Search Techniques for Reliable Results
Anyone can write a book. Whether a publisher will edit, print and distribute is a matter of expert evaluation. Some terrible titles may even pass through and find their audience, but will certainly not end up in a state library. Online is the same, anyone can write anything – and they do. The barrier to entry, however, is non-existent so we rely on search engines such as Google to sort our results by their usefulness and quality. But search engines don’t always get it right. Why? Because they are still largely based on complex units of many simple metrics and not much on true and intelligent understanding of online material its context and usefulness.
For example a really bad piece of health advice can be published online and cause a lot of attention and links, mainly by people laughing at its content and objecting to its validity. Search engines may interpret this as increase of interest of online users in this URL and give it a higher rating in results. A less experienced search engine user can take this information as the best answer to their problem and potentially make a bad choice.
So how to know when something is true online?
In order to combat the above scenario public must be better educated in search skills and information evaluation. Google, for example, has a fairly elaborate advocacy campaign for search education where they offer a wealth of information on how to get best answer from their search engine and be able to distinguish a good result from the bad one.
Here are some resources to get you started: