Google User Satisfaction Rate Drops 4 Percent

“Google is constantly working to improve search. We take a data-driven approach and employ analysts, researchers and statisticians to evaluate search quality on a full-time basis. Changes to our algorithms undergo extensive quality evaluation…” – quoted from http://www.google.com/competition/howgooglesearchworks.html

Here’s one for all you “analysts, researchers and statisticians” in Mountain View who conjure, massage, fold, spindle, crunch, model, flake, form and mutilate the algorithms that comprise the fissionable core of every updated Google nuke.

If you’re such wizards with the slide rule and the abacus (just joking, kids), please tell us this: What’s 1 percent of 1,722,071,000,000?

Did you get 17,220,710,000, as in 17 billion 220 million plus change?  Good.  So did we.

Time for question two.  Do you know what that 17 billion 220 million plus change represents?  It’s a precise statistic indicating exactly how much credibility your search returns have lost since the Penguin/Panda updates.

You may claim that your algorithms updates “undergo extensive quality evaluation”, but the ultimate “quality evaluators” – the end users who rely on Google for accurate, pertinent search returns – have made their own tests.  Tests which your latest algorithms have failed … failed by a total of considerably more than 17 billion searches a year.

According to a benchmark study recently released by ACSI.org, an independent consumer opinion poller which has been tracking end user search engine rankings for more than a decade, Google’s American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) rating dropped one point – from 83 to 82 percent in 2012.

The scores look like this:

  • Google: 82 points
  • Bing: 81 points
  • Ask.com: 80 points
  • Yahoo: 78 points

That’s right, just one lousy point.  Wouldn’t mean a thing except for three small facts and three very large ones.

The Small Facts:

1. That one lousy point does indeed equal more than 17 billion searches. 2. Bing’s satisfaction level increased by 1 percent in 2012 and is now only one point below Google’s. 3. Ask also showed a one point gain and is now at 80 percent, only two points below Google.

The Three Very Large Facts:

1.  For 2010, Google ranked three end-user satisfaction points above the newborn Bing and a fairly astounding seven points above Ask.

2.  Since 2009 Google’s satisfaction rank has dropped four points.  Translated into end-user experiences that’s well over 50 billion unsatisfactory search returns.  Over the same period, Ask’s rating has gone up six points. (Bing N/A for this timeline.)

3.  Also since 2009, Google has been grinding out algorithm updates and so-called quality changes – an astounding 65 in August and September of 2012 alone.  Ask.com, on the other hand, has eschewed wholesale tampering with their engine.

What are we mortals supposed to make of all this?  Somewhere up in the clouds Gooliath’s panjandrums proclaim that they are “constantly working to improve search.”  While down here on earth, consumers in growing numbers are reporting that those constant efforts are diminishing their Google experience rather than enhancing it.

And meanwhile, ignored and unseen by both the Mountain View wizards and the search engine satisfaction poll takers, thousands of small-business websites are dying of algorithm churn.

Dying because their owners can’t afford to spend 20 or 50 or 75 or 100,000 dollars a year to hire a professional to twist and turn and tweak their sites to somehow keep up with virtually daily (an average of more than 300 per year over the past three years) additions, subtractions and variations in the Google Playbook.

Thousands of websites providing valuable goods and services and information to millions of people dispatched like unwanted garden pests by Google.

Thousands of websites owned and operated by etrepreneurs who dared to dream.  Dared to share a scaled down bit of the same vision dreamed by Larry Page and Serge Brin not all that many years ago.

Thousands of good, honest, useful, worthwhile spam and scam-free websites sacrificed on the altar of nearly 1,000 directional changes in the way Google calculates return position in just three years. (516 in 2010 alone, according to Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt.)

Thousands of good, honest, useful, worthwhile spam and scam-free websites sacrificed on the altar of changes that the true final arbiters of search-engine quality – the web surfing community – have resoundingly greeted with groans instead of cheers.

Which makes us wish some kindly congressman or senator would allow us to suggest a few questions for Eric Schmidt to evade answering in his next appearance before a Congressional committee.

Such as: “Why should the high-tech whims of your application developers be given dictatorial control of what almost two-thirds of all internet users find when searching their web? Isn’t it still theirs, Mr. Schmidt, doesn’t it still belongs to all the peoples of the world, even if you are the one extracting most of the gold from its money mines?”

Or, instead of engaging in a futile exercise to influence Congress, you could just follow the crowd that’s drifting over to our house – NeuroMama.com where the search returns are free –free of bias, free of duplicates, free of confusion – and the Frequent Searcher Rewards points are easy.