Wednesday, August 14, 2019

“Over 50% of Google searches result in no clicks, data shows - The Next Web” plus 2 more

“Over 50% of Google searches result in no clicks, data shows - The Next Web” plus 2 more


Over 50% of Google searches result in no clicks, data shows - The Next Web

Posted: 13 Aug 2019 11:58 PM PDT

Google is hungry for your clicks. But it turns out that more than half of all Google Search queries now result in no clicks.

As of June 2019, 50.3 percent of Google searches received zero clicks. By contrast, searches with organic clicks to non-Google websites now make up only 45 percent of all traffic.

That is according to data from marketing analytics firm Jumpshot based on 40 million browser-based searches on desktop and mobile in the US. The data was crunched by Rand Fishkin, founder of audience intelligence search engine SparkToro.

Credit: Rand Fishkin / SparkToro

Even worse, it seems this trend towards zero-click searches has seen steady growth since 2016. In the meantime, organic reach for third-party websites has continued to shrink.

To be fair, it's not all that surprising that a large number of searches result in no clicks – especially when we factor in that Google has been shifting its attention to summing up results in snippets at the top of Search. While those might be easier to scan for users, they do eat into third-party websites' traffic.

We've reached out to Google for comment, but have yet to hear back. We'll update this post accordingly, if we do.

However, as Fishkin points out, a US congressional panel recently asked Google if it was true that less than 50 percent of searches lead to non-Google websites. It was a simple Yes-No question, but the Big G eschewed giving a direct response. Instead, it took a dig at the authenticity of the data cited – without denying it.

"The author of the report cited in our letter did not make his specific methodology clear, but it's inaccurate to portray featured snippets as simply answering a question and never resulting in a click," the company wrote in a statement. "Many sites strive to have their content highlighted as a snippet, which can drive meaningful traffic."

Interestingly, Fishkin further notes that Google's search dominance has reached a 94-percent market share (the data is based solely on browser-based searches).

Credit: Rand Fishkin / SparkToro

For the record, this isn't an entirely new development. Back in June, Search Engine Land cited earlier research from Fishkin that suggested the number of zero-click searches in the first quarter of 2019 had reached nearly 49 percent of all queries.

Still though, the outlet noted that the Fishkin's methodology wasn't exactly bulletproof.

"The figures are based on over one billion web browser searches on ten million domestic desktop and Android devices in the US," Search Engine Land wrote. "It does not include searches conducted on iOS devices, the Google Search app, voice-only devices or searches that ended in a click to a mobile app."

The finding reignites discussions on Google's anti-competitive conduct, which many have criticized in the past.

Indeed, reports from yesterday suggest that 23 European job search firms are working on filing an antitrust complaint against Google with the European Union. The companies allege the Big G placed its own job search results above those of competitors.

What makes matters even more pressing is that it's hardly the first time the search engine giant has drawn criticism for its anti-competitive practices.

In the past, the company was fined €1.49 ($1.67) billion for killing ad competition, €2.4 ($2.69) billion for unfairly boosting its own shopping service, and €4.34 ($4.87) billion for illegally restricting the use of Android.

Read next: What Slack and Fortnite can teach your business about freemium pricing

Exclusive: Google's jobs search draws antitrust complaints from rivals - Reuters

Posted: 13 Aug 2019 12:41 AM PDT

BRUSSELS/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Google's fast-growing tool for searching job listings has been a boon for employers and job boards starving for candidates, but several rival job-finding services contend anti-competitive behavior has fueled its rise and cost them users and profits.

In a letter to be sent to European Union competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager on Tuesday and seen by Reuters, 23 job search websites in Europe called on her to temporarily order Google to stop playing unfairly while she investigates.

Similar to worldwide leader Indeed and other search services familiar to job seekers, Google's tool links to postings aggregated from many employers. It lets candidates filter, save and get alerts about openings, though they must go elsewhere to apply.

Alphabet Inc's Google places a large widget for the 2-year-old tool at the top of results for searches such as "call center jobs" in most of the world.

