New research has suggested customer satisfaction with search engines (and portals) is at its lowest for ten years.

The ForeSee Results also showed satisfaction scores for social networking sites ranked even lower than the likes of Google, Yahoo! and Bing.

The ForeSee survey measures sites on a 100 point scale and search engines (and portals) saw a drop from 79 to 76 as a whole this year: Google scored 77, its worst score since the surveys started more than a decade ago. Last year, the Internet giant managed to score 82.

Google’s search engine rivals, Bing and Yahoo! both scored 76, marginally worse than their scores last year of 81 and 78 respectively.

In the study, ForeSee claim: “Advertising is diminishing the customer experience, especially among search engines.”

They do back this up with evidence however, adding: “22% of search engine visitors cited advertisements as what they liked least about the site.”

Perhaps more interesting for search engine marketing professionals was the fact the research showed the number of people ‘loyal’ to Google for their search needs had stayed somewhat consistent, however the proportion of loyal users of other search engines, such as Yahoo! and Bing has actually declined since last year.

In the research, ForeSee claim: “Search engines not named Google experienced an average drop of 30% in primary users (those who identify the site as their primary search engine).

“Google dropped only six per cent. Still, it seems that consumers are shopping around for search more than they have in the past.”

Customer satisfaction was lower for social networking sites, with social media as a whole scoring 68, one point lower than last year.

However, Facebook and Twitter did see a slight improvement in ratings, 62 and 65 this year compared to 61 and 64 respectively last year.

Google+ was the proverbial fan favourite of the social networking roster previously, however a score 71 was a large drop on the 78 it scored last year.

In fact, with such a drop in satisfaction, Pinterest – which gained a fair chunk of positive feedback – has now stolen the throne from Google+ in terms of customer satisfaction. It received a rating of 72 compared to the 69 it scored last year.

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About the author:

Martin Boonham is an online copywriter for ClickThrough Marketing, he has worked there since October 2012. He has a Masters in Print Journalism from Nottingham Trent University, where he also gained his NCTJ qualification at the same time; achieving qualifications in subbing, shorthand and media law.