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Google search results are plain horrible of late, getting worse?

     
9:53 pm on Aug 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

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A picture is worth a thousand words, yet searching for a simple word like apples ranks Google at 2/10 fail. The picture proof... - [a.yfrog.com...]

Google's algo is trying to guess what I want to look at just a tad too hard I'd say. Apples is pretty self explanatory, to a human.
1:20 am on Aug 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I don't want to complain about search results, because I don't want to mess with my growing traffic, but I have to admit to getting tired of doing searches for:

pretty green widgets

and then having to redo the search as

"pretty" green widgets

to convince Google that I really do want to see "pretty" on the page somewhere.
2:36 am on Aug 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

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to convince Google that I really do want to see "pretty" on the page somewhere

You may end up with images of Cameron Diaz if you do that. ;)
2:47 am on Aug 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Or Orlando Bloom (as Google knows my gender and preference...though the geolocation might trick it into giving me Brad Pitt.)
3:40 am on Aug 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Lapizuli, I was just about to complain about the same thing. I don't recall ever having to resort to putting individual words in double-quotes until recently, but it does make a significant difference in some cases and it makes the search do what I want: return pages with the words I asked for on the page.
4:00 am on Aug 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Yeah, we touched on it in this thread in July: [webmasterworld.com...] .

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 4:09 am (utc) on Aug 13, 2010]
[edit reason] fixed link [/edit]

7:24 am on Aug 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

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If you are looking specifically for "apples" and that you are sure of your spelling, use quotation marks and the results are great.

This is a user failure, not a SE failure.

Most people, when typing "apple" are looking for the company, not the fruit, so it's fairly logical for Gogle to assume a typo.

A solution that will give better results 95% of the time and fail 5% of the time is a good solution.

Of course, you can pick one of the failing cases and point fingers, but let's be honest: were you really looking for apples, or were you simply looking for a word that cause Google to screw up?

Case closed.
2:30 pm on Aug 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I don't really mind typing apples in quotes. The problem is that Google keeps switching identities, and it gets confusing.

It performs as though it can read my mind some of the time, and other times it's a just an inert tool for me to manipulate.

If it's going to be a tool, it should stay relatively still while I work it like a marked deck, not jump around all crazy-like.

And if it's going to be an artificial intelligence, it should keep improving - keep reading my mind better than before.

And I don't mean "should" in the obligatory sense, but "should" in the sense that it's what customers would naturally expect over time. Some form of consistency. Some. Any.
2:48 pm on Aug 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

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presumably google are only putting stuff about apple the company in because most people who search for 'apples' are clicking that.

they work on data, dont they. if people didnt click those links then they wouldnt be at the top for that phrase
3:33 pm on Aug 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

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if people didnt click those links then they wouldnt be at the top for that phrase

And I thought... it was more about "page content", but I guess clickspamming wins.

And we don't even know if they are actually people who do the "clicking".
8:32 pm on Aug 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

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If a SERP results in a 20% "no click" outcome, and another SERP for the same query results in a 5% "no click" outcome, you would have to say the latter is better, from the SE POV.

Same scenrario, but now the split is 5% vs 2% (much more likely for the given term). Same principle applies- you have 60% less dissatisfied searchers, even though only 3% were looking for the company.

You have to understand the power of the statement "we have reduced user dissatisfaction by 60%" in the context of a multinational. Does it matter if 95% of people now have some irrelavent results?
11:47 pm on Aug 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

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"Case closed."

Um, no.
11:59 pm on Aug 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Facts (in the U.S. in 2010):
+ Google search share is downnnnn
+ Bing search share is up

Graph here (look at the right side):
[nytimes.com...]

June 2009 - June 2010 Bing had triple digit growth in 3 main categories: Shopping 199%, Automotive 197%, Travel 196% (source Hitwise).

"Apples" is a bad example, let's talk about something more serious, like the garbage Google delivers when you try to search for critical medical information. Or try searching for something else serious, like financial advice, do you really really really want advice from nameless out-of-date made-for-adsense sites?

I have - couple of times - spent 10 minutes trying to search for authoritative sites about certain topics. Thinking that they don't exists, I have (in my desperation) used Bing, which has delivered authority sources in 1 second. Hmm... this is so difficult: which search engine do I want to use in the future? The one that cannot deliver tolerable results even after using up 600 seconds of my life, or the one that gives me what I am searching for in 1 second.

And like most experienced webmasters know, there are some pretty disgusting websites out there, breaking every Google guideline there exists. These sites are reported to Google day after day, week after week, month after month, sometimes even year after year. And nothing ever happens. Please Google, hire even 1 people to check the most reported sites and remove them from index. This is not rocket science for crying out loud. It is just so frustrating dealing with Google!

Sure, Google is doing almost-decent job cloning/copying/stealing features Bing offers (background images, twitter results, categories, navigation tools, image search, etc (=basically everything you see in the google homepage is cloned from Bing :-D)), but more and more people are turning to the innovative Bing because they want to get these things first, not after Google finally manages to clone the stolen features.

The Annual E-Business Report on customer satisfaction reveals that Google fell 6 points in customer satisfaction - the biggest drop ever. Ever!

I think Google was a nice phenomena, but it's time to move on, to the better things like Bing, Blekko (no more spam, thank you very much) and so on.
6:47 am on Aug 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Here you have the reasons for the crappy search results from Eric Schmidt directly:

I actually think most people don't want Google to answer their questions," he elaborates. "They want Google to tell them what they should be doing next.


[online.wsj.com...]
7:01 am on Aug 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

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You know, that's not a philosophy that's exclusive to Schmidt or Google - not at all. The whole industry is thinking that way. for example, Bing's advertising campaign calls Bing the "decision engine". There's a strong movement that believes search is an outdated concept.
7:07 am on Aug 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Maybe 'apples' is such a broad term that there is no good, clear-cut way of determining the user intent when someone types 'apples' into a search engine.

Search engines can't deal effectively with stupid users who don't know how to formulate multiple-keyword search queries. User error.

Maybe Google also knows that people who type in one-keyword broad queries are likely to refine their results by adding other keywords.

In the end, a search engine is only a reflection of those millions of pages that make 'the web'. Its not Google's fault that good information isn't available on the web - they only work there.
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