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Chapter 2. How Search Engines Work > Matching the Search Query

Matching the Search Query

The search query is the technical name for what searchers type into a search engine to get search results. When someone enters “glaucoma treatments” into Google (or any other search engine), that is the search query. Experts usually describe each word in the search query as a search term. (In this example, “glaucoma” and “treatments” are search terms.) The search engine goes through several basic steps to find the pages that match, starting with analyzing the query.

Analyzing the Query

As soon as the searcher types his query and presses the Enter key, the search engine goes to work analyzing the query—examining each word (search term) in the query and deciding how to find the best Web pages in the search index that match. Search engines do not all analyze queries the same way, but most engines share some basic analysis techniques. That is what we look at in this section.


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