Google Web Search Articles Archive


Jump to articles from:
Jan To Mid-Sept. 2004

Jan-Mid-Sept. 2004

Search Engine Size Wars & Google’s Supplemental Results
The Search Engine Update, Sept. 3, 2004

Who has the biggest index? The search engine size wars have erupted again to dispute this — and the new Google supplemental index is complicating matters.

Google www.3 and www.2 redirected?, Sept. 2, 2004

Google Adds Date Back To Cache
Search Engine Watch Forums, July 29, 2004

Hurray! Google finally has restored showing a date as part of its page cache feature, making it easy to know exactly when a page was last spidered. Let’s hope the other major search engines follow to make it easy to measure freshness with similar date reporting.

Google Banned On…Google?
Search Engine Watch Forums, July 29, 2004

Google loses all of its own pages on its own web site for about a day.

Alt Attributes Appearing as Anchor Text in Text-only Cache
Search Engine Watch Forums, June 29, 2004

Explains how the Google Cache feature works and how a new “text-only” version of the cache has been quietly introduced.

Checksum Available for Free
Search Engine Roundtable, June 27, 2004

Know all those cool tools popping up recently that show Google PageRank scores in situations outside the Google Toolbar. They’ve all done this apparently by figuring out the checksum code Google uses to curb this type of use. Recently, someone tried to sell the code to do this on eBay. But others are offering it up for free.

Cloaking By NPR OK At Google
SearchDay, May 28, 2004

A technique used by National Public Radio to get its audio content indexed by Google seems acceptable to the search engine despite apparently violating its own guidelines about cloaking.

Get PageRank ‘Before’ the site is even online!, May 25, 2004

I wouldn’t recommend pointing links at a domain you haven’t yet brought online in an effort to get ahead in search engine indexing. Nevertheless, others might — and this is an interesting story on how Google and other search engines may be tricked into thinking pages that don’t exist are actually about a particular topic.

Google Confirms Automated Page Removal Bug
SearchDay, May 14, 2004

Microsoft, Adobe and some other web sites had pages removed from Google without their consent, due to a bug with Google’s page removal tool. And WhenU gets pulled for cloaking.

Google Launches Official Google Blog, Not Blog Search
SearchDay, May 11, 2004

Google has launched its own official blog, promising much insight about the company though not yet delivering much. The company also says it has no news about long-discussed plans to offer blog or web feed searching at Google.

Google In Controversy Over Top-Ranking For Anti-Jewish Site
SearchDay, April 25, 2004

Google has added a disclaimer to the search results that come up in a response for a search on jew, to counter complaints about an anti-Jewish site that until recently ranked number one.

GoogleGuy Says Becomes GoogleGuy Paraphrased
The Search Engine Update, April 23, 2004

One of Google’s most famous employees — GoogleGuy — asks the GoogleGuy Says web site to stop quoting him. Quotes will continue, but in shorter form.

Another Google Blackballing?, Feb. 26, 2004

Jill Whalen tries to help a reader understand why they aren’t listed in Google. Just one of many examples that I myself also deal with, along with many others who share knowledge on various search engine forums. Pity Google still refuses to provide any type of webmaster support service where someone could get a guaranteed answers to these type of questions.

Learning About Search Engines From Google Engineers
Search Engine Watch, Jan. 26, 2004

Want to learn how Google works? A new archive of publications by Google employees offers deep insights into many aspects of the search engine’s operation.

Google Site: Search Now Works by Itself
ResearchBuzz, Jan. 23, 2004

Finally, you can perform a site: search on Google without having to add any additional words. Finally! Now if Google would provide accurate match counts and stop deliberately suppressing some of the links it knows about when a link: search is performed.

Google Releases Orkut Social Networking Service
Search Engine Watch, Jan. 22, 2004

Google has quietly launched a social networking service called orkut, named after Orkut Buyukkokten, a Google employee who developed the project during personal time allowed to him by Google.

Google’s (and Inktomi’s) Miserable Failure, January 6, 2004

A search for miserable failure on Google bring up the official George W. Bush biography from the US White House web site. Dismissed by Google as not a problem, it really points out a case where the real miserable failure is Google itself.

