Everybody loves Google search engine, right? Well, almost everybody does. I wanted to talk today about my love-hate-love relationship that I personally have with Google Search Results as a web designer, webmaster, and most of all a Google search user.
What I Loved About Using Google Search
My initial love for this particular wildly popular search engine began when I started using Google almost 9 years ago. What I liked best was the fact that it didn’t overwhelm my senses with breaking news stories and more importantly there were no distracting advertisements displayed on the homepage.
Next up, I loved that Google search results gave me TEN organic search results to choose from. Paid ads were displayed on the right side (if any even existed) and were out of the way. I simply typed in EXACTLY what I wanted and BOOM there was the most relevant results at my fingertips.
Isn’t Love Supposed to Grow Over Time?
Recently Google Instant was introduced . . . which for the most part at first glance I also liked because of the speed of search results being displayed. I simply start typing in a particular phrase or key term and not only do search results appear immediately before I even finish my search, but there are also suggestions of other terms directly below the search box that I might not have considered in the first place.
Very soon after this, I started questioning whether I truly liked this new “feature”. Was it actually helping me with my searches, or was there another darker motivation for the creation of Google Instant. Always ask questions.
[alert]In short, what was bothering me about Google Instant was the Search Suggestions. Google is now putting your search words in your mouth for you![/alert]
Why? To drive you to their more popular and more competitive search results because the ad clicks pay more. This means higher cost per click for advertisers to show show up on these competitive relevant search terms.
Google Instant can have it’s positive uses though. Today, I started to type in “weather” and forgot to put the city, but Google is so smart that they figured out that I meant weather for my location without me even having to type it in. I am guessing they did this by using my IP address and probably my recent search history. Pretty smart (and kind of scary at the same time)!
The Love Affair with Google is Over
Recently I came to grips with my growing “hate” relationship with Google. Ever since Google launched its IPO it seems that they have been constantly straying farther and farther away from what they initially did best – Organic Search. Now their main focus is on making money, and their Organic Search Results are paying the price along with their reputation. In my eyes, this new Google is now exactly the same as Yahoo and Bing. All are Huge Internet Companies on a mission to try and make as much money as possible. End of Mission Statement.
Don’t get me wrong every company needs to make money, but when you sacrifice the one thing that made you better than all the other search engines you begin creating a mass revolt of unhappy users. Once loyal users figure out that Google has sold out to corporate America and open their eyes to the advertising machine they have become Google’s Empire will begin to crumble.
It will take some time for this to happen mainly because Google over the years has built a tremendous reputation of being “Trustworthy”. That fact is one of the major reasons that they have grown into the Internet Giant they are today.
Google Love Turns to Hate
I hate the fact that Google puts paid search results on the very top of its organic search results. I don’t mind them so much showing on the side and if I’m actually looking to purchase something instead of just useful information, many times I look on the side because I know that those people are actually offering products or services for sale.
Most recently, I hate the fact that Google puts shopping results near the very top of their organic search results. I hate the fact that Google puts so much emphasis lately on their local search results too, regardless of the fact of whether or not I typed in a city or state or any geographical information for that matter.
I guess the point I’m trying to make is that more and more Google’s search results seem to be putting a lot more emphasis on where I am located than what I’m actually searching for.
It is like they are missing the point of what made the Internet (and their search engine) extremely cool to begin with – the fact that you were no longer limited to just your local information. It felt like you had the entire world at your fingertips. Not in today’s Google. Nope, you are now trapped back in your local area.
Want an example? I will give you a good one.
1I logged out of my Google account. I went directly to Google.com. I typed in a generic search. I was searching for Diamonds. Guess what happened after I type the letters D I A? At the top of the organic search results was a local Charlotte diamond retailer called Diamonds Direct (who also had a paid ad link above their organic result).
2The only way to get them out of the number one position was to push the ENTER button after I type in the whole word diamonds. Typing the simple letters D I A in my search box should not direct me to the local diamond retailer store just because they knew my location.
3I will give them credit for knowing that I was in fact going to type in something related to Diamonds, but I give them a big fat F on assuming that Diamonds Direct in Charlotte was the most relevant search result for the letter DIA. Try it out and see what they are pushing when you type it in. I typed it in again and instead of Diamonds Direct they realized I didn’t click on it the first time so they showed me Helzburg Diamond Store instead. I guess if you are searching for diamonds . . . you must be shopping.
While writing this article, I took a step back and really thought about why I use Google to search the web.
My first reason was because when I very first started using them I got TEN Organic Search Results to choose from and all paid ads were over on the side. I just checked the example page from my little test above. Take a look at my screen shot cause I couldn’t even believe my eyes! Click on it to blow it up . . .
There is only 1 visible organic search result.
This is very discouraging for people who want to get ranked #1 out of 1,390,000 websites and fall short of the mark and are ranked #2. Sorry about your luck. Fact is that if you don’t rank in the top three spots, you probably will never see a single visitor for that search term. I did however count 10 paid results that were visible with the 1 organic result. Google wants you to pay them to show up so they can make money when someone clicks on the ads.
Out of 1,390,00 search results – now they only show me 1 Stinking Organic Link without having to scroll?
I know what you are thinking. The search suggestions are taking up some valuable real estate. Let’s finish the search and see what we get.
Thank God one of them was Wikipedia because my true intended search was to learn about the characteristics of diamonds from someone beside a retailer. At least I can still trust Wikipedia to give it to me straight.
I Still Have Some Love for Google!
My Love Hate Love relationship has come full circle. I still love Google because they are still better than any other alternative choice and they are getting it right for the most part. I especially like Google when they rank my clients quality content on page 1 because it gets them sales. The sheer number of people using Google to search will bring visitors to their website and that makes my clients happy. It makes me happy as well because there are a lot of hoops to jump through and a lot of hard work that is put in to get them there.
Until the guys that created Ubuntu Linux come out with a search engine I guess I am stuck with Google. Until then, I will keep on optimizing web pages for Google for my clients in North Carolina that need a Statesville NC Web Designer as well as the surrounding area.