Is Google getting worse? A German research team recently looked into this question. Her answer after a year of research: Yes. According to researchers, Google has a significant spam problem.

For years, more and more Internet users have been complaining “about the supposedly declining quality of search results” from search engines like Google and Co. This is how the foreword to a study by a German research team begins.

There has always been evidence that the increasing amount of search engine optimized but low-quality content is the reason for this. As part of their analysis, the researchers were now able to confirm this.

Study: Is Google getting worse?

For their study, which will be presented at the European Conference on Information Retrieval in March 2024, the four researchers googled 7,392 search terms once a week for a year. To find out whether Google is really getting worse, they then examined the changes in search results over the entire period.

They also compared Google searches with the search engines Bing and DuckDuckGo. The result: According to the researchers, higher ranking search results are more keyword optimized, contain more affiliate links and show signs of lower text quality.

The study therefore comes to the conclusion that Google, with a market share of over 90 percent, appears to be losing the battle against low-quality SEO spam. It is also not clear what the company wants and can do to stop this trend.


According to the researchers, Google is making algorithm adjustments to downgrade bad content. However, such measures would only have a temporary “positive effect” and are more of an emergency solution. Because spam websites would always find new opportunities and ways to climb back up in the rankings.

The researchers therefore speak of a “constant battle” and a “cat-and-mouse game with SEO spam” that Google can only lose. The search engine also spits out numerous sponsored links and the “More Questions” field for almost every entry, which is based on a novel AI function. The search is therefore often overloaded.

However, these obstacles were not even the subject of the study. Because the researchers only focused on pure search results. Still, they come to a damning conclusion: “A deluge of low-quality content, particularly for product searches, swamps any kind of useful information in search results.”

That's why Google is getting worse and worse

The statement that Google is getting worse feels ancient given the progress of digitalization and the Internet. Since the company has been placing more and more advertisements in its search, the actual search results have been sliding further and further down.

Especially when you're looking for products, it now feels like you're digging through spam in your email inbox. There is hardly any trace of the revolutionary magic of the search engine.

Admittedly, the researchers admit in their study that Google performs better than some other search engines. Nevertheless, they criticize that AI content in particular represents a major problem. The boundaries between spam and meaningful content would continue to shift as a result. Even disinformation is on the rise at Google.

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