How Good Are Google Search Result Rankings?

ranking Everywhere you turn people tell you the same thing about search engines; Google is the best search engine. Google is certainly the biggest search engine company. Depending upon whose numbers you want to believe, Google’s search market share is a whopping 71% or more. Google processes hundreds of millions of search queries every day and uses so many servers, computers, routers, and networking equipment that it recently got into the power business. But, does that make Google the best search engine? How good are its search results?

Quality of Google Search Results Page Rankings

Answering the question of how good Google’s searches are is not straightforward. There are numerous factors that can go into ranking websites and webpages as the best search result, or the number 38 search result. Which ones to include and how much weight each search ranking factor should be given is a matter of opinion. Some may claim that larger, better known, results should rank highest, while others would claim that the democratization of information is exactly what makes the Internet so powerful, therefore, no preference should be given to “mainstream” websites or their pages.

However, examining Google’s search results with human eyes often provides some insight into how well the company is doing when it ranks websites in the top ten search results. (UPDATE: The guys over at Search Engine Journal published a different look at what I was getting at here.)

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Google tracks the preferences and history of most users. It uses this data to “personalize” the search results for that person. For example, if you often search for something like denver sightseeing, a search for something like tourist attractions may be skewed toward attractions in Denver, even though denver was not included in that particular search. Furthermore, if you often visit a specific website, especially by clicking on its links from searches, that site may be pumped up to a higher position in future searchers.

Many writers seeking to earn money writing online fall victim to this trap. Since they logically visit their own websites more frequently than others, they are likely to rank higher in most searches performed by the website author. Unfortunately, this often leads new writers into believing that they rank much higher than they really do for a particular search.

Always perform any searches that you want to use to see how things look to everyone else in your browser’s privacy mode. Google Incognito mode is useful for seeing unpersonalized search results and is my personal favorite, because it does not shut down your regular browsing session to go private.

Once you have launched a private browsing session, type in a few Google searches that you think would be productive ways of finding valuable information. Obviously, two word searches are difficult because there can be so much interpretation. Try better searches with three or four words. For an example, try “LCD versus Plasma”. Then try “LCD vs Plasma”.

google-search-results-quality-comparison

Despite Google’s insistence that it handles synonyms for you in searches, the differences between the results when using “versus” instead of “vs” are very different. This is technically an abbreviation, not a synonym, but the point remains that what results you get for your searches depends very much on EXACTLY what you search for. That is why writing to multiple keywords is so important.

You’ll notice throughout this site (and even in this article) I make an effort to link back for both “earn money writing online” AND “make money writing online” because it really does matter.

When you are out there writing content for yourself or your clients and building powerful backlinks to your best stuff, be sure to do the same. Otherwise, the best search engine in the world might not rank you as high as you deserve based on one tiny little word.

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