Some rivals allege that positioning is illegal because Google is using its dominance to attract users to its specialized search offering without the traditional marketing investments they have to make.

Other job technology firms say Google has restored industry innovation and competition.

The tensions expose a new front in the battle between Google and online publishers reliant on search traffic, just as EU and U.S. antitrust regulators heed calls to scrutinize tech giants including Google. Google so far over the last decade has withstood similar accusations from companies in local business and travel search.

Vestager, who has been examining job search on Google, leaves office Oct. 31. But a person familiar with the review told Reuters that Vestager is preparing an "intensive" handover so that her successor does not drop it. Her office declined to comment on the handoff.

Lack of action could spur Tuesday's signatories, which include British site Best Jobs Online to German peers Intermedia and Jobindex, to follow with formal complaints against Google to Vestager, a person familiar with the matter said.

Berlin-based StepStone GmbH, which operates 30 job websites globally, and another German search service already have taken that step, another person said.

The Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice, which are examining online competition in the United States, declined to comment on whether they are probing Google's jobs search.

Industry executives universally expect that Google will sell ads in the jobs tool, as is typical for its services, enabling the world's biggest seller of online ads to claw billions of dollars in revenue from rivals.

Google long has been frustrated by other search engines filling its results, because they both add a step in users' quest for quick information and pose a threat to its ads empire.

Nick Zakrasek, senior product manager for Google search, said that the company welcomed the industry feedback on jobs search. Google said its offering addresses previous antitrust complaints by allowing rival search services to participate and includes a feature in Europe designed to give rivals prominence.

"Any provider - from individual employers to job listing platforms - can utilize this feature in search, and many of them have seen a significant increase in the number of job applications they receive," Zakrasek said in a statement. "By improving the search experience for jobs, we're able to deliver more traffic to sites across the web and support a healthy job search ecosystem."

DIVISIVE TOOL

Google includes jobs only from websites that follow its guidelines, which require postings to be structured such that its computers can easily interpret them. Many leading players have conformed.

For instance, Weston, Massachusetts-based Monster Worldwide Inc has implored customers through training materials to list salary ranges and jobsite addresses on postings in hopes that following Google's guidelines for such items will generate more clicks.

Monster had lost users in recent years because poor website formatting left it with low placement in regular Google results, its Chief Executive Scott Gutz said. The new tool gave Monster a path back to the top.

"There's been a leveling of the playing field," Gutz said.

Google's widget drew 120 million user clicks in June in the United States alone, about double from August 2017, according to research firm Jumpshot, which receives browsing data from antivirus apps.

Holmdel, New Jersey-based iCIMS Inc, which operates job websites for about 4,000 employers, said Google's tool is the third largest referrer of visitors to clients' pages and applicants from it are three times more likely to be hired than those from rival tools, it said.

"What we're already seeing with Google's entrance is better matching candidates to jobs," said Susan Vitale, chief marketing officer for iCIMS.

Frustrated are competitors such as Zippia, a San Mateo, California jobs search startup specializing in career path data. CEO Henry Shao said Google's jobs tool "pushes down" Zippia content in search results, making it more difficult to attract users unless it invests in following Google's guidelines.

Zippia lacks the resources to pursue formal complaints, but would aid investigators that call, Shao said.

Larger detractors include StepStone, a unit of media company and long-time Google critic Axel Springer which eschewed Google's guidelines on most of its jobs websites. Among concerns is that participants are handing over data that could help Google bypass them entirely.

The 23 firms pressing Vestager echoed that worry and said that Google including generic links to competing services high on its European jobs widget was not enough to ensure "equal treatment."

Austin, Texas-based Indeed, which has not formatted its website to participate in Google's tool, declined to comment.

FILE PHOTO: Small toy figures are seen in front of Google logo in this illustration picture, April 8, 2019. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

Indeed's traffic from Google has dipped 5% since 2016, according to Jumpshot. It compensated by boosting advertising and pushing new paid offerings, affecting earnings growth, former employees said.

