Google Says Searches Are Up. Is Relevancy Down?

Jun 1, 2012 • 8:30 am | comments (11) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine

google up and downGoogle: Search Activity Rising Following Revamp via the Wall Street Journal has Google's head of search, Amit Singhal saying searches are up since releasing the knowledge graph.

It makes sense, the knowledge graph loads a huge side panel with data and then tons and tons of links to additional searches you can do. It basically shows hyperlinks to more searches, which leads to more searches.

But some people feel that if people are doing more searches after their initial search query that relevancy is down.

It does make logical sense. You search for widget and then you decide you need to search for something else, that means you were not satisfied with the initial search result set. But with the knowledge graph, I don't think that logic applies. If anything, someone searches for something, maybe a person, learns about the person in the side panel and then clicks deeper to learn more about related topics.

In short, I think clicks on more search queries within the knowledge panel means people like the knowledge panel and it is useful. If more searches are done in the search box and not by clicking on the knowledge panel link, then something is wrong.

Of course, more search queries means more money - although the ads are not always easy to find when the knowledge panel comes up - at least not now.

A WebmasterWorld thread says:

The fact that Google is, according to Singhal, getting more queries indicates that users may not be getting the answers they want and have to resort to more queries.

Do you agree.

Forum discussion at Google+ and WebmasterWorld.

Image credit to ShutterStock for up/down arrows

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06/01/2012 04:25 pm

I wouldn't necessarily say that relevancy is down because more searches are taking place. I think that it is just a matter of users trying to dig for additional information. It's kind of like the Wikipedia effect. I might start on one wiki page, learning about a particular topic, and before i know it, i have 10 new tabs of wiki pages open, because i saw a bunch of other stuff that caught my eye that I wanted to know more about. It's a pretty ingenious way of driving search volume and, subsequently, ad revenue.


06/01/2012 05:23 pm

All I am going to say is I am using yahoo and bing much more now

Takeshi Takahashi

06/01/2012 07:24 pm

To be truthful, this may be just because I've been getting very entrenched in the SEO field recently, but it seems to me like Google's relevancy is falling. I can hardly remember the last time I needed to use multiple queries to find what I needed, but I have needed to recently when using G. Even with their rollout of the Knowledge Graph, it just doesn't work like I need it to. I switched to Bing for a time, but that really wasn't any better either. In all honesty, DuckDuckGo has been giving the best results recently (~1 month time frame). Granted, I'm biased since I work in the field, but really. DDG is giving Google a bargain run for its money in terms of getting me the information I want.

Michael Martinez

06/01/2012 08:17 pm

I would say it's a combination of Google piqueing searchers' interests with new stimulating content AND people not finding what they want.


06/01/2012 10:39 pm

I don't agree. In my experience relevance after the launch of Knowledge Graph is actually better. I also find myself doing more searches, yes, but not because of irrelevant results but because something in the Knowledge Graph box piqued my curiosity and I end up searching for more info on a subject I didn't even know I was interested in.


06/02/2012 01:45 am

I am also finding Googles relevancy is down. Since January I have found myself using bing more and more and infact now it has taken the place of Google on the toolbar. There is no chance this would have happened a year ago. The reason I like bing is because it is basically just a filtered set of Googles results and the way they filter these results seems to increase relevancy "for me".


06/02/2012 02:53 am

It doesn't necessarily mean relevancy is down, but could well mean that people liked what they read and are interested to learn more. The search terms are related. It would be ridiculous to provide every single detail in the knowledge graph. Lately, I'm finding search results a lot better. More relevant pages that are less ad-heavy and less orientated towards content farms or similar. (Maybe the owners of such sites are the ones who feel Google is less relevant now...)

Stephen Dow

06/02/2012 05:26 pm

You've missed one BIG question, "Are click-throughs from the SERP's going down"? That's what happened in the past when Google added site previews. Studies showed this. I guess we'll know soon enough - but the results I've seen are worse than Bing's new "play-toy" search addition.

Webstats Art

06/03/2012 02:13 pm

Well I say it for those who do not dare! Google is scraping content from other places to make people stay longer on their own site. Scraping is very profitable. Many years ago it was possible to scrape and make enough money to buy a satellite. If you scrape too late, then you are a content farm.


06/04/2012 08:01 am

I wonders if Google does measure the % of searchers searching for similar keywords after doing a search (meaning they refined their search). If there are higher % of people refining their searches, it might means that their relevancy has somehow dropped? Possible?


06/05/2012 02:30 pm

Bing, really? You guys are nuts. I couldn't see anyone doing any amount of serious browsing or research using Bing or duckduckgo. I just tried duckduckgo again and it's returning some of the most useless results I've ever seen. If you guys wanted attention then you got it, but using Bing and especially duckduckgo is borderline idiotic.

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