How Do Search Engines Answer Questions? – You Must Read

Do you manage to find the right answers to your questions when you enter them in Google search bar?

This is due to the search engines, which give you relevant answers.

There are certain processes followed by search engines to answer a particular user question:

Process 1 – Categorization

When you type a query into the search bar, the search engine tries to determine the intent of the question whether you need information or something related to it.


They follow different methods like –

  1. Neutral matching –

It is the way of interpreting and comparing synonyms of relatedterms.

Let us understand this by an example: suppose you are typing “meaning of paths,” the search engine would first interpret the meaning of “paths” and find its synonyms and then display the answers accordingly.

  1. Canonical queries

These are multiple answers to a particular question.

Suppose if youtype, “Where do we go on a holiday?”

The search engine would assemble all related answers and then display them according to the most relevant ranking factors.

  1. Situational similarities

When a particular user types a question in the search bar, the question is stored in the search engine. Gradually this process continues to build a template of Q&A, which are stored and used whenever a new user may type the exact or similar questions depending on the situations.

  1. Seed set of data

These are chunks of data stored in the database of the search engines and are most likely to appear when you type a query in the search box. It depends on the primary intent of the user question.

  1. Past searches

These are search results, which display depending on the historical pattern of search queries.

These patterns are clusters ofrecorded assumptions. When a user types a certain question, the search engines will try answering them by displaying a set of assumed answers. These engines keep a note of the user actions.

Process 2 –Display of results

It is essential to note that prior to any search query, the search engines follow different algorithms in the process of crawling, indexing, and ranking. The information on the newly discovered web pages are stored and used whenever a person types a query or a question, it displays.

While surfacing various websites and pages, the search engine uses certain criteria’s before answering any of them.

  1. Meaning of the query

What does the query mean? Is it a particular word or set of questions?

This is where the search engine finds what exactly the user is looking for and how to approach it.

  1. Correct web page

As said earlier, the search engines make certain decisions based on indexing the web pages. When a user question pops up, they simply go back and refer the indexed pages to find the most relevant ones.

Let us understand this through an example.

Suppose an auditor asks an accountant about the particular amount of tax paid in the month of June 2019, what would the auditor do?

He would retrieve the data stored on his record books and find the relevant page with all the details of the transaction.

The relevant page answering the question is nothing but the indexed page when it comes to the search engine.

  1. Quality of the information

Search engines mark the keywords in the query or question, which you use while typing your query, and finds a webpage or website URL that has either the same set of keywords or similar ones. It monitors the content quality consistently to find a relevant one.

  1. The convenience of the website or webpage

Better, the page attributes, the more convenient it is to pick a webpage and display to the end-user.

You may come across many articles, which specify the ways through which you may optimize page responsiveness, HTML, CSS features and many more. The only reason to all of this is to catchthe attention of the search engines, which will essentially display all the required details when the user raises a question in the search bar.

  1. Additional settings

Billions of people use search engines on a daily basis. Therefore,the search engines keep a note of the day-to-day user interactions and preferences.After keeping a record of all the above steps, the search engine displays a featured snippet that makes it easier for the user to read or preview the relevant results on the SERPs.

The search engines display results based on the top-ranking methods, which offer high-quality content.

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With the advent of various ranking techniques, it has become quite tough to get your webpage to top rank and maintain it. However, when you have knowledge about how exactly search engines answer the questions, it makes you onestep closer to developing better content to rank higher.


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