Owner Recruit Holdings Co Ltd forecasts that sales from its Indeed-dominated segment will grow 35% in the year ending March 31, 2020, compared to 50% the year earlier, while adjusted profit margin will be flat.

Eric Liaw, a general partner invested in workplace tech startups at Silicon Valley's Institutional Venture Partners, said Google has "to be careful about how much air they suck out of the room given the scrutiny they are under."

Reporting by Foo Yun Chee in Brussels and Paresh Dave in San Francisco; Additional reporting by Douglas Busvine in Frankfurt; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

5 best Google search alternatives - Fast Company

Posted: 12 Aug 2019 05:00 AM PDT

You'd be hard-pressed to find the cross section of living people who have searched for something on the web and who haven't ever—never, ever, ever, not even once—used Google. But even if you are among the billions who do, it's nice to know you have alternatives. Maybe you're concerned about your privacy. Maybe you're looking for something pretty specific. Maybe you're just ready to try something new.

advertisement

advertisement

Well, the good news is that there are plenty of search engines to try—some very Google-like, and some going out of their way to act very un-Googley. Here are a few to check out the next time you need something.

[Screenshot: DuckDuckGo]

1. Don't quit cold turkey

Newsflash: Google is dominant. Startpage—which bills itself as the world's most private search engine—knows this and doesn't try to out-Google the almighty Google. Instead, it leverages Google's search results but strips out all the tracking, data mining, and personalized results. Your IP address isn't recorded, none of your personal data is collected, and there's a single cookie served up that stores your preferences (but it expires if you don't come back for 90 days).

For private, truly non-Google search, try the venerable DuckDuckGo—which leverages hundreds of sources, including Bing and its own web crawler—or Searx, which can be customized to toggle search results on and off from more than 20 engines (including Google).

[Screenshot: Ecosia]

2. Do some good

The internet has it all . . . including a search engine that plants trees. Environmentally-minded Ecosia uses servers that run on renewable energy, doesn't track users or sell data to third parties, and uses profits from text link ads and commissions from its online store to plant trees around the world. Ecosia says that it takes about 45 searches to finance a new tree, so the more curious among us may someday be responsible for entire forests. Actual search results are powered by Microsoft's Bing technology, and there's a cool little personal counter that lets you know how many Ecosia searches you've made.

[Screenshot: SearchTeam]

3. Search with friends

A self-described "collaborative search engine," SearchTeam works as its name implies. Someone in your group creates a "SearchSpace" based on a specific topic and then invites others in the group to scour the web for sites and media that further the cause. Saving happens in real time, and there are organization and commenting features that make it easy to keep everyone in the loop. And if SearchTeam's results aren't quite extensive enough, you can add links manually, upload documents, and create custom posts to organize additional knowledge.

[Screenshot: Yummly]

4. Let your tummy be your guide

Hungry? Picky? Yummly has you covered. This food-finding search engine catalogs more than two million recipes and lets you get very specific about what you'd like to eat, peppering you with questions and qualifiers that you can answer or skip in order to narrow down the results. My search for the perfect grilled-cheese sandwich—no veggies, five or fewer ingredients, 15 minutes or less, cheddar cheese, grilled (not pressed), and easy enough for a culinary Luddite to create—started at 7,137 recipes and ended up at a very-manageable 20 to choose from. Now I need to figure out how to work my stove.

advertisement

[Screenshot: Listen Notes]

5. Lots and lots of listenables

Podcasts are everywhere—both figuratively in popularity and literally in that they're scattered around all corners of the web. Confidently billing itself as "the best podcast search engine," Listen Notes does an admirable job at corralling content, boasting more than 50 million episodes to be found across almost three-quarters of a million podcasts. You can create your own listen-later playlists for individual episodes without having to subscribe to entire podcasts, which can then be slung to your player of choice via RSS (kids, look that up—it was the bee's knees back in the day). You can even add contributors so that you and your friends can work on the same lists.

