SEO

Is Google Getting Too Pushy with Search Suggestions and Modifications?

A great WebmasterWorld thread discusses the Google search suggestion evolution. The fact is, Google considers itself to know much better what the surfer wants. Even advanced search operators no more help to find results Google considers to be incorrect.

The discussion evolves around Google splitting the words apart even when the user does want to search then spelled as one word but the same can be applied to many more cases.

I also am quite frustrated at times with the “we guessed your intention” approach. For anyone who has been using technically precise search from the early days of the web, its easy to take this as a negative evolution. I do understand that this is essentially a business decision – trying to please the great majority. But I also wish Google would give power searchers some option to turn off their lowest common demonator approach.

Here are just a couple of examples:

  • [googlesearch] and even ["googlesearch"] will both be broken in two words because it is correct (no matter what I want). + operator seems to help a bit though: [+googlesearch] What you still can’t eliminate is the recent “Did you mean: [query] Top 2 results shown” results.
  • [freeshipping.org] or even ["freeshipping.org"] (the latter is supposed to make Google return the exact match) – both return freeshipping.com at #3 (isn’t it clear I don’t want to see it there or is it again about the strength of .com top level domains?).

google suggest Is Google Getting Too Pushy with Search Suggestions and Modifications?

A few solutions offered in the thread to get around the issue (but still cater for the non-tech-savvy majority) are:

  • Google should strictly obey its advanced operators (without suggesting what seems more correct when the advanced operator is used);
  • Google should offer the option to opt out of search suggesting and correcting.


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Ann Smarty is the blogger and community manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas. Ann's expertise in blogging and tools serve as a base for her writing, tutorials and her guest blogging project, MyBlogGuest.com.
f8d69258525dec38624a29eb3d570d8c 64 Is Google Getting Too Pushy with Search Suggestions and Modifications?

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10 thoughts on “Is Google Getting Too Pushy with Search Suggestions and Modifications?

  1. Ann,

    I am highly unimpressive with google search suggest. It will completely distract for what I am really looking for.

    Google cant collect “rising search queries” in near future .

    Google has been successfully showing relevant content for search queries. Having said this most of the visitors ( non SEOs) opt for suggestions and they feel unsatisfied.

  2. Ann,

    Thanks for bringing this topic to our attention.

    These sorts of practices stink for site owners *and* Google users. If you know what terms your intended visitors are using, how are you supposed to optimize for those when you never know how Google is going to interpret searches for those terms?

    And, as a user, I’m always offended whenever Google (or any other service provider, for that matter) acts is if they know what I want better than I do.

    We should trust users to know what they want.

  3. Hi Ann,

    Great post and it isn’t just causing problems for searchers (although that might be the part that Google will notice). There have been a couple of reports of sites that have very similar names to more popular brands that are no longer able to get first position for their name – and this isn’t just because they were trying to piggyback off the more popular brand. I noticed it when I was looking for GoRank’s Tools (try searching for gorank) and wrote about it here: http://www.morevisibility.com/seoblog/googles-algorithm-update-for-misspelled-words-a-big-change-for-seo.html. If Aaron Wall is right about Google’s new “guess what I mean” algorithm: http://www.seobook.com/google-branding, I’m guessing that I don’t like it.

  4. Hi Ann,

    Thanks for those two examples. I thought it was grand when Google began doing singular /plural/and some variants automatically – and if I didn’t want it, I could use + to turn it off. As you point out, that’s no longer a sure thing. That Google could find the one word form of a compounded word was good too – and that is now compromised. I began looking at this in more detail and did up my own post at http://www.searchenginejournal.com/is-google-getting-too-pushy-with-search-suggestions-and-modifications/8759/ – where we can see how Google handles the word by-laws in all its forms and that order of words can make a big difference.

    Google and other engines are moving away from exact word match in attempts to divine meaning – and it may backfire.

  5. Why bother with google search when there are so many other options.
    copernic
    webferret

    Try the others to get result.

    soybean

  6. We are living in the age of software arrogance. Google’s services are among the most hard-coded, rigid, option-lacking of anything on the internet. Thanks google liberals. Thanks socialism.