You may or may not have noticed that on many Google searches, you now receive search results that include links that your social circle has shared. My first two reactions to this were, ‘wow how cool!’ followed by ‘damn Google knows everything about me’. While it is incredible that Google can recommend links my friends already like, and there have been times where I appreciated this feature, a new revelation came to me about another implication of this feature – other links are being bypassed to allow for my friends link to be pushed up.
I may never see the links that get relegated off of the first page, or simply pushed lower by the ‘socially suggested links’ and that negates much of the reason I use Google. The social links make sense because they bring some immediate relevance to your search, but at what cost? I often use Google to find incredibly obscure pieces of information that I could never find anywhere else, not get recommendations from friends. Google already directs your search with geo-location, popular searches, past searches and other data collected, giving you what they believe is the best possible websites to find your information, which limits your ability to find less popular links.
If this niche-ification continues then popular websites will continue to become more and more difficult to ignore, which for the most part is why SEO exists – but is it really benefiting the Googler? Is your search world being narrowed daily by Google?
I appreciate the most relevant possible links when searching for specific information, but there are times when I am not looking for the obvious answer or opinion. These are the times when I want nothing to do with Google predetermining what I am looking for.
Do you think Google is narrowing our search parameters too much, or are they within a reasonable amount?
-Max Silver, Social Media Specialist at 451 Marketing