Yes, this is true. The first page results of a google searches, more than half is covered by Google Products.
A recent study shows, nearly half of the first page search results links to different google products and services.
This study clearly shows, google is prioritizing their own products over others. And pushing them on top of the searches compare to their competitors.
If you look at first 15% of the search results, you’ll notice over 60% of the results are occupied by Google’s own products. Which is technically the entire screen of your iPhone before scrolling your search page results. Means that, you won’t see anything else but links to google’s different services unless you scroll down for more options.
In facts, 20% of the time when you search with something on google, external sources will not be shown in the first screen of your search results. You’ll be required to scroll down your screen to get to other external sources. Service like Google My Business Listing is definitely helps audience to find out the relevant service in your local area, but website like yelp.com is an external source but cannot be seen in first screen of your search results.
Another example here, if you search with keywords like “buy shoes” or “buy shoes online”; the screenshot shows the search results page starts with Google product ads, followed by local listing both are google owned products. And no organic or external links can be seen here yet. You’re required to scroll down for more sources.
Does Google’s Priority Has Changed?
In a statement, Google spokesperson Lara Levin says,
Providing feedback links, helping people reformulate queries or explore topics, and presenting quick facts is not designed to preference Google. These features are fundamentally in the interest of users, which we validate through a rigorous testing process,” she said. “Sometimes, the most helpful information will be a link to another website—other times, it will be a map, a restaurant listing, a video or an image.The Markup
Google has changed a lot in their last 20 years. Once Google’s co-founder Larry Page said, “We want to get you out of Google and to the right place as fast as possible”
The story has changed. Now it’s more like the right place to find the best information is often Google, not any external sources. They keep focusing their own products in front of the users.
According to a recent research by The Markup,
We examined more than 15,000 recent popular queries and found that Google devoted 41 percent of the first page of search results on mobile devices to its own properties and what it calls “direct answers,” which are populated with information copied from other sources, sometimes without their knowledge or consent.The Markup
One of the trending search on this study was “myocardial infarction”, the result shows how Google manipulate their search results by prioritizing their own services on top. Service featured was:
- Google Dictionary
- A “people also ask” section, where they’ve highlighted suggested questions/search queries people may also look for.
- A “Knowledge panel”, that shows summaries from the knowledge graph. Which uses google’s own database to craft data from different sources.
- “Related questions” section which leads to other searches in Google.
So where’s the organic/external sources for your query? You need to scroll down. It’s down there.
In a direct response to the questions if Google Changes their priority of showing the relevant sources in front of the users, Google spokesperson Levin says the time has changed,
“As a search engine, Google’s mission is to quickly direct searchers to great information, wherever that information is, as Page went on to explain. At that time, that generally meant to direct people from search results to websites. As search technologies have developed, that’s not always the best way to assist people.“
Google is dominating the search world. Nearly 87% of all search engine searches conduct on Google alone. The rest of the people use bing, yandex and others. Google is simply the margin breaker here.
If you would like to know more about the topic, please visit The Markup’s full case study here.