Search results on Ecosia

Ecosia results and advertisements are provided by multiple search partners like Microsoft Bing and Google. This article explains where your search results come from on Ecosia, how they are ranked and how you can alter them.

Where do Ecosia search results come from?

The search results and search related ads on Ecosia come from our search partners Microsoft Bing and Google. Which partner your search results come from depends on your geographical location, the type of device you are using and which permissions you have given for setting cookies. 

You can check which search providers are available to you at any time in the Settings page. If both providers are available in your location, you can also select one as your own preference. You may need to adjust your cookie settings to be able to choose Google as your preference but we'll ask you first to confirm.

Screenshot of Ecosia settings with indication on how to select search provider, options: no preference, Bing Google
Select your preferred search provider

Both Microsoft and Google continually design and optimize their algorithms to provide the most comprehensive, relevant, and useful search results. 

Which sources are used to enhance search results?

We are constantly trying to improve your search experience by adding features and relevant information to your search results. For these features, we add information based on your search query from specialized sources. The availability of instant answers might differ depending on your location, device type and settings as well. 

Here is the list of our current sources for instant answers and features:

Multiple nonprofits for our mental health feature

How are search results ranked?

Depending on the search provider, they may prioritize different parameters to deliver their results. Websites can advertise through Microsoft Advertising or Google AdSense for Search on Ecosia. However, this does not affect algorithmic rankings. 

Microsoft Bing ranking

Below you will find an overview of the main parameters that Microsoft Bing uses to rank search results organically. The complex ranking system uses many criteria to deliver search results, and the relative importance of each of the parameters described below can vary from search to search and evolve over time.

Parameter Relevance for ranking

Content is considered relevant when the content of the target page matches the intent behind the search query. This includes matching terms directly on the page, as well as terms used in links that point to the page.

Microsoft also considers semantic equivalents, including synonyms or abbreviations that may not be exact matches of the query terms, but are understood to have the same meaning.

Quality and credibility Websites are evaluated on the basis of various factors. These include the reputation of the author, the reputation of the web page, and the level of discourse (e.g. an article with citations and references to data sources is considered higher quality than one that does not explain cited data sources; Microsoft may downgrade content that contains name calling, offensive statements, or derogatory language), the completeness of the content, and the transparency of authorship.
Commitment of the users To determine user interaction, Bing asks questions such as: Did users click through to search results for a particular query, and if so, which results? Did users spend time on those search results they clicked through to, or did they quickly return to the search results page? Did users customize or rephrase the query?
Timeliness The search engine prefers up-to-date content. In many cases, content produced today will be relevant in years to come. In some cases, however, content produced today will quickly become outdated.
Location In the ranking results, Microsoft takes into account the location of users (country and city), where the page is hosted, as well as the language of the document or the location of other visitors to the page.
Page loading time Slow loading times can cause users to leave a website, possibly before the content has even loaded. Microsoft may consider this a poor user experience and an unsatisfactory search result.

The characteristics of the goods or services offered on a site do not affect how Microsoft ranks results, except in cases where the content may be potentially offensive or harmful to users. 

For example, pages that offer adult content are not available in strict Safe Search mode. Furthermore, pages that distribute potentially harmful content, such as suicide methods or sales platforms for opioids and other potentially harmful drugs, may be downgraded in ranking.

Google ranking

Below you will find an overview of the main parameters that Google uses to rank content organically. 

Parameter Relevance for ranking
Meaning of query First step Google tries to understand what the query intent is. Therefore language models are being built to decipher how the relatively few words you enter into the search box match up to the most useful content available.
Relevance of content Next, Google analyzes the content to assess whether it contains information that might be relevant to what you are looking for. This is based on keywords, They use aggregated and anonymized interaction data to assess whether search results are relevant to queries
Quality After identifying relevant content, Google systems aim to prioritize those that seem most helpful. To do this, they identify signals that can help determine which content demonstrates expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.
Usability  Google also considers the usability of content. When all things are relatively equal, content that people will find more accessible may perform better.
Context Information such as your location, past Search history, and Search settings all help to ensure your results are what is most useful and relevant for you at that moment.
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