A recent Buzzfeed article entitled “Pinterest Accidentally Built a Better Search Engine Than Google” suggests, well, exactly that. While a Google search will give you quite literal results (noted in the article’s line: “Google you are SO obvious”), Pinterest’s results are much more well-rounded. It gives you various instances in which your query is prevalent, which allows you to wrap your head around the concept as it exists in the world.
While this article does make a good point, I wouldn’t count Google out just yet. Google is constantly working to update their search results to be more rich and knowledgeable. For example, when searching for a well-known celebrity, Google will now present you with a section aside from the results where you can find some popular images, a short bio, and some examples of notable work so you don’t even have to search through the given links.
Arguably, though, Pinterest would still present you with richer results. When searching for the same celebrity, you will still get many images in Pinterest but it will come along with quotes, memes, and merchandise for purchase or DIY for that person.
Deciding that one search engine is better than another might be a bit of stretch because they are so different. You would use each search engine for different reasons. You might use Google if you had never heard of Justin Bieber. It would give you the basic information you need to figure out who he is, what he does, and why everyone can’t stop talking about him. However, if you are already a big fan of his (a Belieber, as they are affectionately named), you’ll want to see everything there is to see on the internet about him, far past his bio.
Although the Pinterest search results seem more appealing and well rounded, Google obviously still has a strong hold on the search community. Google is already migrating towards a more Pinterest-like approach, presenting more than just links for highly searched topics. Google will not stop until they are as human as a search engine can get. (more on this here) The good news for all of us curious searchers is that search is improving and this article is proof that Google isn’t the one and only.
For marketers, this means that everything online now must be optimized for search. Whether you’re ranking on Google isn’t the only thing that matters anymore. People may be pinning your site like crazy without you even having a Pinterest account.
Whether a page is traditionally “searchable” or not is becoming more obsolete. Working to create content that is interesting, dynamic, personal, and optimized that people will search and share among all platforms should be (and should always be) a main concern in your marketing plan.
PS – Wanna do an interesting experiment? Go check out some university websites and see which are using Pinterest. You’d think a lot would, right?
Yale University – They have several social media links on their homepage – here – but no Pinterest icons anywhere else. You’d expect a page called “Yale and the World” to have a bunch of social icons, and this microsite of Yale’s has more, but still no Pinterest.
Harvard University – Nope. No Pinterest icon on their homepage. Yet they’re out there on Pinterest.
We’re going to continue this exploration in a future blog post.