While trying to help a client with some content, I performed a search for “online dating videos.” I performed this search first on Bing and then on Google. The results? Bing had a website promoting an online dating video contest at No. 1; Google had the same site at No. 4. Page 1.
So what’s the problem, you might ask. The contest expired on December 31, 2009.
On one hand, you could argue the result was relevant to my search query. After all, the domain name is onlinedatingvideos.com. You can’t get any more relevant than that, right? Except that the information on the website is outdated, which means it isn’t relevant at all.
Relevancy has typically been defined solely in terms of the nature of content. That is, if you are promoting content related to basketball, then any content related to basketball is considered relevant. But here in the real world, that isn’t the case. Every searcher knows that. How many times have you searched for information only to find that the search engine returned results that weren’t even close to what you were looking for? Or worse, the information was outdated.
As marketers, we have to be conscious of this ourselves. What can we do to ensure that our content ranks well to reach the right searchers?
The dating video website was a site sponsored by popular dating site Date.com. It’s clear that they win with this search result. But searchers do not. Nor do the search engines. After all, if I can’t trust the results, then why would I use that search engine?
I think the search engines need a filter for discarding outdated information. This has been a problem at Google for a long time. It’s not new. I’m tired of seeing outdated information in search results. And I think this is one of the reasons that social media is such a good bet for marketers (and consumers) right now. What do you think?