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Link: “Is Google Dying? Or Did the Web Grow Up?”

Original post found at: https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/06/google-search-algorithm-internet/661325/

[SEO expert Marie] Haynes agrees that ads’ presence on Search is worse than ever and the company’s decision to prioritize its own products and features over organic results is frustrating. But she argues that Google’s flagship product has actually gotten better and much more complex over time. That complexity, she suggests, might be why searching feels different right now. “We’re in this transition phase,” she told me, noting that the company has made significant advancements in artificial intelligence and machine learning to decipher user queries. […]

“The AI attempts to understand not just what the searcher is typing, but what the searcher is trying to get at,” Haynes told me. “It’s trying to understand the content inside pages and inside queries, and that will change the type of result people get.” Google’s focus on searcher intent could mean that when people type in keywords, they’re not getting as many direct word matches. Instead, Google is trying to scan the query, make meaning from it, and surface pages that it thinks match that meaning.

Yes, this is EXACTLY why modern, mainstream search engines (because it seems like all of them are moving in this direction) are so abysmal at actually giving results that are of any relevance at all to any kind of “niche” query. Its AI is hot garbage. I had a link post a while back that was also on this topic (and this article draws on that one too, for that matter).

a cartoony avatar of Jessica Smith is a left-wing feminist who loves animals, books, gaming, and cooking; she’s also very interested in linguistics, history, technology and society.