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What are Search Engines in Digital Marketing?

Learn all about digital marketing, we have built this glossary to help you understand everything to thrive in online marketing and promoting your website or business.

What are Search Engines?
Search engines are intricate online systems that are designed to search for information on the World Wide Web. These programs are typically operated by algorithms, that is, search information by scavenging through a multitude of websites to find and rank relevant results to a given query, based on parameters like relevance and quality.
They regularly update their databases with crawling and indexing processes, always ensuring users get the most up-to-date and relevant information. Among the most famous search engines are Google, Bing and Yahoo, the first one being by far the most popular and utilised.
For businesses and marketers, search engines offer an extraordinary opportunity to reach a broader audience without having to initiate the conversation. They allow for businesses to be found by their potential customers, as long as they have a solid ranking in the search engines results pages.
Search Engines' Role in Digital Marketing
Search engines play an imperative role in digital marketing. With the right strategy, businesses can use them to attract organic traffic, that is, visitors who find your website through unpaid search results. Strategies like Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) are devised specifically to improve a website's visibility on search engines, therefore increasing the amount of organic traffic.
SEO comprises of tactics like keyword optimization, content creation and link building, all with the aim of making a website more appealing to search engines. SEM on the other hand, consists mostly of paid tactics like Pay-Per-Click advertising and display advertising, that increase a website's visibility immediately.
In essence, businesses are competing for visibility on search engines' results pages. The higher the ranking, the more organic traffic, and subsequently, the greater the potential for conversions and revenue.
Search Engines Examples
Google is the leading search engine worldwide with a market share of over 90%. It has achieved its popularity by delivering fast, accurate and increasingly personalized results. Google's algorithms are also intelligent enough to understand context, synonyms and user intent, making it very efficient for a wide range of queries.
Bing, Microsoft’s search engine, holds a much smaller market share but still attracts a sizeable audience. Bing's unique algorithms give it a different perspective on search results, offering a greater emphasis on social media integration and slightly different ranking factors.
Yahoo, despite losing ground in recent years, continues to be a popular search engine, especially among older web users. It's known for its news, finance, and sports services, adding additional appeal for businesses targeting these audiences.