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SEO snafu? Half of Americans question the credibility of Google’s page-one rankings

by | Nov 4, 2019 | Public Relations

Marketers and communicators have had in drilled into their brains that the ultimate goal of web content is to get on the front page of Google’s search rankings, where the whole world will easily find it and take that prominent search-page placement as a sign of brand trust and authenticity. But perhaps we’ve been too quick to assume that trust level—new research finds that many people actually see it as a sign of suspicion and distrust.

The new survey of 2,000 Americans between the ages of 18 and 65+ from digital marketing agency IronMonk Solutions reveals that a majority of Americans indeed do not trust Google’s first page results, many of whom apparently think it’s a rigged system based on shady deals.

Survey question & findings:

SEO snafu? Half of Americans question the credibility of Google's page-one rankings

“These results are quite fascinating, and seem to show a shift in opinion that Americans have towards companies like Google,” said Amine Rahal, CEO of Iron Monk, in a news release.

According to the findings of the survey, when asked their sentiment towards the website ranking for products and services on Google’s 1st page during a search, 50.6 percent of respondents stated that they felt websites paid Google for the ranking. Interestingly, when demographic results were applied to the survey results targeting females, it rose to 52 percent, and soared to 59.4 percent with 45-to-54-years-olds.

SEO snafu? Half of Americans question the credibility of Google's page-one rankings

The survey results perhaps highlight the increasing displeasure that many Americans have towards monetization on the digital landscape

The next popular response to the survey question, was that the ranking on Google’s first page was legitimate. Of the respondents to the survey, 29.8 percent indicated that they believed Google legitimately chooses the best websites for product and services searches. The percentage increased to 34.1 percent for 18-to-34-year-olds, and conversely decreased with older demographics. Considering Millennials were raised in the Digital Age, it would appear that this age bracket is generally more comfortable with and trusting of the digital environment.

SEO snafu? Half of Americans question the credibility of Google's page-one rankings

The last survey response was that Google’s 1st page ranking was rigged: 19.6 percent of respondents indicated that they believed Google manually selected the websites, which appear on the first page after a search for products or services. Interestingly, when demographic filters were applied to the survey results targeting only males, the percentage rose to 22.7 percent. It skyrocketed to 29.2 percent for males aged 18-to-24.

SEO snafu? Half of Americans question the credibility of Google's page-one rankings

The survey results appear to highlight an increasing distrust that the average American has towards big tech companies, which wasn’t the case a few years ago, largely in part to the numerous scandals that have come to light.

See the full survey results here.

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter

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