
  • ·         Web Crawler – 1994
  • ·         Lycos – 1994
  • ·         InfoSeek – 1995
  • ·         AltaVista – 1995
  • ·         Inktomi – 1996
  • ·         Ask Jeeves -1997
  • ·         Google – 1997
  • ·         MSN Search - 1998

Today, search engines are sophisticated programs, many of which allow you to search all manner of files and documents using the same words and phrases you would use in everyday conversations. It’s hard to believe that the concept of a search engine was just over 20 years ago. Especially considering what you can use to find these days!

Classification of Search Engines

With a decent understanding of how search engines work and how people use those search engines, you can now concentrate on some more detailed information about these search engines. For example - you know that all search engines are not created equal, right? But did you know that there are different types of search engines?

Search engines can be broken down into three different types, these are:

  • ·         Primary
  • ·         Secondary
  • ·         Targeted

Primary Search Engines

The most popular search engines used nowadays are known as primary search engines i.e.  Google, Yahoo!, and Bing. Primary search engines will generate the majority of the Web traffic to your website and focus on your SEO efforts. Each primary search engine slightly differs from the others.

For example – Lycos has been around much longer than Google, yet Google is the most popular search engine on the web. Why is that? Most likely because people find that, when searching the web Google provides better results as compared to Lycos. The difference in those search results is all in the search algorithm used to create the search engine.

Secondary Search Engines

Secondary Search Engines are targeted at smaller, more specific audiences although the content itself is still general. They don’t generate as much web traffic as the primary search engines but they are useful for regional and more narrowly focused searches. Examples of secondary search engines include Lycos, LookSmart, Miva,, and Espotting.

These search engines are just like the primary ones and will vary in the way they rank search results. Some will rely more heavily on keywords whereas others will rely on reciprocal links. Still, others might rely on criteria such as “meta tags” or some proprietary criteria.

Targeted Search Engines

Targeted Search Engines are sometimes called topical search engines. These search engines are very narrowly focused usually on a general topic like medicine or branches of science, travel, sports, or some other topic. Examples of targeted search engines include CitySearch, Yahoo! Travel, and MusicSearch, like other types of search engine rankings criteria, vary from one to another.


These are just basic information and an overview of search engines. In the next article, Seogdk will bring valuable information about SEO and the Web. So friends send your feedback about this article via comments and emails. Till then take care and enjoy your life.....!!!

Gangadhar Kulkarni

Gangadhar Kulkarni is an internet marketing expert and consultant having extensive experience in digital marketing. He is also the founder of Seogdk and Director at DigiTechMantra Solutions, a one-stop shop for all that your website needs. It provides you cost-effective and efficient content writing and digital marketing services.

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