Endless Fun With Google

As you may have noticed, I am immensely entertained by the Google queries I find in my website’s referrer logs.  Barring the technical stuff, the things people are searching for are rarely found on my site, but sometimes they are.  I recently discovered that I am #5 for mcconnells mill photos and #13 #2 for just mcconnells mill, because of these photos.  Given that McConnells Mill is a really nice and big state park, that’s (apparently) pretty well-known around Pittsburgh, it’s kind of amazing that I’m #13 #2 overall for just the name itself.

I’m #2 for knee deep in nietzsche’s lies which is pretty cool.

Then I’m #8 for why does my screen blink whenever I click on something.  Come on people, it’s Google, not a magic 8-ball.  Generally speaking, treating Google like a librarian is not a good way to find what you’re looking for.  It’s not a person.  You need to put a few seconds of thought into your search efforts.

You have to remember that Google is just taking the words you enter and finding webpages that contain those words.  It’s not looking for "answers" to your input.  The state of search at this point in time just isn’t that intelligent, so your goal is to think of what terms would appear on a page that discusses your problem.  And the real secret to searching effectively is using phrases instead of individual words whenever possible.  The other day when someone found my site by searching for nonsense poems about moldy bread, they didn’t find what they were looking for.  Based on his query we can assume he wasn’t interested in nonsense poems about just any bread; it had to be moldy bread.  But that isn’t what he asked Google to find; he asked Google for all pages containing all of those words, even if "moldy" and "bread" appeared in completely different places on the page, as they do on mine.  What he should have done is put quotes around the phrase "moldy bread" in his search, because that tells Google that the pages must contain that exact phrase, not just the two separate terms independent of each other.

Of course, Google is programmed to try to figure out what you might have meant, in a crude sort of way, and will sometimes assume that if you have two words in a row, you might have wanted them to be a phrase, even though you failed to use quotes.  So you’ll probably see that the first results do indeed have either "nonsense poems" or "moldy bread" as phrases.  But again, search just isn’t that smart yet, so my site -- which contains neither of the phrases "nonsense poems" or "moldy bread" -- was still #10.  (Well, now I’m #2, but only because I now have a post containing that exact sequence of words.)

But back to the fun stuff: I’m #1 for when is googlebot coming.  (And he is, you know.)  (Coming.)  (For you.)  (Soon.)

Posted by Anthony on 2 replies


01. Jan 19, 2005 at 09:33am by Kev:

"when is googlebot coming" only comes up first on Google UK’s site. It ranks 14th on the regular google.com: http://www.google.com/search?q=when+is+googlebot+coming&hl=en&lr=&c2coff=1&start=10&sa=N

02. Jan 19, 2005 at 01:42pm by Anthony:

Yeah, I know it was google.co.uk.  It’s often google.ca too.  I wasn’t really differentiating.

Reply to this message here:

Your name
Website (optional)

HomeCreate PostArchivesLoginCMS by Encodable ]