I had been faced with this several times before. But this time I decide to ask it in a Meta post. I typed this phrase in the search box of the PSE:

"What is the field in the physics really?"

You can see the results here.

The question with exactly similar title is the seventh one.

Then I typed the same phrase in the Google search box. You can see the results here.

As you can see, the same question with exactly similar title belong to PSE is the first one.

I wonder why does Google search PSE's own pages, better than itself?

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    $\begingroup$ Duplicate of this meta.SE question. There are lots of similar threads on meta.SE about this, the answer is basically: Because implementing a good search is hard, and Google has been at this for a while. $\endgroup$
    – ACuriousMind Mod
    Jul 21, 2016 at 16:04
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    $\begingroup$ @ACuriousMind Well! But Google searches all over the internet while PSE search engine searches PSE's own pages only. Is it hard yet? $\endgroup$
    – lucas
    Jul 21, 2016 at 16:07
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    $\begingroup$ Oddly, the S.E.N.-wide search link brings up the post in question as its first result. (Maybe not as odd as I had thought at first glance, since it states that it's "powered by Google TM".) $\endgroup$ Jul 22, 2016 at 20:52
  • $\begingroup$ And, the google watches, what you searched for, and how you clicked. Using this data, he can find out, how useful are the actual links for the actual queries. $\endgroup$
    – peterh
    Jul 23, 2016 at 11:48
  • $\begingroup$ Google looks at literally everything on the page, the header at the top, the meta description, the links, the whole enchilada. I don't know how pse searches, but I'm pretty sure it searchs less overall content. $\endgroup$
    – user108787
    Jul 23, 2016 at 17:37

1 Answer 1


This has been discussed on Meta Stack Exchange several times already - see here, here, here, here, and probably others I haven't caught.

Google was founded in 1998 on a business model based on a search engine. Stack Exchange was founded in 2008 on a business model based on a Q&A engine. This is the current SE dev team - how much money and manpower Google invests/has invested on Search is anyone's guess. It's not particularly surprising that Google is good at search (considering, in addition, that SE spends a lot of time and infrastructure making sure that SE is well ranked by Google).

It's also perfectly possible to restrict Google searches to only Stack Exchange pages - try adding the site:physics.stackexchange.com operator to your search. That's a good way to search PSE if you're looking for something specific and having trouble using the site search. (On the other hand, you lose access to the SE advanced search features that do use the internal characteristics of the posts database, like the score: or is:question operators.)

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    $\begingroup$ re: "anyone's guess", it is at least clear we'd be talking about billions of dollars and around a thousand people - the point being that Google search exceeds SE's resources by roughly 2-3 orders of magnitude. $\endgroup$
    – David Z
    Jul 23, 2016 at 4:44
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    $\begingroup$ Why doesn't SE use Google to search its internal pages... $\endgroup$
    – Floris
    Jul 23, 2016 at 17:41
  • $\begingroup$ @Floris Why don't you ask SE themselves? I don't particularly care (the internal search is plenty good and if needed you can just use google directly). $\endgroup$ Jul 23, 2016 at 19:59
  • $\begingroup$ You don't really need is:question when using an external search engine. The internal search looks for posts, which means that every question appears $n+1$ times in the search results, where $n$ is the number of answers. But external search engines look for pages, which already means that each question appears only once. $\endgroup$ Jul 25, 2016 at 12:52
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    $\begingroup$ @DavidRicherby I hope it's obvious that that was a representative example. If the internal search is in fact replaceable with an external search (including easy-to-use replacements for the score, views, user, [tag], isanswered, hasaccepted, isaccepted, duplicate, hasnotice, wiki, and so on), then I would seriously encourage you to write a suitable tutorial on Meta Stack Exchange. Otherwise, I don't really see the point of your comment, I'm afraid. $\endgroup$ Jul 25, 2016 at 13:57
  • $\begingroup$ @EmilioPisanty It wasn't at all obvious to me that it was just a representative example. I guess that's because is:question is the only one I ever use. $\endgroup$ Jul 25, 2016 at 14:20
  • $\begingroup$ @DavidRicherby Well, for future reference, when someone says "like" x or y, and provides a link to a full list, it can be a good idea to actually look at the link provided. (Apologies if I sound cross - I'm just annoyed at how obvious the question was and the amount of trivial comments it's generated.) $\endgroup$ Jul 25, 2016 at 14:30

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