Are Google Search Results falling short of expectation?

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Google is the gatekeeper and key master of all things online, but is the company really delivering user satisfaction when it comes to SERPS?

New research suggests not, or at least not as much as some of us would like.

The study, undertaken by SEMRush found that around 30% of users are not happy with their search results and have to refine queries in order to find the things they seek, as their research clearly states:

“There’s a great deal of keyword refinement at play here.

If we combine the number of Google clicks with the number of keyword changes, we see that almost 30% of people are either refining or extending their searches in some way.”

Yes, people are repeating their searches and using slight variations on keywords.

Yes, that could well indicate a level of dissatisfaction with their original results...

Voicing frustration

The Twitterverse might offer some clues here, for many it is the ‘go to’ place for a rant and as far as Google searches go, some people are ranting.

“Google search is becoming one of those dying malls. You still go there out of habit, but once you get there, none of it is what you want. You can remember when it was a useful place to visit, but now it's weirdly hollow and you leave without getting what you came for.”

So says Emily Valasco @MLE_Online

Does Emily have a valid point? It is worth noting this is not an isolated tweet, in fact it went viral and currently has over 7.5k retweets and over 60k likes. It is fair to say this opinion has hit a nerve with many.

So what has changed?

Many people are remarking that Google seems to have some difficulty understanding search queries lately, forcing users to use advanced search operators such as quotation marks to find what they need.

But should users be forced to do that in order to coerce Google to find the things they are looking for?

This isn’t just an isolated problem for the masses; SEO’s are noticing the same thing.

At times, Google is simply not searching for the right things.

Sarah Carling is Director of SEO at Buoy Health, she swears that “Google gets dumber by the day” and given the screenshots below, shared via Twitter does she have a valid point?

It is fair to say that the first James Bond movie came out long before 2006, and a bottle of wine contains more calories than a glass. Google has changed these queries, but why?

The SEMRush findings

Search is evolving; users are searching using more keywords:

  • 6% of desktop searchers use 1-2 keywords
  • 31% of mobile device users search with 1-2 keywords
  • 2% percent of desktop users search with 3-4 keywords
  • 9% of mobile users search with 3-4 keywords

Interestingly, the study also points to more users searching using long keyword phrases:

  • 1% of desktop searches employed 5-11+ keyword phrases
  • 1% of mobile searches used the same amount of keyword searches

These figures strongly suggest that all of us are now trying a lot harder to find the right things we are searching for online. More than half of those performing two searches in a row on desktop are doing so with keyword phrases that are similar by 60% or more keywords.

Are we experiencing difficulty in finding the things we are asking Google to search for, or have we simply forgotten how bad search engines used to be back in the day?

Or is the issue linked to the content that Google itself prefers to show?

Google has grown with the internet, to call it advanced is an understatement, yet it also has a growing reputation for causing frustration as the 60,000+ Twitter likes comparing the company to a dying mall prove.

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