How can the most sophisticated search algorithms in the world make such a simple mistake?

So I’m always amazed at times when Google returns a result that makes very little sense when it comes to relevancy. No, I’m not going to stop using them, I don’t think any of us would, but I am surprised sometimes when they return a result in the top position that really doesn’t deserve to be there. Honestly, there’s a simple heuristic that should be a part of the algorithm that it feels like doesn’t quite get applied in some cases.

Here’s an example I ran into today. I was searching for “best malware protection mac” and Google provided what they called a “Featured Snippet” at the very top, which means Google has selected this page as what they think is the best answer to your question. In this case, here’s the featured snippet:


So you’d think, okay well this must be the most relevant article right? Well you’d be completely wrong because the article they link to is from five years ago…


Given how sophisticated Google’s algorithm is, why would they possibly think that the most relevant result for someone searching for malware protection software would be from last year? It seems like this article should be buried on page 30 given that software like this changes a lot over even a single year.

What do you think is happening here? Is this an edge-case where Google’s algorithms aren’t doing the right thing or are these fancy algorithms not quite as sophisticated as we’d think?

Morgan Linton

Morgan Linton