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How do search engines come up with their results?

Business Technology | March 9, 2011

We utilize search engines to help us answer practically any question we may have. If these search engines are showing us the most relevant results, why do those results vary so much?

The reason for that inconsistency has a lot to do with the constant evolution of search algorithms. Google and Bing have both been making big updates to their algorithms that affect the search results you get. What are those updates?

Google

Google’s search algorithm has seen some big adjustments that have many companies concerned. The most substantial of the changes was one that suppresses results from content farms.

Content farms are companies that employ a large number of writers whose job is to produce lots of content that is designed to satisfy search algorithms without much actual or factual content. The main goal of these companies is to generate ad revenue by gaining more page views.

Google’s hope is to place higher quality websites at the top of search results. Google’s new algorithm uses advances in computer intelligence, such as mimicking human understanding, and it could help produce more relevant results. Google is also using Twitter postings to focus on real-time results.

Bing

Bing calls itself a “decision engine,” meaning instead of searching for results that could be relevant, it claims to know what you’re searching for and finds it.

Bing is more of a social search engine than most. It takes into account what sites were shared or “liked” by your friends on social networks and shows you those results, which are often most relevant.

Searching the same topic on two different engines, or even from two different locations can yield quite different results, although all of them may still be relevant.

To learn more about the recent changes to Google, check out this New York Times article.


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