Definition

A program that indexes documents, then attempts to match documents relevant to a user’s search requests.


Information

The term search engine is most commonly used to refer to Web search engines, although other types of search engines exist. Web search engines attempt to index a large portion of pages on the World Wide Web. Other search engines are topic-specific, region-specific, and even site-specfic.

There is also some confusion about the different between a search engine and a search destination. A search engine powers the search process and provides results for a search destination. A search destination can use its own engine, a 3rd-party engine, or a combination. Knowing the difference between an engine and a destination is important when submitting URLs; a destination using its own engine can accept direct submissions, while a destination using external engines may or may not provide a submission option.

see also: SEO Tools

Related Terms

metasearch engine, search engine optimization, search engine submission, search spy, Web directory

view all terms in the SEO glossary or all terms in the Digital Marketing glossary

Sites

Search Engine Watch

Articles

SEO Agency Tools Price Comparison 2015
MarketingTerms.com (February 14, 2015)

Why Search Engines Must Continue to Be Referees
Traffick (September 24, 2001)

The End of Search Engines?
Search Engine Watch (February 6, 2001)