Most consumers don't trust search results

Tyrone Stewart

It's Google's 21st birthday, but consumers still don't trust the search results it surfacesAs Google celebrates its 21st birthday, it’s been revealed that the majority of consumers begin turn to search engines first when looking for products and services, despite most of them not having trust in the results.

The Yext survey of 2,000 UK consumers found that 63 per cent of people start their online search journey with search engines and 87 per cent are often happy with the answers they eventually receive. However, just 18 per cent of them trust the results all of the time and 33 per cent do a little more research to see if the information is actually correct.

Equally, 35 per cent of people find the information they search for is ‘often’ inaccurate, leading nearly half to feel ‘frustrated’ and a quarter to feel ‘dissatisfied’ after receiving this incorrect information.

The research also found that 25 to 34-year-olds regularly use review sites when searching for products and services, while 16 to 24-year-olds favour voice search.

A separate survey of 2,001 consumers learned that traditional search engines are most popular when trying to locate the nearest retailer (52 per cent), restaurant (42 per cent), and looking for a banking or savings account (31 per cent). On the other hand, price comparison sites are favoured when searching for energy suppliers (40 per cent) and car insurance (39 per cent).

Yext also got feedback from 200 marketing decision makers in the UK. 64 per cent of these marketers agree that it’s important for brands to ensure the information about their business is correct and consistent on search engines. However, only 36 per cent ‘strongly agree’ that customers trust the brand information on search engines, while just 54 per cent feel ‘somewhat’ in control of the facts about their product/brand online.

“Search has experienced a revolution since Google launched in the late 1990’s. Our study shows that consumers expect more: more from their search results, more from a brand’s website and more choice when it comes to search methods,” said Jon Buss, managing director at Yext.

“To succeed in this new era, brands must meet their customers at the moment of intent by giving them access to perfect answers wherever they search – such as opening hours, services, locations, menus and events – on search engines, voice or the brand website. This leads to better customer experience, loyalty and reputation to improve conversion.

“Brands need to be answers ready, because if you don’t answer the questions about your brand, someone else will. The results from our study indicate that brands still have some way to go to ensure their customers receive perfect answers everywhere.”