Search engine algorithms are always getting refined in order to create an ideal search environment. The better a search engine does at matching people to their search queries, the more likely they’re going to be used. If another search engine comes along that challenges Google and Bing in terms of matching people with ideal search results, then both of those search engines will quickly lose their market shares. No company is infallible.
With that in mind, both of those search engines are good, but imperfect. Here are three changes that I expect these search engines to go through in the near future. Note: They may not make these changes, but if they don’t, I suspect they’ll someday start to lose customers to either the other search engine or a new search engine not yet created.
Change 1: Google Will Stop Rewarding Forums
I believe that within the year, Google will stop rating forum posts as highly as they do. If you search for something like “Anxiety Leg Pain,” 7 of the top 10 results are forums with a bunch of people asking others if anxiety causes leg pain, with none actually providing an answer. Most are just users that asking others and giving their own experience, which isn’t helpful for research.
The way that Google rewards forums has made their search engine much worse. The idea behind it was clear – as long as the content rates as useful by the search engine, it shouldn’t be punished simply for being a forum post. But forums are also much less likely to provide adequate answers since they’re rarely written by experts, and since the Google algorithm has no way of knowing that the vast amount of forum content is useless, it’s ranking something that doesn’t deserve to be on the first few pages, let alone one of the top five results.
I suspect Google will realize this soon and adjust accordingly.
Change 2: Bing Will Stop Rewarding Keyword URLS
This is a change that Google made in January, and one that I am positive Bing will follow soon. Right now, if you have a keyword based URL, you are likely to rank not just on the front page of Bing, but potentially number 1 or 2. If Great Leap Studios had a web address like NewYorkSEO.com, and someone searched for “New York SEO,” we wouldn’t even be on the front page of Google, but we’d be number 1 on Bing.
Allowing people to keyword target their URLs is a mistake, because it rarely has anything to do with what the person is looking for, and while it’s true that some people do a search for a URL they’re looking for (like typing “Facebook” into Google), the algorithm that the website uses is likely to reward those websites anyway fairly well. There’s no reason to reward people for keyword targeting their URL, especially not as much as Bing does.
Change 3: Google Will Change How it Ranks Its Products
I mentioned this in the last post, but the more I think about it the more I believe it’ll happen sooner, rather than later. I won’t rehash all of the arguments I made, but I will point out that right now, if you search for almost any keyword, you get YouTube videos about that keyword – bad, poor quality, usually spam YouTube videos. Even if Google does favor its own products, there’s no way this will last. YouTube content, especially, really should not show up on the front page unless there is reason to believe it’s actually valuable. I suspect this change will affect other areas of Google as well.
Those are changes that I believe will occur within the year. There’s no way to know what these companies will do, but these are intelligent companies and they often change their algorithm in ways that improve search results, so there is reason to believe that these three changes – each of which needs to be made – will eventually alter search results in a valuable way.