Search Engines Do Not Know What Shrink Wrap Is
This post is different from our normal blog posts because we will not be talking about shrink wrap materials, machines, or applications. Instead, we will be talking about searching for the term "shrink wrap" online.
For years we have written blog posts with PSA (Public Service Announcement) intentions explaining the differences of shrink wrap and stretch film. We even have the differences pointed out in the first part of our stretch wrap 101 page.
Evidentially the explanation of differences has fallen on deaf ears with the Google and Bing Algorithms. On a positive note, the majority of phone calls and emails we receive refer to shrink wrap and stretch film properly though. Before we dive into the different pages that are showing up on an online search let's quickly clarify what we are talking about.
Shrink wrap is a generic term used to mistakenly describe a variety of things. The proper way to determine if something is a shrink wrap material is the use of heat. If heat is applied to a material and it shrinks (not melts), it is shrink wrap.
The most common mistake people and evidentially search engines make is calling stretch film or stretch wrap, shrink wrap. The easiest way to describe stretch wrap is the material wrapped around pallets. Stretch wrap is a stretchable plastic that conforms to something when pulled tightly around it.
Maybe the all-knowing Google and Bing Gods know of the misconception between shrink wrap and stretch film. Maybe they are trying to read the minds of searchers knowing they are searching for stretch film instead of shrink wrap.
But what about the thousands of people monthly that are searching for actual shrink wrap? Why is the correct product not showing up through the search results? The image below shows that our competitors are advertising the right products on the paid search results.
Here is a snapshot of the Bing paid search ads. Once again advertisers are paying to display the right product to match the search term.
The natural search results are different on both Bing and Google. For some reason, the natural search results on both search engines bring up stretch wrap products. See the Google natural search results below.
Search Result #1 - To Google's credit they have the right product as the number one search result. The Uline page that comes up is to all of their shrink wrap products and machines. As explained before any material that shrinks when heat is applied to it.
Search Result #2 - This is where Google starts losing it. The second result is for a Wal-Mart page that has Duck brand stretch wrap as the top result and other actual shrink wrap products further down on the page. Not a terrible search result, but not the most accurate.
Search Result #3 - An Office Depot page of all stretch wrap products. Out of the 24 products shown on the page only 1 product is an actual shrink wrap product. A terrible search result for the term.
Search Results #4 - #7 - As displayed in the image, the Dr. Shrink page is the #4 search result which is an accurate result for the search term. The remaining search results that come up are split between pages that actually offer shrink wrap products and pages that offer stretch film. Our heat shrink wrap page lists many different shrink wrap products as well as a wealth of information and we are at the bottom of the page. Of course, we are biased to our page showing higher, but it is a much more accurate search result than most of the pages found on the search.
As bad as the Google search results are they are still much better than the Bing natural searches. Just a small example of why Googling something is a popular phrase and Binging something is not. See the image below for the Bing search results.
Search Result #1 - A Wikihow page explaining how to shrink wrap something. A great search result! It is the rest of the results on the page that fall off.
Search Result #2 - The Wal-Mart page linked to above that even says stretch film in the description.
Search Result #3 - An amazon page that is a search for shrink wrapping listing primarily stretch film products.
Search Result #4 - A staples page that only has stretch wrap products listed on it and each product has the name stretch wrap or stretch film on it.
Search Results #5 - #10 - After the fourth search result, Bing lists local results which are not terrible if they are accurate. After that, the remaining results have a couple of accurate shrink wrap products and the majority displayed after that are stretch wrap products.
So what does this post accomplish? It proves we have failed at saving the world from the improper use of the term shrink wrap. It shows that even though we can educate some, we have millions more to go. It also proves that Google and for sure Bing are not all-knowing like some like to think.
Our knowledgeable staff does know the difference between shrink wrap and stretch film and would be happy to assist with questions about either. Call us at 1-800-441-5090 or shop online and learn about each product.