Search Engine Result Relevancy and My Question About Women's Belts

How many belts does THIS woman own? Now the world may never know...

How many belts does THIS woman own? Now the world may never know...

Because of my interest in fashion, I wanted to find out how many belts the average woman owns. I thought I would do a quick Google search and have my answer in the form of an article or study in just a few minutes. I thought wrong.

Instead of typing and clicking through a short search, I spent several minutes crafting different queries for different search engines. I repeated my search over and over again on different search engines, but no matter how I phrased my query, I received results that were not only useless, but offensive. They were ludicrous enough to warrant screenshots just to prove that they happened. Here are two of the worst examples:

google search results

Google seemed determined to give me search results that involved shoes instead of belts.  Also, what's up with the articles on poor people, bras, and infertility?

Bing search results

What the... I don't even... there are no words for this. I might never use Bing again. Never. Again.

I haven't always had such bad luck searching for things on Google and Bing. I used to feel like I was pretty good at finding whatever I was looking for. But lately, messed up search results like these happen to me with greater frequency. I frequently give up in the middle of searching for something without ever finding an answer. On the plus side, life is more mysterious and awe-inspiring. On the minus side, I still don't know how many belts are owned by the average American woman.

I'd cite examples of other people who say they've experienced problems with search result relevancy, but I tried using Google and Bing to find them and didn't discover satisfactory results. This is the kind of irony that Alanis Morissette could get behind. 

photo credit: Zach Klein via photopin cc