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No two search engines are identical, and this is partly due to the way that each search engine's spider operates.  While some spiders gather information by following home page links to internal and external web pages, others look only for the most popular web pages.  Still others, like ASearch.us, gather information about, and highlight, a predefined list of web sites.  Some search engine spiders are configured to ignore files that contain graphics, animation, or sound.

As the spider gathers Universal Resource Locator (URL) and document data, the search engine's software sends this web page data to its indexing software, which stores the information in a database.  The manner in which the data is extracted, indexed, and stored varies from search engine to search engine.  Some search engines index every word in a document; others index only the most relevant words and phrases.  Most search engines index each document's size and word count as well as its title and heading tags.

Internet search engine word cloud

When a user visits a search engine and types in a certain word or phrase, relevant web page titles, descriptions (or extracts), and URLs will appear after the database index is searched.  When the user clicks on the link to a web page, he or she is taken directly to that web page.  Thanks to search engines, web surfers can find the information they are looking for quickly and accurately!

To learn more about search engines, visit Wikipedia's Web search engine page.

For an extensive, annotated list of search engines, visit The Search Engine List.


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