The Top Search Results Are Often Not the Best
Lots of web sites dedicate a great deal of time and money trying to manipulate their sites to get into the number one position on search engines. Companies do this because there is lots of web site traffic money to be made ranking high on search results for popular search terms, because most searchers don’t take the time to look past the first few results
But the top search results aren’t always the best.
Search engines do not make a recommendation of the top search results. The top results may not be trustworthy, the most credible, or even the most relevant results for you.
In fact, the opposite is usually true.
Someone who wants to sell you something works hard to make his site rank higher than it should. And someone who is passionate about a topic and unburdened by journalistic or academic guidelines may write an entertaining article that is linked to often and thus ranks well in search engines. On the other hand, many experts and professors don't even try to make their Web sites rank high in search engines.
Also, be aware of which search results are advertisements and which ones are placing naturally in search results. Advertised results are often (but not always) placed at the very top, bottom, or on the side of search results and are somehow styled differently. Natural search results are those that the search engine has found, ordered, and served back to you.
One word of caution about natural search results: “natural” only means that the web site did not pay the engine to get that placement. Keep in mind, however, that the web site may have spent lots of time and money to manipulate their site so that they could “naturally” get a high placement.
Explore many of the search results you are shown and decide for yourself what is the best resource to use. This might mean clicking through to the third, tenth or even twentieth page of search results (or modifying your search term and trying again). The search engine is only a helper; you are the researcher.