Google celebrated its 21st anniversary last Friday and it came as timely new research into the expectations of UK consumers when searching for brand information online revealed that just 18% trust the results every time.

And even though the great majority (87%) of consumers say they’re often happy with the answers they receive when searching online, one-third (33%) still feel the need to validate the results to ensure the information is correct.

Along with the news that almost two-thirds (63%) of UK consumers start their online journey with search engines when looking for products and services, these are some of the headline findings from a survey conducted by Yext, a tech verification firm.

As reported by Mobile Marketing Magazine, more than a third (35%) of the 2,000 survey participants find the information they search for is “often” inaccurate, leading Yext to urge brands to improve their content if they wish to maintain customer engagement and loyalty.

“To succeed in this new era, brands must meet their customers at the moment of intent by giving them access to perfect answers wherever they search – such as opening hours, services, locations, menus and events – on search engines, voice or the brand website,” said Jon Buss, managing director of Yext UK and Northern Europe.

“This leads to better customer experience, loyalty and reputation to improve conversion,” he added. “Brands need to be answers ready, because if you don’t answer the questions about your brand, someone else will.”

The study also revealed generational differences when it comes to search options.

For example, a fifth of millennials aged 25 to 34 regularly use review sites when searching for products and services, while Gen Z 16- to 24-year-olds prefer voice, such as Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri.

Meanwhile, a separate survey of 200 UK marketers found that almost two-thirds (64%) agree that it is important for brands to make sure the information about their business is consistent within search engine results.

But despite being aware the customer journey begins on search engines, only 36% of marketers “strongly agree” that customers trust the brand information they receive, while only half (54%) feel “somewhat” in control of the facts about their product or brand online.

“Search has experienced a revolution since Google launched in the last 1990’s,” Buss continued. “Our study shows that consumers expect more: more from their search results, more from a brand’s website and more choice when it comes to search methods.”

Sourced from Yext, Mobile Marketing Magazine; additional content by WARC staff