Ex-Googler On Featured Snippets: Google is More Hesitant To Send Out Users Out Into The Web

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Ex-Googler Marissa Mayer in a podcast on the topic of why Google search is so bad discussed that it wasn’t Google that was bad it was the Web. Then she opined that one of the reasons for keeping users on Google is because the web isn’t constantly a good experience.

Ex-Googler Marissa Mayer

Marissa Mayer was staff member # 20 at Google. She played crucial roles in virtually all of Google’s significant products, consisting of Google search, regional, images, and AdWords, to name a few.

She left Google to become president and CEO of Yahoo! for 5 years.

Mayer was not only there at the beginning of Google but played a role in shaping the company, which gives her an unique perspective on the company and its thinking, to some extent.

What is the Factor for Zero-Click SERPs?

Marissa Mayer appeared on a recent Freakonomics podcast that was on the topic of, Is Google Worsening?

In one part of the podcast she firmly insisted that Google search is only a mirror and does not produce the poor quality of the search results page.

She asserted that if the search results are even worse that’s just because the Web is even worse.

The podcast then moves on to discuss featured snippets, what some in the search marketing community call zero-click search engine result.

They’re called zero-click due to the fact that Google reveals the information a user needs on the search engine result page so that the users receive their response without needing to click through to a site.

Google formally states that these search functions are created to be useful.

Marissa Mayer suggested that another motivation to keep individuals from clicking to a site is because the quality of the Internet is so bad.

The podcast host started the conversation with his analysis of what featured bits are:

“One way Google has attempted to combat the total decrease in quality is by supplementing its index of a trillion web pages with some material of its own.

If you ask a simple question about cooking or the age of some politician or star, or perhaps what’s the best podcast, you might see what Mayer calls an ‘inline result,’ or what Google calls a ‘featured snippet.’

It’s a bit of text that answers your concern right there on the search-results page, without any need to click on a link.”

Mayer provided her opinion that Google might be “hesitant” to refer users to sites.

She described:

“I believe that Google is more hesitant to send users out into the web.

And to me, you understand, that points to a natural tension where they’re stating,

‘Wait, we see that the web sometimes isn’t a fantastic experience for our searchers to continue onto. We’re keeping them on our page.’

People might view that and state,

‘Well, they’re keeping them on the page since that helps them make more money, gives them more control.’

However my sense is that recent uptick in the number of inline outcomes is since they are concerned about a few of the low-grade experiences out online.

I think that the problem is really hard.

You may not like the manner in which Google’s resolving it at the moment, but provided how the web is changing and progressing, I’m unsure that the old method, if reapplied, would do as well as you ‘d like it to.”

What Is the Motivation Behind Included Snippets?

The reason Google provides for offering highlighted bits in the search engine result is that they are convenient for users.

Google’s assistance files explain:

“We display featured snippets when our systems determine this format will assist individuals more quickly discover what they’re looking for, both from the description about the page and when they click the link to read the page itself. They’re specifically practical for those on mobile or searching by voice.”

Marissa Mayer’s viewpoint matters since she played a crucial function in forming Google, from Browse to AdWords to Gmail.

Clearly she’s just offering her viewpoint and not mentioning a reality that Google is reluctant to send traffic to sites due to the fact that the quality of the Internet is bad.

However could there be something to her observation that Google is just a mirror which websites today are not excellent?

Think about that in 2022, there were 8 formally acknowledged Google updates.

Of those 8 updates, six of them updates were spam updates, helpful material updates and product evaluation updates.

Most of Google’s updates in 2022 were designed to eliminate poor quality internet content from the search engine result.

That focus on weeding out poor quality sites lines up with Marissa Mayer’s view that the Internet today has plenty of poor quality material.

The history of Google’s algorithm updates in 2022 conforms to Marissa Mayer’s observation that web content is bad which it impacts the quality of search results page.

She said that she gets a sense that Google might be “worried about a few of the low-quality experiences out on the internet,” which’s one of the reasons that it may be “hesitant” to send out traffic to websites.

Could Marissa Mayer be stating out loud what Googlers might not say in public?

Citation

Listen to the Freakonomics podcast here

Is Google Becoming Worse?

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