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We don't have a clue about search engines

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Random results or logical rankings - how do search engines work?

It's clearly a slow weekend when survey results make the news, but at least the latest data on search engines reveals a little about the people who use them.

According to FastHosts, most internet users in the UK really don't know how search engines work, which is surprising considering that most of us do more than a little Googling ever day.

Hardly optimal

A quarter of respondents aren't aware that websites can take steps to influence how prominent they are in search results.

They'd probably be taken aback to hear that SEO (search-engine optimisation) is a booming industry in itself.

In addition, 22 per cent of those surveyed believe that companies can pay to have their sites ranked more favourably.

That makes it easy to believe that two thirds say they pay less attention to the sponsored links that often appear alongside search results.

Random element

Staggeringly, 5 per cent of the 1,636 adults surveyed last month say they think search results are entirely random, which makes us wonder why they bother typing anything at all into those little white rectangles.