Google and Site Searches


Could Google actually be that incompetent, I doubt itAs DaveN noted earlier today, when you search for a website address like www.whitehouse.gov you’ll see a new line:

Find web pages from the site whitehouse.gov

Now if you were to click on that search you’d be given a listing of all of the pages from whitehouse.gov. When you do that you see some pretty strange results. Logically I’d expect to see any of the following:

  • The home page listed first
  • The most important page (according to Google) listed first
  • The most recently updated page listed first

This is not the case, the first page is a silly page about the Annual Easter Egg roll on the Whitehouse lawn. The next result is President Bush commitment to environmental stewardship. The third result is a 1998 Office Management and Budget memo. While I’m not really interested in politics, I think I am qualified to say those documents really aren’t deserving of a top 10 rankings for pages on whitehouse.gov.

If we go to Google’s help page we see the following definition of a “site:” search

The word “site” followed by a colon enables you to restrict your search to a specific site. To do this, use the site:sampledomain.com syntax in the Google search box. For example, to find admission information on Stanford’s site, enter: admission site:www.stanford.edu

So while they don’t specifically say they are giving you the results in any prioritized or organized order, since they have set a precedence for that behavior, it’s not an unreasonable assumption.

Next I went and tried it on some of my own websites, and the results were equally absurd. I’m not sure if the results are random or in some bizarre inverse order, but I can say they are pretty much useless. Well almost useless. Could Google actually be that incompetent, I doubt it. You could only be that bad if you were really trying. I propose, that like the “link:” command this is yet another anti-SEO countermeasure. Go ahead try it on your own sites and see if the top pages listed aren’t the pages you think are low in importance.

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