This post was originally an answer to the Quora question How is Google’s algorithm being consistently outsmarted such that Google search results are in decline?

It’s not actually Google that’s getting worse, it’s the whole internet. So both of the following are true

The underlying reason is that we’re undergoing a shift from thinking that publishing on the internet could be monetized with ads to smaller publishers finding it completely unsustainable.

Borislav Agapiev’s answer points out astutely that the number of distinct publishers on the web isn’t increasing any more.

Now add to this the data point the the majority of Google searches now don’t result in a click to the publisher.

Now, more than 50% of Google searches end without a click to other content, study finds

People worked hard to create content, but Google extracts it onto the search result page and keeps 100% of the revenue. This is what digital ad revenue broken down by company now looks like

The Dominance of Google and Facebook in One Chart

So in the short term, Google becomes better, but what you’re seeing is good, small publishers dropping out of the internet altogether. A search result quality decline of this nature isn’t

The only sites with public content isolated from these effects are either

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