For the majority of us, online search engines are the first place we turn when we’re looking for information. We trust them to provide us with the most relevant results, but those results are not always consistent.

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’s search algorithm has undergone a great deal of changes in recent weeks. The biggest and most recent change to the algorithm is the suppression of results from what Google refers to as 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 hopes the change in its algorithm will yield more quality results that will be more relevant and helpful to searchers. Google is also utilizing Twitter posts to come up with relevant, real-time results.

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.

One of the big steps Bing has taken was to integrate social media results. Bing highlights items that your friends have shared or “liked” over Facebook. Doing this gives users the opportunity to find what’s most relevant to them as well as their friends.

Using two different search engines can yield different results. All results should be somewhat relevant, the specific results just depend on what the search engine’s algorithm accounts for.

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