Articles From 2003

An Exclusive Google Interview
WebProWorld, Dec. 11, 2003

WebProWorld catches Google’s director of consumer web products running for a cab but manages to get in a few questions about ranking well at Google. Controversial is the advice that comes back: “If you dropped in rankings, go back and look at who you linked to and who’s linking to you. If any of these people are using spam techniques, they’re the reason your site no longer appears on Google.” Does this mean you might now be harmed by those linking to you — something that’s outside your control? No, Google tells me. “Google’s position has always been that links to a site wouldn’t hurt you; you can’t help who links to you. That position hasn’t changed,” I’m assured by a Google contact. Instead, what the original quote was referencing seems to be the idea that links from sites that are spamming Google may no longer be helping you as much as they have in the past. That’s much different than the idea that a porn or other “bad” site might link to you and cause you to drop in ranking. WebProWorld asked me for thoughts on the original Google comment before I’d had a chance to contact Google. If you want to explore those comments further, see here. Note that I do say it’s possible that Google might use who is linking to you as a reason to penalize in some unusual circumstances. What I was referring to is a situation where perhaps someone sets up 50 or 100 web sites with no purpose to exist other than to be search engine fodder. In that case, I could see Google and other search engines as perhaps spotting the unusual linking and taking action — and this would be something much more in your control.

Punctuation at Google and Minor Site Updates
Search Engine Showdown, Oct. 1, 2003

Google doesn’t ignore the ampersand or underscore in your searches, as it might with other types of punctuation.

Search Engine Size Wars & Google’s Supplemental Results
Search Engine Watch, Sept. 3, 2003

Who has the biggest index? The search engine size wars have erupted again to dispute this — and the new Google supplemental index is complicating matters.

Insider tips for your Google ranking
Promotion Data, July 23, 2003

Nice summary of tips that have been posted by GoogleGuy (who is indeed a real Google employee) at about improving listings with Google.

Google and Googlebot Information, June 18, 2003

A new FAQ for those who want to know if Googlebot’s been to their sites.

Some Q&A answers from GoogleGuy, June 12, 2003

Google’s anonymous but official representative at WebmasterWorld provides answers on a variety of questions posted by members.

Google vs. Altavista
WebmasterWorld, May 24, 2003

GoogleGuy, the Google employee who comments on Google questions at WebmasterWorld, dives in to this thread to offer advice on optimizing pages for….AltaVista! And the tip? Since AltaVista refreshes those pages in its index that are clicked on more quickly than those without clicks, try searching for your pages at AltaVista and then click on them. Done in moderation, I doubt AltaVista would see this as spam. Done to an extreme, perhaps so.

Florida Google Dance Resources
Search Engine Watch, Dec. 7, 2003

This page summarizes articles from Search Engine Watch and resources from elsewhere that pertain to major changes to Google’s search algorithm that happened in November and December 2003. “Florida” is the nickname that’s been given to this particular wave of changes known as the Google Dance.

What Happened To My Site On Google?
Search Engine Watch, Dec. 7, 2003

The outcry from webmasters about Google’s recent ranking algorithm change has been unprecedented. In this article, Search Engine Watch editor Danny Sullivan takes a Q&A-style approach to examine many of the issues and questions that have arisen from the change.

Google Dance Case Studies
Search Engine Watch, Dec. 7, 2003

Real life stories of how sites were impacted by the recent Google ranking changes, with an analysis of factors that may be in play.

Speculation On Google Changes
Search Engine Watch, Dec. 7, 2003

So what’s Google done that’s caused so many sites to drop? The company may be making use of Teoma-like local ranking to filter out irrelevant links that can throw its link analysis system off. Stemming is also a factor, and other techniques may be involved.

What Happened To My Searches On Google?
Search Engine Watch, Dec. 7, 2003

Many webmasters have found that recent changes at Google have hurt them. But does all the hue and cry over Google’s recent algorithm change have any impact on searchers? There are some developments worth noting, and this article takes a Q&A approach to examine them.

Google Dance Syndrome Strikes Again
Search Engine Watch, Dec. 1, 2003

There’s been a new outbreak of Google Dance Syndrome, causing some web sites last month to lose top positions for some search terms. However, unlike previous outbreaks, a cure exists that makes it easy to compare results from old to new Google. These comparisons have some marketers convinced that recent changes at Google are designed to boost ad sales, a charge Google flatly denies.

Retailers Rise in Google Rankings as Rivals Cry Foul
New York Times, Nov. 20. 2003

A look at complaints from those selling gift baskets that spam is crowding them out of getting free listings on Google.

Google Kills eBay Affiliate Spam Quickly, Others Survive
The Search Engine Update, Nov. 5, 2003

AuctionBytes has had a series of stories looking into how an eBay affiliate was driving traffic to eBay from Google through cloaked content. The tactic is nothing new when it comes to search engine optimization. However, it is notable how quickly Google responded to the public outcry over this, while similar situations that are known or reported continue.

Google Spam Filtering Gone Bad
Seth Finkelstein, October 2003

GoogleWhack players discovered some queries that should have yielded results were coming up with nothing. Seth Finkelstein investigated and found that it seemed to be an error where Google’s spam filter kicked in, and an apparent bug stopped all but the spam listing to be suppressed through. The bug appears to have now been corrected.

