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What is a Search Engine?
Search engines are online facilities that help people search the Internet. There are four kinds of search engines: standard, Meta, pay-per-click (PPC) and directories.
Standard search engines employ a robot (a complex piece of software) to crawl the Internet and fetch data such as web pages, images, videos, audio files and more.
Meta search engines do not crawl the Internet. They rather crawl other search engines to obtain their results.
PPC search engines rely on advertisers listing their resource for a fee. This fee is charged when visitors click on the advertiser's listing.
Directories obtain their listings from people submitting a listing to them. Unlike PPC search engine submissions, directory submissions do not involve a fee when a visitor clicks the listing. Having said that, some directories do charge advertisers a one-time or recurring fee for the listing to be included in the search engine.
Some search engines employ more than one of the above methods of data collection. For example: some standard and Meta search engines use the PPC concept to sell advertising. This is one of the ways in which they might generate revenue.
To conclude: there are several kinds of search engines ranging from standard, Meta, PPC and directories. Each work differently. Some search engines are a combination of 2 or more search engine types and use these combinations to generate revenue.