One Google Search critique of late blames targeted SEO content for the declining quality of results. Google today pushed back against that claim by saying Search has “decreased the number of irrelevant results by over 50%” in the last seven years. 

Google cites “internal metrics based on quality rater data” in a Q&A with Search Liaison Danny Sullivan. These Quality Raters are located worldwide, but do use Google-established guidelines (PDF). 

The company has nothing further to say – including providing specifics – on relevancy beyond that one metric. Some people complain that search engine optimization (SEO) is responsible for gaming what results appear first, with those posts often of questionable quality and very clearly designed to get page (and ad) views rather than providing the absolute best answer in a direct manner.

In response, people have appended “reddit” to their search query to get results written by authentic humans with knowledge. Meanwhile, the number of ads that appear before actual non-sponsored posts appear is the other big ongoing complaint.

Meanwhile, Google reiterated that it makes many improvements to Search annually, including over 5,000 in 2021, while it runs “more than 800,000 experiments and ongoing quality tests.”

Another interesting stat is how there’s been a “60% increase in natural language queries” to Search since 2015. This does correspond to Google improving its NLP capabilities so that people can use “language that’s closer to the way we normally write and speak.”

Search today also rolled out an update on its work to improve product reviews to “prioritize in-depth, first-person content.” This includes providing “to prioritize in-depth, first-person content” and including comparisons to competing products. It started that work a year ago.

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About the Author

Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: abner@9to5g.com