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Survey reveals search engine user trust

Graeme Parton

A survey carried out by international PR firm Edelman has revealed that the trust placed in search engines by everyday users has risen over the last year; surpassing the corresponding figures for social media sites.

The results of the Trust Barometer report, which is carried out every year by Edelman, showed participants felt that, for general news, the information found on search engines is as reliable as that published on traditional media platforms. The results also pointed out that no single source is seen as a particularly trusted outlet, with many users choosing to take their information from a host of different places.

In terms of figures, the report showed that trust put in the media has increased by 5% when compared with 2012’s findings; with 58% saying they trust search engines and traditional media platforms when it comes to sourcing general news. This is compared with 41% of respondents putting the same trust in social media sites. Also, the research found that younger consumers and those in emerging countries put more trust in traditional news agencies than those in developed countries.

This year’s survey took data samples from 26,000 respondents across the world. All of those who took part were chosen based on their earnings, educational background and news interaction patterns. A statement from the firm explained that participants had to be well informed when it came to current affairs. It said:

“…college-educated, [with a] household income in the top quartile for their age in their country; [who] read or watch business/news media at least several times a week; follow public policy issues in the news at least several times a week.”

For marketers, the findings further emphasise the importance of pairing a strong SEO strategy with engaging content. With more users putting their trust in the information they find on sites like Google and Yahoo!, businesses must ensure they provide high quality, original content for their target audiences.

Graeme has experience creating content for online sources and for the radio, and at university he studied Multimedia Journalism.

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