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Monday, January 10, 2011

Are Google’s Search Results Getting Worse?

Posted by @ 6:59 pm

One of the interesting trends I’ve noticed over the past week or so is the number of blog posts popping up that are critical of Google’s search quality.

While there doesn’t seem to be a single tipping point for these posts, many people are getting frustrated at spammy search results and the large number of content farms which have started to emerge.

Here’s a recap of some of the more interesting posts on this topic,

From Dishwashers, and How Google Eats Its Own Tail:

Google has become a snake that too readily consumes its own keyword tail. Identify some words that show up in profitable searches — from appliances, to mesothelioma suits, to kayak lessons — churn out content cheaply and regularly, and you’re done. On the web, no-one knows you’re a content-grinder.

The result, however, is awful. Pages and pages of Google results that are just, for practical purposes, advertisements in the loose guise of articles, original or re-purposed.

From On the increasing uselessness of Google:

This year it really hit home just how badly Google’s systems have been spammed, as typically anything on Page 1 of the search results was some form of SEO spam – most typically a site that doesn’t actually sell you anything, just points to other sites (often doing the same thing) while slipping you some Ads (no doubt sold as “relevant”). The other main scamsite type is one that copies part of the relevant Wikipedia entry and throws lots of Ads at you.

From Dear Google…Stop Making Me Look Like a Fool!

I’ve spent a good portion of the last 10 years patiently explaining to business owners and budding SEO enthusiasts that the key to being found in Google is to have one, great, all-encompassing website.

And I really thought that by 2010 all of the above would be 100% true. And yet they’re not. I’m not sure if they’re even 50% true.

I see keyword domains and URLs that have nothing of value, yet they show up highly in the search results only because the URL matches exactly. I see fake links trumping natural links everywhere I turn. I see how one company with 10 similar but different websites can dominate the top 20 results.

And that’s not all, there are a large number of other posts which share the same thoughts on Google’s declining search quality.

While the major problems with Google’s search quality appear to be the rise of content farms and review sites, some posts also mention a number of other grey hat SEO tactics like link buying and doorway domains that are still working for some sites.

With the number of posts on this topic, I don’t think it will be long before a Google representative steps in to clear the air. In the mean time, what do you think about Google’s search results? Have you seen a decline in quality in recent months?

Let us know via the blog comments below!

Matthew Elshaw Matt is a marketing professional at, an international search marketing firm. Matt's passion for online marketing began at university and has proved invaluable in steering product development and marketing initiatives at the company. Matt is a regular contributor to the ineedhits search marketing blog.

View Matthew Elshaw's profile

Discussion (14 - comments)

[...] Click Here To Read Original Post on SEO | SEM News [...]

By Are Google’s Search Results Getting Worse? « Miami Beach Web Designer - January 10, 2011

[...] Read Original Story at [...]

By Are Google’s Search Results Getting Worse? | RM2 Project - January 10, 2011

Not in recent month but since the start of Aug’2010 i have seen and am noting it, the result quality in getting worse week by week and i have strong belief that in little time only fake and worst thing will be listed in Search Result….

By Katie - January 11, 2011

I’ve seen sites come and go in our niche. In general, the ones at the top are good sites, but also commercial. Of course it takes time and money to create and research good content so I’m not really bothered that they show ads.

The sites provide information that is free and if people don’t have the time to read it or don’t find what they want the can click an ad.

We are on the 1st page for many of the keywords and we have ads and also sell a service. But so many people these days don’t want to pay for services. They believe it should all be free. That is where the ads come in.

I have seen at times spammy sites and sites that have either bought links or use a large network to push links. So far those sites haven’t lasted long so it would seem that over time Google is able to weed them out.

By ChrisCD - January 11, 2011

The results are some of the worst i have seen in a while. For example, in my niche, a top keywords search (wedding invitations) results in website being listed twice and another site that is actually a redirect to another site that has absolutely nothing to do with the keywords (this site sells dresses???). This is the top 10 results. Surely Google can do a better job.

By Miles Kitchen - January 11, 2011

Keyword URLs does appear to be a growing problem in one of my fields. The small consolation is that if the visitor has some understanding they will realise it is a spammy site and click away. But it is frustrating. But less so than all the spam entries on google places. The sooner they clear up that mess the better.

By Dave Bowra - January 16, 2011

[...] the quality of Google’s search results deteriorating? Lately, there’s been lots of discussion of that question. The founders of search-engine upstart Blekko, which has features designed to [...]

By Google Responds to Gripes About Its Search Results - January 21, 2011

[...] recently asked if the quality of Google’s search results has dropped and it seems a recent study backs up the [...]

By Study Confirms Issue with Search Results Quality | ineedhits - January 24, 2011

[...] a small but significant rise of spam over the past few months. This certainly correlates with the feedback we recently got back from you, our [...]

By Google Launches Attack On Spam Sites & Content Farms | ineedhits - January 27, 2011

[...] a small but significant rise of spam over the past few months. This certainly correlates with the feedback we recently got back from you, our [...]

By Google Launches Attack On Spam Sites & Content Farms « Miami Beach Web Designer - January 27, 2011

[...] a small but significant rise of spam over the past few months. This certainly correlates with the feedback we recently got back from you, our [...]

By Google Launches Attack On Spam Sites & Content Farms | RM2 Project - January 27, 2011

Has Google Search gotten worse? In a single word YES. Takes you everywhere but the righ answer like it use to.

By Erich Smith - November 6, 2011

The main problem is that Google is now putting all it’s sponsored links up on the first page instead of at the side. This makes the search engine far worse as you almost alwways have to go to a second page to find what your looking for. Bad move, Google.

By Simon Morgan - January 1, 2012

This is a big concern. Search results are tailored to your IP and location. In other words we are stuck in our own search bubbles. For the last year I’ve noticed my search results becoming worse and worse. The reasons why they would do this doesn’t take a genius to figure out.

By Royce - February 3, 2012

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