Google Search? Not As Much As You Would Think

On my daily travels through Mashable this evening I came across this rather fascinating story about how Google is killing organic search; and how only roughly 13% of the results page is actually dedicated to giving you the results you need.

The story references a study done by Aaron Harris (twitter: @harris), the founder of Tutorspree, who broke down the Google organic results page(s) and found that far less “real estate” is used to provide you with search results than you would think, or expect.

Google has been the “king” of Internet Search for quite some time, so much so that we no longer say we’ll “search” for something, we often just say “Google-it”.  However the days of copious lists of results seem to have been replaced gradually by revenue raising Google advertising, and with the localised search data we now have other Google products such as Maps also taking up seemingly valuable website space.

Harris used “Auto Mechanic” as an example, while logged into Google on a machine in the TriBeCa area.

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Says Harris, “I’m using a Macbook Air 13inch. My browser size is set to “Actual Size.” The rest of the page is taken up by Google products. Adwords take up 29% of the page. Google’s map, plotted with it’s own local results takes up 7% of the page. Google’s navigation bar, complete with notifications for my Google+ account, takes up 14% of the page.”

The results themselves?  Harris continues, saying, “The top organic result? Wikipedia. The next two? Yelp, a competitor against which Google is clearly moving.(2)”

If you think 13% is bad, it gets worse – far worse.  “Italian food” provided just 7% real estate dedicated to the organic search results, and if you used your mobile phone, the answer was as low as 0%.  That’s right, NOTHING.

I strongly suggest taking a few minutes to read the study by Aaron Harris on Tutorspree.  You’ll be truly amazed at how little Google is actually providing us by way of Organic Search data.

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Google Places Takes Search To Next Level

Reading through this months issue of NETT Magazine (February 2011) I came across a really great article on the most recent changes to Google’s search engine system.

Local SearchIf you have done a search recently you have probably noticed the “instant” feature that Google has implemented. Instead of typing in a full phrase and hitting enter, the engine will now search on the fly at each word you type in. At first, this appeared to be rather annoying however upon further review and testing it would appear that Google once again are a step ahead of the rest of us.

What Google have done by creating this instant search feature has made long-tail key queries much more relevant. For websites targeted to certain words or phrases, this means a much more targeted audience seeing your keywords. Of course, it also means there is more onus on the website owners to do much higher quality SEO on their websites also.

More importantly though is how this change affects the everyday user who uses Google to find information and businesses. Google, as you may have experienced will always provide relevant information based upon your location. This has always provided localised content. Now, with Google Places, they ahve gone a step further. If the engine thinks you are looking for a particular business, the instant search will automatically display a Google Maps result showing the closest business to your (IP based) location. No problems if you have a proxy either, as on the left-pane you can select your location to bypass the IP search.

This incredible feature takes Google to the next level and makes Google quite possibly the #1 location to find local businesses or information.

If you have not yet tested the localised instant search, head over to Google now and give it a try.

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