SERPs Getting Worse?

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  1. Em Clark profile image95
    Em Clarkposted 3 years ago

    Is it just me or, with all of Google's recent updates, are things getting worse over in the Google SERPs?

    A couple of weeks ago I was researching an article that had to do with true crime. The keywords I searched were completely innocuous (not violent, not suggestive) and several of the results on the first page brought up super graphic adult content from sites that would probably immediately destroy my laptop.

    Is anyone else noticing this?

    Like, I thought with all of Google's refining of results this year, specifically in the last few weeks, those results would be weeded out of first page results (look, if my keywords were suggestive of that content, and that's what I was looking for, then it would make sense for that to pop up first, but to come up on a result to a query that simply included the fairly infamous names of the people I was researching seems super strange to me. I was expecting a flurry of news articles, not something I can find on HBO late night).

    This isn't the only instance where first or even second page search results give me exactly the opposite of what I'm searching for. It seems to me, that Google's recent updates are a huge step back for desirable, quality SERPs.

    Anyone have any idea what Google is trying to do here? I thought the #1 goal was to be intuitive about what users want, but lately I'm finding myself having to spend way more time gleaning through and digging deeper to find a result that satisfies my queries.

    To sum it up, as a Google user, I'm finding it increasingly difficult to pull up a page that is actually relevant to me and includes quality content and reliable information. What gives?

    1. profile image0
      promisemposted 3 years agoin reply to this

      "Anyone have any idea what Google is trying to do here?"

      Yes. Google is trying to keep people on Google until they click on an ad.

      Relevant organic search results are no longer helpful to Google's revenue, profit and stock price growth.

      Facebook is doing the same thing.

      1. lobobrandon profile image88
        lobobrandonposted 3 years agoin reply to this

        Not true. If Google does not show relevant organic results people are going to move away and there will be no one to click on their ads. It is in their best interest to give you the user good organic results.

        1. profile image0
          promisemposted 3 years agoin reply to this

          Yes true. Just visit webmaster websites to see how many are complaining that relevance matters much less. And people are moving away because Google's organic search market share is declining.

          In response, Google is running TV ads to boost search, which it doesn't ever do.

          It is in its best interest to boost revenue more than organic search results. Both provable and logical from a business perspective.

          A business cares about and needs to care about profit, revenue and stock price more than any other factor. It will sacrifice market share to serve those needs.

          1. Will Apse profile image88
            Will Apseposted 3 years agoin reply to this

            Google could never maintain search dominance unless it satisfied its users. There used to be a "writing for adsense" technique that involved leading on readers without giving the desired info and thus forcing an ad click. But Google has never been about that.

            1. lobobrandon profile image88
              lobobrandonposted 3 years agoin reply to this

              I agree.

            2. profile image0
              promisemposted 3 years agoin reply to this

              I understand. Google is willing to sacrifice part of that search dominance for the sake of maintaining its financial growth.

              1. Will Apse profile image88
                Will Apseposted 3 years agoin reply to this

                Google is not saintly. Not long age the EU fined Google €1.49 billion for abusing its dominance in search by excluding rival advertising platforms.


                But that is quite different to deliberately providing poor search results to prompt ad use.

                There is a lot of stuff going on in search at the moment. I don't use Alexa, Siri or similar but apparently when asked to search Google they only return one or two results. This might be a reason for the snippets thing. Google wants a result it feels is reliable, since it is only offering one.

                I am sure there are a great many other things driving search evolution. AI that can replace human writers altogether might be twenty years or twenty months away.

                1. profile image0
                  promisemposted 3 years agoin reply to this

                  I agree that Google isn't saintly and that a lot of factors impact search.

                  Given a choice of publishing 10 articles on HP that each produce $50 a month or 50 articles that each produce $5 a month, I suspect most writers who want to earn a living from their writing would choose the former. We are choosing profit first.

                  Google's massive search volume also comes at a huge labor and technology cost to the company. That cost eats into profits as the company struggles to maintain its financial growth.

                  I wouldn't go so far to say that Google is "deliberately providing poor search results". I would say it's allowing organic relevance and market share to decline for the sake of growing ad revenue, limiting costs and protecting profit.

                  1. lobobrandon profile image88
                    lobobrandonposted 3 years agoin reply to this

                    Why do you think the company is struggling to maintain its financial growth? I don't keep track of stock prices, etc. Is there something you see going on?

    2. Susana S profile image93
      Susana Sposted 3 years agoin reply to this

      The search results are awful lately, especially when it comes to health related queries.

      I'm finding many results unsatisfying and I'm having to search further back or keep altering the search query.

      Hopefully Google will roll some of the changes back.

      1. profile image0
        promisemposted 3 years agoin reply to this

        You are not alone. I have read and heard from many other people about the same thing.

        I had solid #1 ranks in Google for a series of keywords for 10 years. They had zero competition, which I'm sure you know is extremely rare.

        In the last year or so, they are lucky to make it to page 1. Major brands with links to much less relevant content have taken over.

        When I write about Google products for my online business blog, I strangely seem to do better with both rankings and AdSense. Gee, what a coincidence ...

        1. wilderness profile image95
          wildernessposted 3 years agoin reply to this

          LOL  For sure, what a coincidence!

          I sometimes wonder if HP went to strictly adsense ads if our traffic wouldn't instantly double.

      2. Kierstin Gunsberg profile image96
        Kierstin Gunsbergposted 3 years agoin reply to this

        Same on the health! I Google very simple stuff (I know better than to diagnose anything on Google, but it's helpful with two little kids to get an idea for how to ease ear infection pain, etc.) and everything that pops is like YOU'RE DYING. EVERYONE IS DYING. I'm spending much more time sifting through results to find something that's actually helpful and informative. If I'm searching Google for health-related stuff, I'm also usually looking for anecdotal stuff from other moms, not WebMD articles - if I want doctor advice I'll call my pediatrician.

  2. Em Clark profile image95
    Em Clarkposted 3 years ago

    To clarify, are you talking about ads in the search results themselves (like the "shopping" stuff at the top of SERPs) or do you mean ads on the pages themselves (that show up in the SERPs)? Because I thought that adult content couldn't have Google ads on them.

  3. Sherry Hewins profile image91
    Sherry Hewinsposted 3 years ago

    Not only as a writer, but as a consumer, I have to say the quality of Google search had deteriorated. It takes a lot of effort to find simple information.


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