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Unsolicited Opinions

Red Mill Burgers

Oct 31, 2020

Red Mill Burgers in Seattle has some great burgers. They make them quickly and they’re a good size. But I swear to God, Google doesn’t give me the correct damn search results when I go to Google them. I mean Jesus FUcking christ i just want to order their delicious burgers online.

What I initially wrote when I started this blog post. Note the aggitated tone the author takes.

Scenario: I want Red Mill

I google red mill burgers so that I can order online. What do I get? Behold:

Ok, not bad. I have a few things to say about the results. But before we go any further, a disclaimer: I work at Google, though not on Search.

Most of my issue with the results can be summed up by the first suggested search at the bottom:

Their website is not a result of the query red mill burgers! You shouldn’t have to put “website” in your google query, we’re on the internet here folks. There’s yelp, facebook, toasttab, a wikipedia article ffs, but not their website.

Now, the observant among you will notice that their website actually is here: where the map results are.

But I don’t trust these. Why? There’s a difference between a link that says “Red Mill Burgers” versus a button that says “Website.” And there’s no visible URL unlike the other results. It’s like I have no idea where it will take me; for all I know it will direct me to one of the top links above, of which, again, none are the restaurant’s site. This is more pronounced on mobile where you can’t hover above a link to see where it will take you.

Other search engines

Bing and DuckDuckGo have the same problem, though Bing has more “Website” buttons, so that’s nice, I guess?

This is what Bing results look like

Question: Whose fault is this?

Actually we have to answer another question first.

Question: Is what I’m describing even an issue?

Is what Google returned actually the information people are looking for? Am I the odd one out? Should I want to go to yelp or facebook or places.singleplatform.com, whatever that is? No. This is an issue to me. So back to the other question.

Question: Whose fault is this?

Couple possibilities:

Red Mill could be doing more SEO. I think this is stupid, most businesses shouldn’t have to cater to search engines or indexers, unless the query was burgers or restaurants. I searched for red mill burgers though.

I understand that this is a naïve position. But it leads to our current problem, because obviously the other results on this page are doing SEO to the detriment of the actual business in question and to those looking for it.

Google should know what the website is and return it.

These would be the Yelps and Facebooks and TripAdvisors of the world. They become less and less interesting to me over time, because they’re all the same - some questionable reviews, some pictures, contact information, all of which are at varying degrees of outdated-ness. And what do I end up looking for on these pages anyway? Their website.

Isn’t Toast what they use for online ordering? Isn’t that the first result?

Yeah that first result is for Phinney Ridge. I go to Interbay.


In true software engineering fashion, writing this post has taken more time than I will ever spend trying to get to red mill’s website, and way more time than it would take to bookmark it.