Recently, in one episode of Freakonomics Radio where it is asked the question to the people. The question which was asked is: “Is Google Getting Worse?” And in response, people have their concerns and complained that Google Search is surfacing less useful results. Also, the average number of users who have complaints is rotating around the lines of: “I feel like I’m seeing more ads, more links that might as well be ads, and more links to spammy web pages.” Concurrently, Google responded to the same concern in a podcast this week.
On the other hand, the episode goes into the history of Google Search ads with former executive Marissa Mayer. As she was at the company for a great time span of 13 years. And also led the search engine for that time. Also, understanding things from a broader aspect then it is found that Google in the early days have “3 percent more searches from people who had ads than didn’t.”
So basically, there was an appreciable difference over a long period of time that people actually liked Google search results more and did more searches when they had ads than when they didn’t, which I thought was really validating.
Also, certainly, it also makes a lot of money with Google in the early days. Considering the same on subscription bases. And that’s exactly what search engines are trying these days.
If you did “Madonna tour tickets” and you looked at the organic results, they were terrible. There’s no tickets to buy. But if you put search ads there, the people who actually have tickets to Madonna’s tour are happy to pay a lot to get those expensive tickets in front of users. And they actually make the search quality better.
So in order to answer the questions, the podcast had the VP of search Liz Reid. Responded to the questions that arise about quality concerns. So Reid initiates by arguing the ads model enables the search engine to be “universally accessible.” And the same has been Google’s Mission and “that the addition of advertising really, truly democratized access to information.”
At the same time, Reid is determined that “what we can do with the search results isn’t affected by the ads. We build out our search results separately,” and was then further asked that:
Are there more ads, or more ad-related or more sponsored-related or even Google-generated snippets on the first page of a Google search result than there used to be?
Reids respond that number of ads is camouflaged and hasn’t changed
On being asked the above question, Reid’s answer is that the “number of ads we show on a page has been capped for several years, and that hasn’t changed.”
Furthermore, Featured Snippets have been also discussed with Mayer, and the same going to bring an interesting perspective:
I think that Google is more hesitant to send users out into the web. And to me, you know, that points to a natural tension where they’re saying, “Wait, we see that the web sometimes isn’t a great experience for our searchers to continue onto. We’re keeping them on our page.” People might perceive that and say, “Well, they’re keeping them on the page because that helps them make more money, gives them more control.” But my sense is that [the] recent uptick in the number of inline results is because they are concerned about some of the low-quality experiences out on the web.
I think that the problem is really hard. You might not like the way that Google’s solving it at the moment, but given how the web is changing and evolving, I’m not sure that the old approach, if reapplied, would do as well as you’d like it to.
Google has parallelly worked to resolve the problem of spammy web content by surfacing more pages written “by people, for people” and that meant designing Google’s algos. Thereby, they have come out with the trend of appending “Reddit” to Search queries. In order to get first-person results from actual humans respectively.