As I was doing research for my history project on the first ten presidents of the United States, I couldn’t help to notice how many unrelated results from sites like Yahoo Answers, Wiki Answers, and ChaCha came up before reliable sources. These sites rank incredibly well and if you enter any query into Google in the format of a question, you are bound to see them at the top of the SERPs. When trying to do some research for a history course, I prefer not to rely on Yahoo Answers (and its competition) even though I have gotten some good information from such sites in the past.

Jefferson Google SearchWhenever I entered the query “problems jefferson faced” into Google, the first three results were from Wiki Answers. If you click one of those top three results, you will find that two of the answers are completely unrelated to the question and one of the questions did not even have an answer yet! But Google is still ranking these three questions on Wiki Answers as the most relevant results for “problems jefferson faced” in the world. After the Wiki Answers results came one from Yahoo Answers. Reviewing one of the replies a member put, it said that Thomas Jefferson’s main problems while in office included slavery and what to do with the Native Americans. This is not entirely true as slavery was pretty much accepted in Jefferson’s time and the Native Americans were not much of a factor until President Jackson. The real answer to that question is the large national debt and the purchase of the Louisiana Territory. Even still, Google was ranking this incorrect Yahoo Answer at #4.

Behind the three Wiki Answers and one Yahoo Answers result was finally a website that I can rely on – The official website of the U.S. White House supplied me with all of the information I needed, therefore, making it the most reliable website in this query. However, due to the amount of incoming links to both Wiki and Yahoo Answers, they are ranking above the White House which already has favoritism in Google, a .gov domain name, and the most reliable information… What’s up with that?

I actually posted my irritation on Facebook right after I figured out that Yahoo and Wiki Answers were outranking the White House, and Ileane Smith of Basic Blog Tips kindly replied, pointing me to an article called 50 Search Engines You Probobly Don’t Use Yet. This article was actually quite helpful, but I don’t want to use one of these oddball search engines. I want to use the search engine that I am accustomed to, the one that’s built into my browser, and the one that claims to be the best. If I were against using Google, I would probably head for my college’s online databases, but that is so time consuming and annoying. I want to be able to type a query into Google, click on the first link, and get my answer. If the White House website was the first result, this is how it would’ve happened. But instead, Wiki Answers was hogging up the first three spots and I got nowhere with any of the three links. This is why Google needs to make some changes in their algorithm to knock these stupid answer websites to the second page of results.


21 Responses to Google Needs To Reevaluate Yahoo Answers

  • You would think that they would have placed the white house above wikipedia, but I guess not. I’m not sure if it is all of the incoming links or if those sites are just better optimized for the keywords that you were looking for at the time.

  • These websites are going overboard sometimes. Aside from Google doing a general cleanup, users should just go to more reliable websites, any other site that they think contains factual content than what these sites could offer.

    • Agreed. If people stopped using these sites, they would stop ranking well. The problem is they are convenient. People can find the answer they want without doing hardly any reading.

  • Of course they need to double-check the contents of these supposedly reliable sources of information. Those websites are where most people get what they’d write on their speeches, homeworks, projects, even resumes

    • I honestly hope most people don’t do research for speeches or resumes on Yahoo Answers. Aside from that, I do agree that these companies need to do a better job with moderating answers.

  • Why not seek help from more reliable websites like those owned by the government? It’s easier and you’ll be more confident that whatever information you seek does not go to waste.

  • Their content can sometimes be enticing but I’m not so sure anymore it anything about them is true. I share with your sympathy

  • They really need to do general cleanup on these sites, that’s what you mean. Because through the years, I even doubt the things that I read on these sites. It’s frustrating

  • I never rely on these sites for the simple reason that most of the answers I encounter are inaccurate and ridiculous to some extent. Thanks for raising this concern and I hope that these sites would consider moderating submitted answers very carefully.

    • I don’t think Yahoo Answers or Wiki Answers will ever become moderated due to lack of funds, but Google could at least attempt to recognize that they are not reliable.

  • These answers definitely need to be evaluated given that there are countless individuals out there who are looking for accurate solutions to their pressing concerns. Yahoo answers is definitely unreliable to some extent so we must remember to check out other legitimate sources for answers. Thanks for the informative share!

  • I am not so fond of yahoo answers and also wiki answers to some extent. Long time back, when I used to depend upon them, I always used to get a long list of unrelated and irrelevant answers.

    • I know some people who I used to go to school with who would rely on Yahoo and Wiki answers to do their homework… They barely got anything right. It’s amazing how much the textbooks can help 🙂

  • I’ve never been a fan of Yahoo answers, there’s been items where the answer were so ridiculous it’s hard ti imagine anyone is even moderating them anymore. I have started completely ignoring the results from Yahoo and moving on to the next results. Also call me old but if I’m doing projects in school I still enjoy the old fashioned library haha.

    • I agree. There have been times where I’ve clicked on a Yahoo Answers link and the answer somebody gives is “Do your own homework.” Seriously? This is why Google needs to devalue sites like this.

  • Lots of tweaks are still there in the google search algorithms…. In recent times especially after the Panda and EMD update, I have seen lots of unrelated results. In some cases, I did not get the related results in the entire 1st page…. Hope google fixes this soon …

    • In science class yesterday, somebody said something about Yahoo search and my teacher said “Yahoo? You still get information from there?” I hope Google doesn’t turn into the reliability of Yahoo anytime soon. They are truly the leaders of search, but they need to live up to that name.

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