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Eyes Wide Open When Searching the Web

Recently I switched from Google to Bing as my search engine of choice. Why? I found Google’s results to continue to decline in quality. However, due to the cost model for both Google and Bing, I’m wary of the content pollution that is part of every search result.

Did you know that Google makes about $1 billion in profit per month? Where does that money come from?

Stephen Abram recently wrote an excellent column in Information Outlook entitled “Understanding Consumer Search Results”, pointing out the minefields that await the uniformed about search results.

Content creation companies (aka content farms), daily create thousands of pieces of content, which may or may not be correct. This content is paid for by advertisers and may be biased. It is spam meant to drive business to their advertisers. Licensed resources, which Information Edge utilizes for its clients, generally return results based on the client’s search needs and goals, not those of an advertiser.

Search engine optimization(SEO) is another tool for influencing search results. You can bet that your favorite websites have been optimized to drive traffic to them. And while SEO can provide information when you want the who, what, where and when answered, it can also lead you to sites with an agenda such as selling you a product or point of view.

While we may rely on search engines to find information we need, we must be informed of the potential biases or underlying search algorithms and utilize critical thinking and searching skills. Most public and academic libraries offer their users free article databases that contain the information one is seeking without a hidden agenda. These databases are not free (the library pays for them, but they are free to their users), so there are no advertising or agenda –driven results. Or, if you’d rather hire a search expert who can return you the strategic knowledge you need, just contact Information Edge.

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