A new survey by SEMRush indicated that most users who search on Google are not satisfied with the search results, needing to refine their queries more to find what they are really looking for.
The research noted that:
- “…Many users are not satisfied with the results of the first SERP and need to refine their queries.”
- “…27.6% of searches eventually go through some kind of query refinement…”
- “…Almost 30% of people are broadening their searches in some way. These users aren’t changing the lengths of their search terms, which could mean they aren’t refining their next query because the initial results were too far off the mark.”
This last topic reinforces why a tweet dissatisfied with Google’s search results went viral in October on the bird’s network. In the tweet, user Emily Velasco compares the Google search to a dying mall, having over 60,000 likes and hundreds of responses in support of her protest.
Many Twitter users also agree that Google’s search engine is forcing the wrong interpretation of the search query causing them to have to refine their searches on the platform more than once. “We shouldn’t go to such lengths to trick a search engine into providing useful results,” says user Emily on her Twitter account.
What is Google doing to improve its search experience?
In response to this series of complaints, Danny Sullivan, one of the engineers working for Google Search, wrote that he would like people to find SERPs useful and hopes they will feel free to share research that has let them down so that the Google team can analyze and understand how to make improvements to general search. Additionally, Sullivan shared an article with the improvements his team has recently made to Google search.
In the article, Danny Sullivan suggests that Google was already aware of negative user feedback regarding the search engine and shows that the company is already working on improvements to make it easier to find useful content “made by and for people”, according to his own words.
Sullivan adds that, “This ranking work joins a similar effort related to ranking better quality product review content […] Together, these launches are part of a broader, ongoing effort to reduce low-quality content and make it easier to find content that feels authentic and useful in Search.”
But is this problem just Google’s fault or do SEO professionals also have their share of responsibility?
A common perception of content creators is that Google tends to rank content but not ideas produced by real people, as this SEJ article makes clear.
Some of this blame is placed on the SEO industry for producing content written by general writers rather than experts. As is the case with the Skyscraper strategy where a search is made for topics of content written by competitors to rewrite the content in an “improved” way.
These strategies encourage non-experts to write content just thinking about achieving a better ranking in SEO, making people realize that that content was not created to really help them with their doubts.
As a frequent user of Google search, I admit that it’s been a lot more work to find the result I would like during my searches. It often takes more than 3 refinements to find the ideal result. Even with Google keeping an eye on this problem and investing in improving the performance of one of its most famous features, doing research on the platform has been very discouraging.
So, for SEO and Digital Marketing professionals, people dissatisfied with Google search may indicate that in the near future users will start looking elsewhere for their queries, which means more engines to optimize for.
In any case, Google is one of the most respected and trusted players in this market. We will keep an eye on the improvements that the platform will operate on in the coming weeks!
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