Google aims to tackle out-of-date results

Posted on June 30, 2021

 

Google has introduced a new information banner informing users that they may not be getting the best quality of results, especially when searching on a subject where information is changing rapidly.

Search Engine Land gives an example of a search for “ufo 106 mph”, which brings up results to do with a UFO sighting in Wales. However, since news on this was still developing at the time of the search, Google placed a banner at the top of the results page reading:

“It looks like these results are changing quickly”

A search for “ufo 106 mph” today produces no such notification, suggesting that Google has now stabilised its results for the search and is no longer concerned that it may not be delivering the latest information.

Incidentally, since this news was reported, several British media sources, including The Guardian, have picked up an example of an important matter when Google was giving incorrect advice. Recently, UK searches for “Do I need to self-isolate after contact tracing if I test negative?” on Google produced a snippet advising that the answer to this question was no. This was scraped from part of the gov.uk site.

However, although the source used by Google was a credible one, the search engine had failed to understand the question and had presented its answer out of context. The correct answer is that anyone told to self-isolate by the NHS should do so, even if they test negative.

Coupled with an April 2020 warning that results for some searches may not be of good quality, this shows that Google is acknowledging that its results are not infallible. It also suggests that while achieving a Google snippet is a real boost for a website, Google is taking steps to make sure its results are up to date, so having a snippet now is no guarantee of having it in a few weeks’ time.

That means regular, accurate and up-to-date content is crucial, and we can supply that at Engage Web. To learn more, speak to one of our team today.

Content Team Leader at Engage Web
John works for Engage Web as a Content Team Leader and regularly contributes to the website and programmes of his beloved Chester F.C.
John Murray
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