Even Senior Citizens Have Issues With Google Search Results Now!

by Ian Varnava 12 replies
I was speaking with my friend's 70+ year old father earlier today, and the topic of him trying to look something up online came up. He is not a "tech" person or anything like that, but he is involved with using the internet pretty heavily, probably more so than your 'average' senior citizen (uses it for news, sports scores, to read free books online, etc).

As we're talking about him having to look something up online (on Google), he all of the sudden starts telling me about how "Google" has messed up their site, how when before he used to try to look something up on there, he used to find a lot of good, informative sites; but now every time he goes to look something up on Google, some 'weird' sites come up and he ends up running in circles between Google and all the sites which Google shows and usually doesn't end up finding anything informative or useful in regards to what he was looking for. He also mentioned that he has a feeling that "Google" has somehow changed their "site" (SERPS) to make money, since all they show is all kinds of unrelated sites full of advertisements and such.

Remember, this is a gentleman who, like the rest of the general population, has no idea about what "internet marketing" is or how the search results on Google are generated, "SEO", or anything at all having to do with this stuff... and this is his perspective on what Google is now, compared to what it used to be. He also doesn't know that I'm directly involved with that kind of stuff (not with making poor quality sites but rather with IM/SEO and the like). He knows I do something to make money with my computer and on the internet, but he doesn't fully know/understand the specifics of what I do... so it's not like he was purposely telling me because he knows I know about that stuff. He was just telling me to tell me, as part of our normal conversation.

The key takeaway I want to convey from the above is that an average internet user now has a bad impression of Google, not the people behind those poor quality websites. As IM'ers, we would say something to the effect of "well it's not really Google's fault, they're always trying to clean up their results but then people figure out new ways to game them, it's a cat and mouse game", etc. However, obviously your average member of the general public doesn't know or care about any of that. They go on Google and they expect Google to give them what they're looking for, or else it's Google's fault, not anyone else's.

Then, enter his son:

A smart, young man. Not an internet marketer, but very smart and internet/computer savvy. He has a nice day job and on the side he makes some money selling things on eBay/Craigslist, but that's the extent of his involvement with "IM". He's not about making websites and SEO and any of that stuff which many of us are always going crazy over. However, I'm always telling him about how IM/SEO works and I always give him mini-education(s) on how to spot MFA sites and the like... so he's gotten pretty good at spotting just poor quality sites made for the sole purpose of ranking and making money.

I told him what his father had just told me. We laughed at first and then he said to me; "I think 'you all' (internet marketers) have really won this battle with Google for the time being. It's not what it used to be. Before, I could click on the first result which came up and find what I was looking for, now I need to sift through the search results like any other search engine. It's not what Google was originally about (i.e. relevant search results)." He always (which happens to be quite often) makes it a point to tell me when he searched for something and came across poor quality results (MFA sites, affiliate sites along with content which just doesn't make sense, etc), not to mock at me but rather because I've 'educated' him on that stuff so he makes sure to let me know that "my people" (IM'ers) are "messing up the internet".

This is the perspective of your average internet user who is not an internet marketer. His father was actually blaming Google, not the poor quality websites which pop up. He thinks it's "Google" who has "purposely" changed their "website" to include poor, irrelevant results. At least his son acknowledges that it's third parties (people building the sites), and not directly Google... or at least he has an understanding of the algorithm being gamed and all that good stuff.

But his father, which is your average internet user, thinks it is Google THEMSELVES who are messing up the results.

This really made me think.

Now do we see why Google is always going crazy trying to clean up their search results?
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#main internet marketing discussion forum #citizens #google #issues #results #search #senior
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  • Profile picture of the author Irwin Dominguez
    Good post, Ian -

    Very interesting take on two point of views from two different generations. I'm so deep into IM that I forget how a non-IMer views the internet...
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    • Profile picture of the author Batou
      Interesting. Unlike most IMers I am glad every time google updates their algorithm to increase the quality of their search results. The better google gets at determining sites of true value the better people that provide real value are off in the the long run.
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      • Profile picture of the author Ian Varnava
        Originally Posted by irdominguez View Post

        I'm so deep into IM that I forget how a non-IMer views the internet...
        Yup, that's the thing. Whenever I see poor quality sites in the SERPs, I just basically think something like "great those IM'er wannabes are at it everywhere". It never occurred to me that an average end user would actually be blaming this on GOOGLE, when technically they are always trying to improve the quality of their search results. I never thought of it this way as an IM'er, but they are right for 'blaming' Google in this case, because Google's job is to provide relevant results and if that's not what the end user is getting then they're not doing something right.

