The Google search engine is a tool designed to provide people with information. Its algorithm is updated regularly to address issues with keyword relevancy. Search engines are only valuable when the information that comes up in search is what the individual is looking for with the given keyword. If searches are consistently yielding incorrect results, then the user would switch to a search engine with a better algorithm.
This is one of the things that Google does best. But it appears the company is trying to be an information provider, not just an information aggregator. Google is not alone either, as Bing as also taken steps to provide users with information before they even click on a website.
In other words, when a user does a search, the information comes up before the user has had to click on any website. For example, if you search for “Felix Hernandez Salary,” Google tells you that it’s 19 million dollars. You don’t have to click a link or visit any website – it’s right there at the top.
Google and Your Information
Google gets this information from websites just like yours. It has essentially taken the information from your website and placed it on their own, and by doing so, it takes away the need to ever visit the primary sites.
This is an issue. Websites like Baseball Reference and Cot’s Contracts depend on the hits from these types of searches to fund the time they take to get this information in the first place. But by answering the question before the person visits the website, those hits are taken away, and so too does the opportunity for these websites to make money.
This isn’t a tremendous problem, of course. But it is something that seems a bit unethical, and potentially could hurt businesses and search engines in the long run. While it’s certainly advantageous for the user, the more search engines answer questions for you, the less money the websites that host that information make. Eventually, many of these websites will fold, and with it goes potentially valuable information and web content.
This isn’t a tremendously important. Google, and Bing, and other search engines, are fantastic tools, and they’re not providing every detail of every bit of information that users are looking for. But it’s still a worrying trend. The more these search engines answer questions for the users, the less incentive informative websites have to supply that information themselves.