“Over 50% of Google searches result in no clicks, data shows - The Next Web” plus 2 more


Over 50% of Google searches result in no clicks, data shows - The Next Web

Posted: 13 Aug 2019 11:58 PM PDT

Google is hungry for your clicks. But it turns out that more than half of all Google Search queries now result in no clicks.

As of June 2019, 50.3 percent of Google searches received zero clicks. By contrast, searches with organic clicks to non-Google websites now make up only 45 percent of all traffic.

That is according to data from marketing analytics firm Jumpshot based on 40 million browser-based searches on desktop and mobile in the US. The data was crunched by Rand Fishkin, founder of audience intelligence search engine SparkToro.

Credit: Rand Fishkin / SparkToro

Even worse, it seems this trend towards zero-click searches has seen steady growth since 2016. In the meantime, organic reach for third-party websites has continued to shrink.

To be fair, it's not all that surprising that a large number of searches result in no clicks – especially when we factor in that Google has been shifting its attention to summing up results in snippets at the top of Search. While those might be easier to scan for users, they do eat into third-party websites' traffic.

We've reached out to Google for comment, but have yet to hear back. We'll update this post accordingly, if we do.

However, as Fishkin points out, a US congressional panel recently asked Google if it was true that less than 50 percent of searches lead to non-Google websites. It was a simple Yes-No question, but the Big G eschewed giving a direct response. Instead, it took a dig at the authenticity of the data cited – without denying it.

"The author of the report cited in our letter did not make his specific methodology clear, but it's inaccurate to portray featured snippets as simply answering a question and never resulting in a click," the company wrote in a statement. "Many sites strive to have their content highlighted as a snippet, which can drive meaningful traffic."

Interestingly, Fishkin further notes that Google's search dominance has reached a 94-percent market share (the data is based solely on browser-based searches).

Credit: Rand Fishkin / SparkToro

For the record, this isn't an entirely new development. Back in June, Search Engine Land cited earlier research from Fishkin that suggested the number of zero-click searches in the first quarter of 2019 had reached nearly 49 percent of all queries.

Still though, the outlet noted that the Fishkin's methodology wasn't exactly bulletproof.

"The figures are based on over one billion web browser searches on ten million domestic desktop and Android devices in the US," Search Engine Land wrote. "It does not include searches conducted on iOS devices, the Google Search app, voice-only devices or searches that ended in a click to a mobile app."

The finding reignites discussions on Google's anti-competitive conduct, which many have criticized in the past.

Indeed, reports from yesterday suggest that 23 European job search firms are working on filing an antitrust complaint against Google with the European Union. The companies allege the Big G placed its own job search results above those of competitors.

What makes matters even more pressing is that it's hardly the first time the search engine giant has drawn criticism for its anti-competitive practices.

In the past, the company was fined €1.49 ($1.67) billion for killing ad competition, €2.4 ($2.69) billion for unfairly boosting its own shopping service, and €4.34 ($4.87) billion for illegally restricting the use of Android.

Read next: What Slack and Fortnite can teach your business about freemium pricing

Exclusive: Google's jobs search draws antitrust complaints from rivals - Reuters

Posted: 13 Aug 2019 12:41 AM PDT

BRUSSELS/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Google's fast-growing tool for searching job listings has been a boon for employers and job boards starving for candidates, but several rival job-finding services contend anti-competitive behavior has fueled its rise and cost them users and profits.

In a letter to be sent to European Union competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager on Tuesday and seen by Reuters, 23 job search websites in Europe called on her to temporarily order Google to stop playing unfairly while she investigates.

Similar to worldwide leader Indeed and other search services familiar to job seekers, Google's tool links to postings aggregated from many employers. It lets candidates filter, save and get alerts about openings, though they must go elsewhere to apply.

Alphabet Inc's Google places a large widget for the 2-year-old tool at the top of results for searches such as "call center jobs" in most of the world.

