I had not considered this viewpoint and appreciate your efforts to point it out. I suppose it's because I hark back to the research days when wading through "hits" was expected. Oh the time it took to do catalogue searches, hunt down the journal, find the article and only then realize it wasn't dealing with the particular slant on the topic that I needed for my paper!
I am not one to pick and choose a group because it's at the top of a hit list. I don't own the type of groups that aim to have large numbers of people join or have a lot of activity for days on end.
In internet searches, I prefer DuckDuckGo but if I do find myself searching in Google, I rarely am content with page one results. I tend to go down to where the results start repeating the same webpage information.
I tend to search GIO groups and contact the owner to evaluate the fit of the group before I request to join. Unless the description makes it very clear from the get-go. It's partly because GIO is not familiar to the new group owners so they aren't yet aware of all they could have done to bring their group to the forefront. I have quite a few gems- small intimate groups with very knowledgeable group owners and members.
I would not expect my search term to be part of the GIO group name. It makes sense that I would more often find my search term in the description or tags. Multiple groups could be described in the same terms or have similar names even though they are very different. One may have a tone that better agrees with me or might be addressing a particular subset of people instead of the general public. Those aren't things I find to be captured easily in a name.
Groups displaying the highest message numbers often are ones I tend bypass. At least initially. I prefer not to spend time wading through numerous daily emails. I do like seeing the list of hashtag descriptions on their homepage that are the most active. That offers to me a better indication of what the activity is about.
I tend not to rely on popular results either. My tastes don't seem to mesh with most of today's online population.
I do think having a way to know if the group requires a membership fee and if it is a Premium tier group would be useful sorting criteria. That would help narrow the results or help me fill them.
What ever happens in the way of searches criteris changing will be interesting to see.
ASG Volunteers Group.