Staff Writer: Greta Frusha
A recent search engine user study gave insights into current trends and user desires. It revealed how people felt about targeted advertising, personal data collection, and quality of search results. This study also highlighted a very apparent disconnection between what the users said they wanted and what they actually expected from search engines. 91 percent of the respondents said that they always or most of the time find what they are looking for when they use search engines. 73 percent said that most or all of the information found while using the search engines was accurate and trustworthy. 55 percent say that, overall, search result quality is improving. Only 4 percent grumbled that quality had gotten worse.
In general, Los Angeles local search engine optimization users seemed happy with the current state of search. Google, of course, was named as the favorite search engine to use, Yahoo came in a distant second and Bing wasn’t even mentioned. The report uncovered a serious lack of understanding by users about how search results come to be.
Users disapprove of user tracking, but very much appreciate the relevant search results that they get. The majority of users polled believed that collecting information about their searches and then use to rank future search results is a bad thing. They believe it could limit the information they get online along with the results they see. On the flip side, the 86 percent of users polled reported that they have learned something new or important that was related to their search. They were happy with the increased knowledge or the help that it gave them.
In another survey done by Google, some respondents felt that Google shouldn’t personalize search results based on past searches and information from social networking sites. Another group of respondents like the idea of personalized searches but worried about privacy issues. Then there was the group that believed that everyone should see the same results when searching for the same keyword. What the Los Angeles marketing agencies demonstrates is that search engines should track and personalize doesn’t jive with the belief that search engines shouldn’t.
Pew Internet has collected a decade’s worth of search engine user data. The current report is that users are very satisfied with the quality of search results. This is from increasing relevancy and accuracy of search results that are paired to user queries are due to personalization of results. Tracking and personalization are happening on several different levels that users are not aware of.
Now signed- in web search and social network data offers a second and more in depth level of personalization. This is the bone of contention lies for many users concerned about privacy. Even after signing out of Google, stored cookies still share web history and results are then personalized to some extent.
Search engine users can’t have it both ways. Users tell the search engines that even with ad clicks, page views, queries, and online purchases the still demand relevant information on demand.