We all need better Google search

GoogleA few weeks ago, in mid-August, Google announced a very important update to its main tool, the search engine: “More content from people, for people searching”. The basic idea is simple, so banal that, in the eyes of a layman, one would exclaim “but isn’t it already so? “: prevent Google from favoring content that does not seem written for a human audience, but rather from pleasing the search engine’s algorithms and/or encouraging the Internet user to click on it, to the point that in some cases we find ourselves also asks if they were indeed written by a person. These changes go hand in hand with another novelty launched in the spring, and linked to product reviews, in order to make the user find increasingly authentic and genuinely useful content. The two new features are already available worldwide, for English-speaking users (the first is actually still in deployment, but the conclusion of the version is expected tomorrow); for French, however, there are no dates, and past history teaches us that it can take years for updates of a similar magnitude to spread. But that’s not the problem.

This update will ensure that unoriginal and low-quality content does not appear at the top of search results. If we wanted to be thorough, we could argue that we shouldn’t really position ourselves, but we won’t be there to nitpick in Google’s press releases, especially since the experiments carried out by the search engine have revealed that the largest improvements are made precisely with content associated with shopping and technology (among others). The fact is that not only the content offered in the SERP (search engine results page – the page with the search engine results) could improve, but it is the same Google SERP that has changed over time. time, and not really for the better. for the user. A few months ago an interesting analysis by Il Post came out, the title of which is quite a program: “Google searches are not what they used to be”, which analyzed both how the search engine has changed and how it is used. of people. In fact, Google has been the dominant search engine globally for over twenty years (84.75% market share on desktop, 95.6% on mobile) and over time it has evolved, both in terms of algorithms than presentation of results.

The SERP relating to the “Samsung Galaxy S22”, visible above, is particularly illustrative: 4 ads, the news box, and a side tab with various links for purchase and more details, reviews and shops that open in pop-up on the same page. Continuing to scroll we have, below the news block, the official Samsung site, and then the additional “people also asked” box, which continues to expand with new questions if you were to click on the one of those present. In fact, after 2 full screens, there is still no real organic result. Where before there were only links to a resource on the web, there are now many boxes of different types, announcements, news (sometimes even Twitter), videos and other “distractions” that easily capture the audience. users’ attention, and make positioning on Google less and less effective. Also, over time, Google tried to provide the answer more and more proactively, without the user having to leave the SERP to get what they wanted. In some cases, it is even the search engine itself that extracts the content of the search results, to present them immediately to the user, so that the latter does not have to click to get what he wants. . It’s a logical step if you think about it: if Google only offers links, the Internet user will click on one of the first, immediately leaving the search engine, to continue browsing elsewhere. With the advent of social networks, which by nature keep users glued to themselves, the gap in time spent has become considerable: Google is the most visited site in the world, but at the same time the one on which users found shorter; and Google has tried to change that.

At the same time, user habits have also changed: mobile search has gradually become more and more popular, and here Google is even more of a leader than on the desktop. In addition, it is the public who uses the many other tools at their disposal in a different way. Last year, TikTok overtook Google as the most popular site in the world (source: Cloudflare), and recently there was even a hoax that it also overtook it as a search engine (spoiler : TikTok is not a search engine, and comparing it to Google is like comparing pears and clouds). The fact is, however, that Google is no longer the only provider it once was, and to get an answer today’s user doesn’t necessarily need to search for it. Maybe he will only trust the influencer/creator of his choice, maybe he will look for a freebie directly on Amazon, or maybe he will be inspired by Instagram to choose the decoration of the house. And patience if there may also be sponsored content that you haven’t even noticed. The fault is certainly not Google, but at the same time it is also the search engine itself which somewhat alienates its audience, both by the quality and by the visibility given to its results.