Some rivals allege that positioning is illegal because Google is using its dominance to attract users to its specialized search offering without the traditional marketing investments they have to make.

Other job technology firms say Google has restored industry innovation and competition.

The tensions expose a new front in the battle between Google and online publishers reliant on search traffic, just as EU and U.S. antitrust regulators heed calls to scrutinize tech giants including Google. Google so far over the last decade has withstood similar accusations from companies in local business and travel search.

Vestager, who has been examining job search on Google, leaves office Oct. 31. But a person familiar with the review told Reuters that Vestager is preparing an "intensive" handover so that her successor does not drop it. Her office declined to comment on the handoff.

Lack of action could spur Tuesday's signatories, which include British site Best Jobs Online to German peers Intermedia and Jobindex, to follow with formal complaints against Google to Vestager, a person familiar with the matter said.

Berlin-based StepStone GmbH, which operates 30 job websites globally, and another German search service already have taken that step, another person said.

The Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice, which are examining online competition in the United States, declined to comment on whether they are probing Google's jobs search.

Industry executives universally expect that Google will sell ads in the jobs tool, as is typical for its services, enabling the world's biggest seller of online ads to claw billions of dollars in revenue from rivals.

Google long has been frustrated by other search engines filling its results, because they both add a step in users' quest for quick information and pose a threat to its ads empire.

Nick Zakrasek, senior product manager for Google search, said that the company welcomed the industry feedback on jobs search. Google said its offering addresses previous antitrust complaints by allowing rival search services to participate and includes a feature in Europe designed to give rivals prominence.

"Any provider - from individual employers to job listing platforms - can utilize this feature in search, and many of them have seen a significant increase in the number of job applications they receive," Zakrasek said in a statement. "By improving the search experience for jobs, we're able to deliver more traffic to sites across the web and support a healthy job search ecosystem."

DIVISIVE TOOL

Google includes jobs only from websites that follow its guidelines, which require postings to be structured such that its computers can easily interpret them. Many leading players have conformed.

For instance, Weston, Massachusetts-based Monster Worldwide Inc has implored customers through training materials to list salary ranges and jobsite addresses on postings in hopes that following Google's guidelines for such items will generate more clicks.

Monster had lost users in recent years because poor website formatting left it with low placement in regular Google results, its Chief Executive Scott Gutz said. The new tool gave Monster a path back to the top.

"There's been a leveling of the playing field," Gutz said.

Google's widget drew 120 million user clicks in June in the United States alone, about double from August 2017, according to research firm Jumpshot, which receives browsing data from antivirus apps.

Holmdel, New Jersey-based iCIMS Inc, which operates job websites for about 4,000 employers, said Google's tool is the third largest referrer of visitors to clients' pages and applicants from it are three times more likely to be hired than those from rival tools, it said.

"What we're already seeing with Google's entrance is better matching candidates to jobs," said Susan Vitale, chief marketing officer for iCIMS.

Frustrated are competitors such as Zippia, a San Mateo, California jobs search startup specializing in career path data. CEO Henry Shao said Google's jobs tool "pushes down" Zippia content in search results, making it more difficult to attract users unless it invests in following Google's guidelines.

Zippia lacks the resources to pursue formal complaints, but would aid investigators that call, Shao said.

Larger detractors include StepStone, a unit of media company and long-time Google critic Axel Springer which eschewed Google's guidelines on most of its jobs websites. Among concerns is that participants are handing over data that could help Google bypass them entirely.

The 23 firms pressing Vestager echoed that worry and said that Google including generic links to competing services high on its European jobs widget was not enough to ensure "equal treatment."

Austin, Texas-based Indeed, which has not formatted its website to participate in Google's tool, declined to comment.

FILE PHOTO: Small toy figures are seen in front of Google logo in this illustration picture, April 8, 2019. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

Indeed's traffic from Google has dipped 5% since 2016, according to Jumpshot. It compensated by boosting advertising and pushing new paid offerings, affecting earnings growth, former employees said.

