The results of a recent study show that almost half of the entries on the first page of search results consist of links to Google products.
These numbers raise concerns that Google prefers its own services and in many cases places them ahead of the competition.
When looking at only the top 15% of a search results page, it was found that Google products account for 63% of the results.
The top 15% of SERPs correspond to the first screen of an iPhone X before scrolling down.
This is possibly the worst statistic in the entire report: "With every fifth search in our example, no links to external websites were displayed on the first screen."
This data comes from a study by The Markup that analyzed over 15,000 popular queries.
The key finding from the report is that 41% of the first page of Google search results is taken over by Google itself.
"We recently researched over 15,000 popular searches and found that Google devoted 41 percent of the first page of search results to mobile devices to its own properties and so-called" direct answers ", which are sometimes filled with information from other sources without their knowledge or your permission. "
The markup provided an example of a trend search for "myocardial infarction" in which the first 4 results were on the Google properties page. It came back:
- Google dictionary definition.
- A field "People ask too"
- A knowledge panel
- A carousel with related terms that leads to more Google searches
It was found that a user had to scroll almost halfway through the page before getting the first organic result.
A Google spokesman responded to this study and disputed its results on the grounds that certain results should not be counted as Google properties.
“Providing feedback links, reformulating questions or exploring topics, and presenting quick facts are not designed to favor Google. These functions are basically in the interest of the users, whom we validate through a rigorous testing process.
Sometimes the most helpful information is a link to another website – sometimes a map, restaurant list, video, or picture. "
If it looks like Google’s priorities have shifted from directing traffic to websites, you may be right.
Google addresses this in another statement from the speaker.
Connected: Over 25% of users click on the first result of Google search
Google’s priorities have changed
The markup begins its report by drawing attention to something Google co-founder Larry Page said in 2004:
"We want to get you out of Google and in the right place as soon as possible."
In a direct response to this quote, a Google spokesman says that guiding people from search engines to websites is no longer the best solution.
"As a search engine, Google's mission is to quickly lead searchers to great information wherever that information is, as Page explained. At the time, this generally meant directing people from search results to websites. As search technologies evolve it’s not always the best way to help people. "
There's no clearer way to tell that Google’s priorities have changed because users should be removed from the search engine as soon as possible.
According to Google, the priority now is to direct users to the best answer to a query.
If this answer can be provided by Google on the search results page, Google properties may appear before organic results.
For further analysis on this topic, I recommend reading the full report from The Markup here.
Connected: A full list of Google's recommended snippets types