Why Google Search Results Suck and What to Do About It

Why Google Search Results Suck and What to Do About It
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There has been a lot of talk recently about the degradation of Google search results due to spam.  In a nut shell, search engine optimization experts (much smarter than us about this stuff) argue that people are figuring out how to manipulate Google in order to rank highly in organic searches and as a result, search results have effectively become useless.

As an example, SEOmoz recently found that a search under the term “NFL Jerseys” found that the top 10 results were spam; not one of the results led you to NFL.com or any other legitimate site.

The problem is that people have figured out how to beat the system; how to rank at the top of search queries.

What fraudsters are doing?

Using the same techniques used to get “NFL Jerseys” to the top of search results, fraudsters are burying the not-so-flattering information.

Take for example a convicted fraudster, whose past indiscretions would show up at the top of Google’s results every time his name was searched. By creating online links in social networks (i.e. LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc.), purchasing domains, publishing press releases, and publishing blogs, fraudsters can “bury” the derogatory news article, lawsuit or message board posting below the first few pages of search results – which most people don’t typically navigate past.

Or take the example of a recent story of a fraudster who literally encouraged negative reviews so that people would link to his site, which would actually promote his site to the top of Google’s rankings for eyewear.

What you can do?

Google is still the most powerful search engine out there, so turning your back on it is not such a great idea.  For the time being you may need to dig a little deeper in the search results in order to find what you are looking for until Google can figure out how to improve their search algorithm.

This may surprise people, but there are other search engines besides Google including Bing (although they have been accused of copying Google’s results) or upstarts Blekko and DuckDuckGo.

Important Takeaways

  • You can’t always trust what you see on the Internet; somebody may have planted it there
  • Just because you don’t find anything of interest on the first few pages of Google, doesn’t mean there is nothing “of interest” out there
  • Press releases, self-promotional websites and self-reported information is not a “source” of fact-based information
  • The Internet is not “neutral”; it’s an open forum for anyone to comment on just about anything, and unless it’s coming from a reputable source, it’s not fact based information…no matter how many times you see it

What do you think?  Do Google search results suck for you too?  What are you doing about it?  Let us know in the comments?

Guide to Background Investigations

Comments

  1. Scott says

    I would pay for a search engine that does not use advertisements. I think most people are becoming sick of not finding what the headline says it is. We all need to realize free is not free. We all need to pay for a browser that actually cares and is not controlled by big buisness. Just like are government until the hand is out of the cookie jar we are screwed.

  2. Derrick says

    I really cannot believe that this is the first and only comment on this page. I would think that many other Google users would have noticed by now that when you are using the search engine to find just about anything at least the first 50 or so links are usually complete bull (spam)! For example if I am searching for something, anything that has the word “free” in the search all the top links lead you to a site that doesn’t offer anything for free. And I know using the word “free” is not the best example, marketing firms have been using that term for years to lure us in and then sell us something, but I don’t expect that nor do I think it’s right from Google search. When I do a search I want the top links to be the most relevant to the search phrase I typed. I do not want to be redirected to another search site filled with Google adds and my Google search phrase pasted into a knew search box. I know Google is a corporation and the name of the game is PROFIT! PROFIT!! PROFIT!!!, but that goal should not affect the relevance of search results. Take this for example, I was looking up some info about a TV show I like, the very first Google search result said “watch episode 7 now” despite the fact that I had just watched the episode I was curious because the show is on a premium channel. After clicking the link I am brought to a page that has low resolution episodes from a previous season and the words present in the link from the search results page are nowhere to be found. However at the top of the page big bright get your attention “ads by Google”. It is one thing if Google is really having trouble weeding out the spammers but to advertise on these same “spam” sites makes me think that it has less to do with a search algorithm problem and more to do with Google making money off of all the hits on these dead end spam infested pages. Google became popular and made its fortune because they were the best search engine and now like most big corporations they have branched out to new markets and left their original client base high and dry or in this case buried in crap!!!
    Personally I am convinced that Google is partially behind all the spam infested links that show up in their search results. How could they not be if they allow their advertisements to be posted on these dead end spam filled sites? A company that big has enough power and money to clean up the search engine so I don’t want to hear excuses that it is the search algorithm or the spammers. I know you may be thinking the people at Google have nothing to do with the top links that appear in search results, but I don’t believe that could be true because all the top search results link you to sites filled with Google ads and Google does enough spamming of their own to know what is legit and what is bull. I want to say “Google, get your crap together or people will stop using your site”, but judging by the lack of comments on this page, and the collective gullibility of the masses I doubt people will 1) really care, 2) do anything about it, and 3) even if a majority of people decided to boycott Google everyone would have to stop going online because Google really does have a monopoly on the net.

    • Brian Willingham says

      There is quite a bit of manipulation of the search results, but I don’t think there is any sort of “Google conspiracy”. The point here is Internet searchers should be cautious about what they see on the Internet as people are figuring out how to manipulate Google in order to rank highly in organic searches.

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