Google is the search service with the largest market share in many markets. In Europe, Google accounts for 92% of searches, while its biggest competitor, Bing, has a market share of only about 3%.
Therefore, many users trust search results from Google for all purposes, from purchasing products and services to finding places to eat and drink.
However, according to the Telegraph, many UK users are gradually realizing that search results from Google are not necessarily for the best value. Instead, they are filled with results that were obtained by spending money on advertising, but still displayed as organic links.
Therefore, searches on Google are increasingly different from showing “10 blue links”, the results are displayed without the impact of advertising money as in the early days of this service.
Advertising money is more important than user benefit
Now, Google prioritizes results that could lead to their other platforms, like Google Maps or YouTube. The tech giant thinks that users want information immediately, instead of having to click a few more times. However, according to the Telegraph’s research, the Google search engine does not always show where the best price is sold.
“Search results are driven by money. The most relevant results are not always on the top. This is not a level playing field,” said Charlotte Sheridan, director at marketing firm Small Biz. Institute shares.
For example, when searching for the keyword “cheap hotels in London”, the first 4 results are advertisements, and then a dashboard from Google Maps showing the locations of those 4 results. Google allows auction tour operators to display hotel names and rates in the top results, and they have taken up most of the upper part of the screen.
Just scroll down, new users see 10 other natural links to booking sites, and then add 2 advertising results before they can click to the next page. If you do not click directly on the results from Google but find an equivalent room at a platform like Kayak, the room price can be cheaper from 2-7 pounds. To get to this result, the user will have to scroll twice.
In addition, the changes in the Google interface have also made it increasingly difficult for users to exit their cross-platform websites. Search results will usually immediately display the most important information, and many times users just need to read that information, no need to click on the original website.
In other words, advertising money from companies has helped keep users on the Google search page for longer, and since then, advertisers have been more motivated to pay and show up on Google results.
When we do a Google search, we are not actually searching the entire Internet, but rather looking at the trillions of web pages marked by Google. With the automatic code, every day new websites will be “scratched” and “marked”, saving the most important information in the Google database.
The platform then uses several parameters, such as the user’s relevance and search habits, to calculate their priority in displaying results. Google never reveals exactly how its algorithm works.
“Google search results are getting worse, am I alone”? These are familiar questions on Reddit, Quora. Many users claim that they used a very specific keyword, but the results shown above are still irrelevant.
According to Sistrix’s 2020 study, which analyzes billions of search results, 28% of users click on the first organic link on Google. Going to second place, the clickthrough rate has dropped drastically. That is why there is a whole field of research called “search engine optimization” to get results pulled up as high as possible.
Trouble when Google dominates the search segment
As with any industry, the fact that a single company holds a majority market share leads to monopoly concerns. In the case of Google, this company has faced numerous allegations and investigations of monopolistic behavior.
One of the most investigated behaviors is when Google directly affects the business ability of other companies. One example is that they may display the location and room rate of a paying partner as a user searches, thereby reducing the number of customers who lead to non-paying Google services.
Similar to searching for hotel rooms, Google is also having trouble with its shopping suggestion service. In 2017, Google was fined 2.4 billion euros after the EU investigated allegations of monopolizing shopping search results. This company is still in the process of appealing.
The US Department of Justice also confirmed that Google has used anti-competitive tactics for many years to maintain a monopoly position in the search market. The agency’s investigation documents show that top Google executives are worried about losing market share to higher-margin, search-intensive services.
Surprisingly, the companies that criticize Google the most are also their biggest advertising partners. Expedia and Booking.com, two companies that regularly speak out about monopoly concerns, spend as much as $ 16 billion on advertising on Google in 2019, according to research by Skift Research.
John Cawdery, a former head of advertising at Google, thinks that brands should think twice about paying for this company because there are many other platforms to exploit. According to Cawdery, competing services are getting better and better results than before, so it’s also more reasonable to spend money on them.
With 3.5 billion search results every day, Google is still increasingly becoming an important tool for Internet users. Claims of monopoly and prioritization of paid results are also increasing. According to the Telegraph, that makes this search engine different from the philosophy of “10 blue paths” that the company once pursued.