        Originally Posted by Batou View Post

        Interesting. Unlike most IMers I am glad every time google updates their algorithm to increase the quality of their search results. The better google gets at determining sites of true value the better people that provide real value are off in the the long run.
        Yup. However, the sad thing is that based on the 2 people in my OP, myself, and other random people, it seems like no matter how many updates Google is always coming out with (which cause a ruckus in the IM world with people losing their entire businesses overnight and what not), the search results don't seem to be improving much. In fact, one might say they're getting worse. There was a thread the other day where some of the Warriors were saying that they don't even look at the first page of results anymore when doing research, they just go straight to the 2nd page. I'm basically at that point myself where I quickly skim through the top results but my intention is to just get away from the top few results and then start my "real" research. Sad but true.
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        • Profile picture of the author batchos
          Google is not trying to improve the quality of its search results. It's working overtime to improve the quantity of its payout.

          After all, Google has to meet its investors' demands for constant and high profits. You can't blame them for that. Blame the other lame ducks in the search market for low quality results.

          Originally Posted by Ian Varnava View Post

          GOOGLE, when technically they are always trying to improve the quality of their search results. I never thought of it this way as an IM'er, but they are right for 'blaming' Google in this case, because Google's job is to provide relevant results and if that's not what the end user is getting then they're not doing something right.
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  • Profile picture of the author dsouravs
    wow good stuff...
    will think deeply abt. it...

    Thnx
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    I can convert your Non-Responsive website to Responsive website ... How sweet is that? :)

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  • Profile picture of the author David Crossland
    And what about remarketing? Is that what he has seen. You know the stuff, you visit a site from a google listing and then for days afterwards all you see are adverts from that same site. They seem to follow you everywhere.

    I thought about using the same service for my own offline business but after personally suffering the same thought better of it. I guess it must work for marketers otherwise they wouldn't keep doing it.

    What do you think?
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  • Profile picture of the author Ashera
    I totally agree there's a ton of garbage showing up in the SERPS, but I also am a firm believer that there is nothing wrong with a MFA or affiliate site if it does provide the visitor with unique, valuable, informative, and well written content. This is what I try to provide on all my sites, because at the end of the day my affiliate conversion rate will be 7-10% while other garbage sites will be minuscule. Everyone wins.
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    If you don't change direction, you'll end up where you're going.
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  • Profile picture of the author tpw
    One afternoon, I was talking to my wife about the paid results in Google. She had no idea what I was talking about.

    So I asked her to open Google and tell me what SHE saw...

    It was eye-opening...

    Then I showed her the paid results... She was shocked!!

    Since then, I take every opportunity to ask non-IMer's what they see on various websites... It is always interesting and informative...
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    Bill Platt, Oklahoma USA, PlattPublishing.com
    Publish Coloring Books for Profit (WSOTD 7-30-2015)
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  • Profile picture of the author Wendy Maki
    Hmmmm. You've just crystalized something that's been niggling at me, a subtle reaction I've been having when I "google."

    I actually think the SERPS are better quality than they ever have been, but, on the flip side, I think there's a two-fold "problem."

    1. Google is trying to do too much. They're trying to be all things to all people, as they try to 'take over the world,' which gets them away from the beautiful simplicity of where they began.

    2. What Google is trying to index is exploding exponentially compared to the simple web pages -- videos, facebook, blogs, twitter, and on and on -- they're trying to have a little bit of everything on that first page, and the result is that that first page "feels" like it's a mess -- and all that while they are trying to make enough money to support their expanding empire.

    I sometimes wonder if Google will someday collapse under it's own ambitions.
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  • Profile picture of the author Exel
    To be honest, I've never had trouble finding anything I needed. Maybe that's because
    I'm well versed in the art of search & find, but in 90% of cases when looking for general
    information usually the first result is wikipedia, and that is where I find the best stuff.
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  • Profile picture of the author Charlotte Jay
    As a former Google Quality Rater, I ran into this all the time. It drove me crazy.
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  • Profile picture of the author mosthost
    I've never seen a single Google update make results 'better.'

    The results are bad and getting worse as 'the Big G' inexorably slides into irrelevance.
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