I ran a search today. It was a real search. In other words, this search wasn’t something I was researching as a search professional. This wasn’t a search for one of the high keyword value phrases. This was just me … being an ordinary user … wanting to find some information. And what I discovered was that Google failed me, big time, with absolutely nothing in the first ten results that was of any relevance to my query.
Now at first, I assumed *I* was the problem. After all, we’ve been conditioned to believe that if you don’t give us the answers we are looking for, then we must have asked the wrong question. And just as I was about to figure out how to rephrase my query, I decided to do something else first.
And guess what happened?
I received relevant results!
Now, to be fair, the results weren’t perfect, and they didn’t fully answer my question, but both Yahoo and Bing proved that they at least had a basic understanding of what it was I was looking for! You, Google, on the other hand, seemed utterly clueless.
So what was this question of mine? Well, I was daydreaming about moving to some exotic locale in which one could live quite well for relatively little money. And I was wondering where such locales might be. So I entered in this long-tail query:
Go ahead. Tell me it’s my fault and please educate me on how I could have worded that query in such a way as to help you understand what I want. In the meantime, I’ll take a second and third look at Yahoo and Bing more often. (If you want to compare, here is that same query in Yahoo and Bing.)
Oh, and just so you don’t feel too badly, Google. You should know that before I even tried this query on your search engine, I first tried to get the information from Wolfram|Alpha. I thought that since it involved currency, countries, and numbers, it would have great answers. Unfortunately, like everything else I’ve tried to get out of Wolfram|Alpha (which is a terrible name, btw, but that’s another topic for another day), I got nothing but the same old message, “Wolfram|Alpha isn’t sure what to do with your input.” So, to your credit, Google, at least you guessed … even if your guesses were painfully wrong.
A frustrated search user