Google searches are becoming less and less relevant, study finds

Some of you may have noticed a drop in the quality of search engine results. In fact, it would be a generalized phenomenon which has just been confirmed by a study.



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Search engine results may be worse, according to a study.  Illustrative photo.  (CHRISTOPHE MORIN / MAXPPP)

A long study of more than a year, carried out by researchers from several German universities, and whose results are detailed in this month of January, concludes that search engines are being overtaken by those who cheat to go up in the results. For example, they studied more than 7,000 queries like “what are the best headphones?” or “cheap hotel in Paris”, what you type to get product information.

The result is that the sites that arrive at the top of the list are those that mainly feature sponsored content or links. You’ve probably seen them before, they’re called affiliate links. They refer you to Amazon, Fnac or Booking and allow the site to earn a commission when you buy the product. It turns out that a very small minority of pages use these sponsored links. However, they are mostly found at the top of search results. While purely editorial content is relegated much lower in the list, which is new at Google.

The question will arise for current research

The researchers also tested Google’s competitors, the Bing and DuckDuckGo engines and it’s worse, their results put even more emphasis on misleading or sponsored content. This is therefore proof that it has become more effective to optimize your SEO than to focus on the quality of your content. This is also proof that the measures taken so far by search engines will have to be reviewed, at the risk of losing the trust of Internet users.

For news searches, it’s not yet the same problem, because Google has signed agreements with many news outlets. But the question will arise, more and more, with artificial intelligence. Because it has become very easy to cheat and flood the web with paraphrased information from the mainstream media or automatically translated. We will therefore have to be increasingly wary of what is published on the internet.

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