Fifteen years ago if we need information we had to go to library. Writing reports, and preparing for test required hours of scanning shelves filled with books, blowing large chunks of change in the copy matching, checking out a mountains of books, and squinting at microfilm. The internet has chanced all of that. Now when we need to learn something all we have to do is boot up a computer and connect to the internet.

Most people have an extensive favorites list on their computers, a simple click of the mouse and they are at their favorite website. This is a handy feature if you do a lot of online shopping at a particular store or spend a lot of time at a specific chatroom. When they need to use the internet to gather information most people consult an online search engine.

A search engine is an information retrieval system designed to help locate information. Most people are familiar with Google, yahoo, and ask.com. Search engines work when a user types a keyword into the little box. Once the user types in the word the search engine scans all its files. It then provides the user with a page that is full of options, generally twenty. The user scans the list of options and then opens the one that sounds like it best suits their needs. Search engines use something called search engine optimization to determine the ranking of each web address.

Search engine optimization is the art and science of making web pages attractive to the search engines. The more a website appeals to the search engine the higher it will be ranked.

Crawler based search engines determine the relevancy of a website by following a set of guidelines called algorithms. One of the first things a crawler based search engine looks for is keywords. The more frequently a website uses a certain keyword the higher the website will rank. Search engines believe that more frequently a word appears the more relevant the website.

The location of the key words is as important as the frequency.

The first place a search engine looks for keywords is in the title. Web designers should include a keyword in their HTML title tag. Web designers should also make sure that keywords are included near the top of the page. Search engines operate under the assumption that the web designers will want to make any important information obvious right away.

Spamdexing is a term used to describe a webpage that uses a certain word hundreds of times in an attempt to propel their webpage to the top of search engines rankings. Most search engines use a variety of methods, including customer complaints, to penalize websites that use spamming methods. Very few internet search engines rely solely on keywords to determine website ranking. Many search engines also use something called "off the page" ranking criteria. Off the page ranking criteria are ranking criteria's that webmasters cannot easily influence. Two methods of off the page search engine optimization are link analysis and click through measurement.
 

When it comes to internet search engines the top two are without a doubt Google and Yahoo!.

Although the two a fierce competitors they share more common bonds then some people might realize. Both were created by students at Stanford University. Yahoo! was created in January of 1994 by two Stanford graduate students Jerry Yang and David Filo. The pair originally called Yahoo! "Jerry's guide to the World Wide Web" but later changed the name to Yahoo!, commemorating the word the Jonathan Swift defined in his classic novel Gulliver's Travels. In the book Swift stated that the word was "rude, unsophisticated, uncouth." Four years after Yang and Filo had created Yahoo! and introduced it to the world (at this time it was a internet mogul) two different Stanford University students, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, created their own search engine, Google, as a research project, the date was September seventh 1998. Google started out as the search engine used on Stanford University's website before it went public on August 19, 2004. When 2006 ended Google was the leading internet search engine, it enjoyed over 50.8% of the market.

By the time it was a year old Yahoo! had had over a million hits, the sheer number of people who had found and were using Yahoo! prompted it creators to incorporated their creation in May of 1995. Yahoo! went public on April 12 1996 were it earned a total of 2.6 million dollars.

Google's progress was a little slower then Yahoo!s. Shortly after creating Google, Page and Brin registered it as the domain google.com on September 17, 1997 on Stanford University's website. Approximately one year after registering Google on Stanford University's website the pair decided to incorporate their research project. Finally, on August 19, 2004, Google had its very first public offering. Google is currently the favorite internet search engine.

After its meteoritic climb to glory Yahoo!'s creators and shareholders were confident that they were holding onto a gold mine. They didn't predict the burst of the dot.com bubble in the early two thousands. Yahoo! survived the crisis but the value of Yahoo! stocks dropped to $8.11, an all time low.

Yahoo! uses a combination of web crawler compiled and indexed results to rank the websites and webpage are registered on their search engine. In addition to rankings compiled by the web crawler, webmasters can, for a fee, purchase a submission to Yahoo!'s human compiled directory. The annual yearly fee is about three hundred dollars. The theory is that the listing human's provide will influence web crawlers into giving the website a higher ranking.

Google credits its success and popularity to the program it uses to search and rank webpage's, a program it calls PageRank. Because Google is worried about webmasters using abusive techniques to garner higher rankings for their search engines Google carefully keeps the hows and whys of PageRank a closely guarded secret. Google does confess that PageRank runs on a link analysis algorithm. PageRank was different from all the rest of the search engine optimization techniques because it graded each page based on the number of and quality of the links that pointed to it.

Yahoo! quickly grew fond of offering the webmasters that subscribed to its search engine the opportunity to purchase something called paid inclusion. In exchange for a fee, Yahoo! guaranteed that the webpage's would be ranked. What Yahoo! didn't guarantee was what type of ranking the webpage's would receive; they refused to promise that the webpage's would appear in the first two pages of a search.

Google uses a pay-per-click method to charge advertisers. Each time an advertisers link is clicked Google charges the account fifty cents.