Google’s Mission: Keeping You On Google
Over the past two decades, Google has evolved from being a simple search engine with a funny name, white background, and colorful logo to boot. Although the site’s visual characteristics have gone through minor tweaks over the years, the look and feel is still very reminiscent of Google’s humble beginnings.
Google in 1998
One of the biggest evolutions for Google has been its growing use of knowledge graphs and other similar forms of answers directly within the search engine results page (SERP). This allows Google to come up with creative ways to better serve the user both quickly and effectively.
A Google Knowledge Graph (as of January 2017)
Google has become very good at understanding user behavior and needs. Today, we live in such a fast-paced society, and people want their questions answered with as few hurdles to jump as possible.
In a new study conducted by Siege Media, the company analyzed the top keyword “stems” on Google by total number of searches, and identified how well their click-through rates (CTR) performed. What’s interesting, is how many of these keyword stems had surprisingly low CTRs. This can be attributed to many of these queries triggering a direct response on Google in the form of text boxes, knowledge graphs, maps, or images.
Siege Media’s Worst CTR Study
You may be asking yourself, “so what?” Isn’t Google helping the user by providing quick answers or responses all without having to leave the page? While this is true, it does beg the question of how far users are willing to let Google go with their internet empire.
Also worth noting, is that knowledge graphs and text boxes pull their information from various websites, including the internet giant, Wikipedia. Because websites can often contain outdated, incorrect, or outright false information, Google picks this up and shares it as fact to its users. Doing a quick search while writing this article, I found that Google is a bit outdated on its list of living US presidents.
Google’s Text Box on Living US Presidents
In case you were wondering, Nixon, Ford, and Reagan have not been with us for quite some time now. The text box also fails to mention George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump.
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While this is bound to happen with Google sourcing millions of websites for its information, it also gets it right, a lot. There’s a reason the phrase “Google it” has become commonplace, and with the internet giant continuing to expand its offerings on a regular basis, it likely won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.