Search Terminology

Up Early Designs

Google gave birth to an entirely new language, search terminology.  Did you ever wonder what bot, crawl or index meant but were afraid to ask?

Well fear no longer.  Over the next few hundred words you will become fluent in “Google-Speak.”

Search Terminology

Before we go into the language of search, first let’s understand a few basics about the process itself.

There are close to one billion websites in the world. Let’s assume each site has one hundred pages, posts, etc. A number I’m pulling out of my “hat” to make a point.

If I can do simple math (which I can), then one could say Google has over 100 billion web pages to “read.” And then organize that data so when someone asks for something they can quickly connect the two.

And Google is fast. Not just Google, computers are insanely fast. Beyond our ability to comprehend.  Here’s an example. A search of  “how fast is Google” returns 278 million suggestions in .64 seconds.

search terminology

The Process

So the process of accessing one hundred billion pages in .64 seconds per the above example involves a little preliminary work.

Google doesn’t actually wait for you to ask a question and then search these 100 billion pages. Instead they are constantly scouring the internet,  looking at these pages.

And organizing the results for future reference. In other words, when someone asks some random question.

Search Terminology

OK, so let’s finally get to the vocabulary of search. Index, bot and crawl are the primary words to know.  And here is how Google uses them in a sentence (how fun).

“Crawling. Crawling is the process by which Googlebot discovers new and updated pages to be added to the Google index. We use a huge set of computers to fetch (or “crawl”) billions of pages on the web. The program that does the fetching is called Googlebot (also known as a robot, bot, or spider).”


So Googlebot, often called a “bot” is the tool (if you will) that searches these 100 billion pages. The process of the “bot” searching these pages is “crawling.” And the results of the bot crawling is “indexed” or stored in a massive database.

One More Time

Let’s summarize. Google is constantly sending out their “bot” throughout the web. And identifying the frequency websites have updates. And those with more updates receive more visits from the bot.

When a “bot” searches the web it is “crawling.” So think of crawl as the verb or action taken by the bot.

And the results are all “indexed” or stored neatly for future reference.

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