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The functioning of search engine robots

December 17, 2004

Have you ever wondered why Google comes out so fast and with so many pages of results when you make a search query?

How can Google go all over the Web, retrieve billions of pages, scattered among millions of Web sites located all over the planet and post the results it finds, usually in less than two seconds or better?

The secret is that it already has the information located in its many data centers, and it rapidly sends you that information back, without having to fetch it on the Internet every time there is a query, learn! On any given day, Google handles between 100 to 200 million search queries, sometimes even more! Google is used in the example here, but this applies to just about any other major search engine as well.

Today's modern search engines use robots (often called spiders or crawlers) to find and index new websites or pages of older sites that have been updated. A spider can be compared to a small robot that is programmed to 'go out on the Web' at regular intervals of the day or night, in search of new or updated content in the various Web sites it monitors.

After it has 'found' all this precious new data, the search robot (or crawler if you prefer) relays that information back to Google's data centers, where it will eventually be included in Google's database, once Google has performed a complete update of its index, usually once every month or two.

Next: All search engines use crawlers or spiders >>>

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Article written by Serge Thibodeau,
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Copyright (c) Serge Thibodeau 2004

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