Owner Recruit Holdings Co Ltd forecasts that sales from its Indeed-dominated segment will grow 35% in the year ending March 31, 2020, compared to 50% the year earlier, while adjusted profit margin will be flat.

Eric Liaw, a general partner invested in workplace tech startups at Silicon Valley's Institutional Venture Partners, said Google has "to be careful about how much air they suck out of the room given the scrutiny they are under."

Reporting by Foo Yun Chee in Brussels and Paresh Dave in San Francisco; Additional reporting by Douglas Busvine in Frankfurt; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

5 best Google search alternatives - Fast Company

Posted: 12 Aug 2019 05:00 AM PDT

You'd be hard-pressed to find the cross section of living people who have searched for something on the web and who haven't ever—never, ever, ever, not even once—used Google. But even if you are among the billions who do, it's nice to know you have alternatives. Maybe you're concerned about your privacy. Maybe you're looking for something pretty specific. Maybe you're just ready to try something new.

advertisement

advertisement

Well, the good news is that there are plenty of search engines to try—some very Google-like, and some going out of their way to act very un-Googley. Here are a few to check out the next time you need something.

[Screenshot: DuckDuckGo]

1. Don't quit cold turkey

Newsflash: Google is dominant. Startpage—which bills itself as the world's most private search engine—knows this and doesn't try to out-Google the almighty Google. Instead, it leverages Google's search results but strips out all the tracking, data mining, and personalized results. Your IP address isn't recorded, none of your personal data is collected, and there's a single cookie served up that stores your preferences (but it expires if you don't come back for 90 days).

For private, truly non-Google search, try the venerable DuckDuckGo—which leverages hundreds of sources, including Bing and its own web crawler—or Searx, which can be customized to toggle search results on and off from more than 20 engines (including Google).

[Screenshot: Ecosia]

2. Do some good

The internet has it all . . . including a search engine that plants trees. Environmentally-minded Ecosia uses servers that run on renewable energy, doesn't track users or sell data to third parties, and uses profits from text link ads and commissions from its online store to plant trees around the world. Ecosia says that it takes about 45 searches to finance a new tree, so the more curious among us may someday be responsible for entire forests. Actual search results are powered by Microsoft's Bing technology, and there's a cool little personal counter that lets you know how many Ecosia searches you've made.

[Screenshot: SearchTeam]

3. Search with friends

A self-described "collaborative search engine," SearchTeam works as its name implies. Someone in your group creates a "SearchSpace" based on a specific topic and then invites others in the group to scour the web for sites and media that further the cause. Saving happens in real time, and there are organization and commenting features that make it easy to keep everyone in the loop. And if SearchTeam's results aren't quite extensive enough, you can add links manually, upload documents, and create custom posts to organize additional knowledge.

[Screenshot: Yummly]

4. Let your tummy be your guide

Hungry? Picky? Yummly has you covered. This food-finding search engine catalogs more than two million recipes and lets you get very specific about what you'd like to eat, peppering you with questions and qualifiers that you can answer or skip in order to narrow down the results. My search for the perfect grilled-cheese sandwich—no veggies, five or fewer ingredients, 15 minutes or less, cheddar cheese, grilled (not pressed), and easy enough for a culinary Luddite to create—started at 7,137 recipes and ended up at a very-manageable 20 to choose from. Now I need to figure out how to work my stove.

advertisement

[Screenshot: Listen Notes]

5. Lots and lots of listenables

Podcasts are everywhere—both figuratively in popularity and literally in that they're scattered around all corners of the web. Confidently billing itself as "the best podcast search engine," Listen Notes does an admirable job at corralling content, boasting more than 50 million episodes to be found across almost three-quarters of a million podcasts. You can create your own listen-later playlists for individual episodes without having to subscribe to entire podcasts, which can then be slung to your player of choice via RSS (kids, look that up—it was the bee's knees back in the day). You can even add contributors so that you and your friends can work on the same lists.

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