The following is a Plus Edition article written by and copyright by Dick Eastman.
Genealogy web sites contain information about millions of deceased individuals. Yet sometimes you cannot find anything about the person you seek. Even with unusual names, you might not be able to find anything about a particular man or woman. Indeed, perhaps the information isn't yet published online; but, another common scenario is that the information IS online but the search engines haven't found that information and haven't indexed it. How is that possible? Perhaps a bit of knowledge of how search engines work will explain the "missing information" and help you create an alternative plan to find what you want.
To find information on the hundreds of millions of Web pages that exist, a search engine employs special software robots, called spiders, to build lists of the words found on Web sites. When a spider is building its lists, the process is called Web crawling. Yes, the word play is deliberate: a spider crawls the Web. In this case, the spider is software, and its "web" is the World Wide Web. The spider visits millions of web sites and builds lists of the words it finds. Those word lists are used to build indexes.
The spider from each search engine visits millions of web sites, indexing the words on every page. It also follows every link found on every page in order to find more web pages to index.
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