How search engines like Google work


President Trump accused Google of manipulating its search results to show negative stories about him, but how search engines display results is more nuanced, experts say.

Search engine algorithms are constantly changing, and the top results of a search are websites with plenty of fresh content and domain authority, according to Tim Schmidt, the founder of Search Engine Optimization Expert. Domain authority includes referrals from other websites — providing a “vote of confidence” for the site in question — along with keywords, Schmidt said.

“Search engines don’t show preference to demographics or political parties,” he said. “They simply serve content based on what fits their algorithm.”

Google News works a little differently than a normal search, according to Clark Boyd, research director of Search Engine Watch, a website with information and marketing on search engines. That’s because the index is manually maintained, he said.

In terms of ranking articles in Google News, the company “is looking at the freshness of the content, how frequently they publish on the topic, do people link to this website, do people stay on the website, who wrote the article, — that’s a growing area, lots and lots of subfactors,” Boyd said.

Sophia Kunthara is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @SophiaKunthara

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