Is Google Getting Worse At Delivering Relevant Results?

    January 27, 2012
    Chris Crum

It was around this time last year when Google’s search results really started attracting a whole lot of criticism (more than usual). The content farm discussion was going full-throttle, and finally in February, Google launched the Panda update, its attempt at increasing the quality of search results.

Whether or not this actually worked has been widely debated.

It’s almost like the whole thing has started over this year, but not because of content farms so much. Now, everyone’s complaining about Search Plus Your World, for one. They’re saying the heavy Google+ integration is making their results less relevant. OK, maybe not everyone, but a lof of people are complaining.

I pointed out an example yesterday, where it seemed like Google’s recent freshness update was actually hurting the relevancy of search results.

Google privacy

Danny Sullivan is pointing to some questionable video results in Google, pointing out better results on Bing.

The reality is that often when we find poor quality results in Google, they’re not much better in Bing or Yahoo. However, recent Google updates may be changing that a bit – particularly Search Plus Your World. You’re not going to see Bing infused with tons of Google+ content.

For the record, I have found SPYW to both increase and decrease the relevancy of search results, depending on the query. Sometimes it makes more sense than others.

Regarding the video that Sullivan references, he says, “It’s embarrassing for Google to be doing this. And it’s worse when you look at the views the video has received: only about 2,000, at this point.”

He essentially goes on to make the case that even while the video in question isn’t coming from SPYW (my example wasn’t caused by SPYW either), it “feels like another bit of evidence that Google’s original core mission, delivering awesome search results, is being forgotten.”

I don’t know if it’s being forgotten. Google has hardly slowed down on the algorithm updates. But that doesn’t mean Google’s strategy isn’t having some negative side effects.


Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.