• djrobsmith

    I guess one of the problems is that Seo techniques have got so precise that unuseful ‘noise’ is going to show up more. Maybe a more community effort like http://vetosearch.com is a way round it allowing feedback so the search engine can do a better job

  • http://www.blindfiveyearold.com ajkohn

    I tend to agree that overall search quality has gone down. There are a number of theories as to why and how (I’ve got a few myself) but even the idea of relevancy is subjective.

    I may not get much from a Mahalo or Squidoo page, but a lot of people actually do.

    I think the majority of exact match keyword domains are no where near as good as the alternatives. But as you point out – Good Remains Good Enough.

    I’m prone to analogies and the one that continues to crop up in relation to search is food. I see what I think of as more ‘fast food’ coming up higher in SERPs. I, personally, avoid fast food, but I’m NOT the norm. McDonald’s makes a killing, even if there is a ‘better’ alternative down the road.

    So at times I think perhaps we’re seeing a change from the gourmet (those pesky San Francisco food snobs!) to the supermarket. From Whole Foods to Safeway. Of course, I could be completely wrong too.

    As to the apparently conflicting poll data, I think it could be related how the questions are posed. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3gMcZic1d4U

  • http://about.me/AndrewMcGarry Andrew McGarry

    I don’t usually comment on articles because I’m not a fan of SEOs clogging up the net with inane opinions just to boost their own site or blog.

    This article doesn’t go far enough to highlight how Google is deliberately trying to increase profits by introducing changes which do not benefit either the user or the SMB advertiser.

    A Google UK search for ‘adobe photoshop’ provides a first six SERPs of Adobe.com – if that isn’t forcing companies to pay more for PPC by squeezing organic, then I don’t know what is.

    Having made it even harder for companies without big SEO budgets to achieve page 1 SERPs for popular terms, they’re now switching their attention to see how they can pull the same trick with PPC.

    Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

    If I was in charge of Bing my message would be simple – give users exactly what they want and don’t make the mistakes Google is making right now.

    Slowly but surely, people will look elsewhere for search results that are not filled with noise from Google’s own services or feature the first 6 SERPs all from the same domain.

    Even if you’re not a fan of Microsoft, Bing is the best alternative right now and the only chance we have of any sort of competition that might just force Google to wise up.

    Microsoft FTW… who would have thunk it?

  • http://rosmarin-search-marketing.com Myron Rosmarin

    From the perspective of a search product manager, the result that only 13% reported not being able to find what they were looking for as the “bigger problem” is like “hitting it out of the park.” To the extent that a user can perform a search and quickly find what they’re looking for is so important that everything else (figuratively and literally) *is* noise. This is why search engines give priority to the problem of getting the first few results as relevant as possible. They’re never going to keep poor quality results out of the SERPs (try as hard as they might, it’s a much harder problem to keep all the poor results out of the search result set than it is to identify the best results and get them to the top). But they don’t have to spend as much time on the problem of filtering out poor results since users don’t care about what’s irrelevant as much as they care about getting to where they want to go.

  • Jose Zurstrassen

    Noise is what killed Altavista back then. Like Google today, they encouraged it at first, but it became unmanageable. http://goo.gl/eNTr8

  • Danny Sullivan

    Andrew, Search Engine Land is a well-respected news site that covers the search and search marketing industries. It’s not a blog run by “a bunch of SEOs clogging up the net with inane opinions.” If that were the case, we wouldn’t be carried by places like Google News, cited by Google or Bing, much less major mainstream news sites from across the web, such as the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal.

    In terms of how Google has changed to display more sites from one source, we covered that ages ago – as well as some pieces against it. But those were just our inane opinions, of course:



  • http://about.me/AndrewMcGarry Andrew McGarry


    >Search Engine Land is a well-respected news site
    I know, that’s why I read it every day.

    >It’s not a blog
    It’s fairly obvious that my comment is about SEOs endlessly plugging *their* own site or blog. Don’t take it personally.

    > we wouldn’t be carried by places like Google News
    Again, no need to defend yourself. However, Google News carries a lot of garbage. I wouldn’t use it as a quality yardstick.

    >how Google has changed to display more sites from one source, we covered that ages ago.
    Yes, and my comment was putting forth the opinion that you could be a bit more critical of Google’s mafia shakedown tactics.

    Keep up the good work.

  • http://www.adrac.co.uk Adrac Ltd

    I believe that Google has been the traget of spammers as opposed to other search engines duw to the amount of traffic it generates. I do believe that recently the Google spam team have been very quite and Google has mainly been concentrating on other search products like Google Places etc..

    I believe that Matt Cutts team needs to pull their socks and improve the quality of results as it’s getting to be annoying.

  • http://managinggreatness.com Gil Reich

    As AJ points out above, I think the way the question was posed affected the lifehacker survey. The question could have been “Do you think Google results have been getting better or worse.” the middle choice could have been “about the same” and the article could have neutral. Instead the article led with how influential bloggers were disappointed that search results had been taken over by “search-optimized sites stuffed with pseudo-content, affiliate links, and overwrought ads” and the question and choices established a negative framework.
    I also suspect more people answer yes than no to “Is X getting worse” for almost any X. I know that music, politicians, and TV shows kept getting better until I was a teenager and then got ruined by big money.
    I have no idea whether or not Google is getting better or worse. The lifehacker survey provides no new information, IMO.

  • http://blog.nextblitz.com galeal

    I would love to see a histogram and analysis on a use case by use case basis. Any suggestions?

    I did a crude analysis last week that showed Google search is not “broken” but would like to work with more granular use cases and quantitative data:



  • http://www.bestshoppingsiteonline.com dogma72

    I dont even use Google anymore. I do alot of research for my work and that takes alot fo searching. Turns out if you use Google too much they will go slower and sometimes say your IP is making too many searches. I understand their need to watch for spammers but its a bit ridiculous.

    So if you have to do research and its alot of research dont use google.

  • Shreshth TanwanI

    The stats are pretty correct, I have tried googling lot of terms and get the result which is not the most accurate.
    Due to this very reason, came up with a social search engine called Bingagain.com
    You can check it at http://www.bingagain.com
    BingAgain is Bing + Facebook combined
    It gives you those results which have been liked by the users at facebook

  • http://sites.google.com/site/deidredrewes Deidre Doom

    I love Google as much as the next person…but have you ever tried finding what you need in blogs? I’m sorry, Matt Cutts, but the spam control on your blog search could really use some work.

    Example: when I search for “fashion shopping” in blogs, expecting fashion bloggers to pop up left and right, I get results like this: http://www.artrocksnewyork.com/
    Blogs that use popular keywords to mask their irrelevant spam (Free online poker, anyone?)

    Maybe it’s just me, but I feel that search is getting too big… as in, too much content to weed through.