Google, the most popular search engine, tests numerous algorithms and various other search updates each year. The company often asks its users to provide honest feedback on the quality of its SERPs, and recently Google began providing searchers with easy forms to fill out.
Eli Schwartz shared his experience with Search Engine Land, which published an article and a screen shot highlighting the type of feedback Google looks for from users. Schwartz conducted a simple Google search for “products synonym.” When Google provided him with custom content returns, the space to the right of the results featured a short questionnaire. The survey asked Schwartz which result he preferred most out of two specific examples.
Search Engine Land also noted that Google doesn’t want general feedback on SERPS as a whole – it asks a user to evaluate two example results. The Street, a digital media finance company, went through a similar experience as Schwartz, and the outlet pointed readers toward the “Learn more” link at the bottom of the questionnaire form. The link led to a Google help page that explains user feedback doesn’t directly influence SERPs.
The Google help page also reports:
In a typical year, we experiment with tens of thousands of possible changes. These changes, whether minor or major, are tested extensively by professional search evaluators, who look at results and give us feedback, and “live traffic experiments” where we turn on a change for a portion of users. Testing helps us whittle down our list of changes to about 500 improvements per year.
The small tests run by Google highlight the importance of successful SEO content strategies. While intuition might suggest users will pick the result that ranks highest, after clicking through to each site, the page with higher-quality branded content will most likely compel the web searcher to select it over the other option.