Coping With GDS, The Google Dance Syndrome
Search Engine Watch, June 3, 2003

On a roughly monthly basis, Google updates its index of web pages. This means that pages which no longer exist may be dropped, while new pages that have been found may be added. The index update is also a time when Google may introduce new tweaks and changes to how its ranking algorithm works. For the average searcher, this changeover period goes largely unnoticed. Google generally acts the same way it always does, despite the fact that under the hood, its old catalog of web pages is tossed out and replaced with newer information. In contrast, some search engine optimizers watch each index refresh intimately, trying to determine if it heralds a potential rise or fall their fortunes. For them, the changeover period that’s come to be known as the “Google Dance” may reveal what seems like dramatic changes in Google.

Articles From 2002

Revisiting Meta Tags
Search Engine Watch, Dec. 5, 2002

In October, I wrote an obituary for the meta keywords tag. Given that Inktomi was the last major crawler to still support the meta keywords tag, I didn’t think it was worth the time or bother for many webmasters to use. It’s now time for a follow-up on that article, because there was plenty of reaction and feedback to it.

Google Offers SEO Selection Guidelines
Search Engine Watch, Dec. 5, 2002

At the end of last month, Google rolled out a new page offering advice to those seeking a search engine optimization firm. Since being unveiled, there’s been both support and criticism of the tips and recommendations that Google has posted in various SEO forums.

Google Sued Over PageRank Decrease
Search Engine Watch, Nov. 4, 2002

Google finds itself now being sued by a site owner who saw a decrease in the PageRank score reported to those who use the Google Toolbar.

Google Filtering Of French & German Web Sites Revealed
Search Engine Watch, Nov. 4, 2002

Last month, a Harvard Law School study brought to light that fact Google does not include certain web sites in the French and German versions of its search engines, in particular neo-Nazi or white supremacy sites that have content that might be deemed illegal to publish in France and Germany.

The Great Google Algorithm Shift
Search Engine Watch, Oct. 14, 2002

Google rolled out its latest index at the very end of last month, and changes to its search algorithm have caused a huge outcry on some of the search engine forums.

Google: Can The Marcia Brady Of Search Stay Sweet?
Search Engine Watch, Sept. 3, 2002

Does search dominance by Google mean that the company is destined to be hated, in the way that Microsoft endures a poor reputation due to its dominance of operating systems, office software and browsers? Such a fate is not preordained, especially given that Google faces plenty of competition.

Coping With Listing Problems At Google
Search Engine Watch, July 15, 2002

Site owners fret about problems being listed at Google, and the lack of a guaranteed channel to address their concerns could lead to a PR problem similar to that which Yahoo once endured. A look at some common problems, remedies and what might come from Google for site owners.

Google Adds More “Fresh” Pages, Changes Robots.txt & 403 Errors, Gains iWon
Search Engine Watch, Aug. 5, 2002

Over the past month, Google has stepped up the number of pages that it is spidering on a daily basis in an effort to increase the freshness of its database. The search engine has also changed the way it reacts if given a 403 “forbidden” error message when asking for a robots.txt file and has picked up iWon as a new customer for its search results.

No, Google Hasn’t Sold Out
SearchDay, Mar. 12, 2002

Furor has focused mostly on Google’s new AdWords Select program, which allows advertisers to purchase paid placement links on search result pages. Google also stirred up controversy among the webmaster community when it started crawling and indexing secure “https” documents. These are documents that are transmitted from servers to browsers using the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocol.

Link Issues And Google,
The Search Engine Update, Feb. 4, 2002

Examines why the link: command might not work for your site, if you’ve spammed; how the Google Toolbar may only estimate PageRank and revisits the importance of inbound, outbound and internal linkage.

Google Gets Bigger, Fresher, Offers Better News
Search Engine Watch, Jan. 7, 2002

In December, Google became the first crawler-based search engine to break the 1.5 billion web page mark. In addition, the service rolled out changes designed to improve the freshness of its results and the ability for users to find news.

Articles From 2001

Google Goes for Stop Words
Search Engine Watch, Dec. 3, 2001

Google now automatically includes stop words in quoted phrases.

Going Beyond HTML Raises Security Concerns With Google
Search Engine Watch, Dec. 3, 2001

Now that Google is indexing a wide range of document types beyond HTML and plain text formats, potential security concerns are cropping up, both for searchers and webmasters.

New At Google: More File Types, Thumbnail Images For Some, & Webmaster Help
Search Engine Watch, Nov. 5, 2001

Not content with being the only major search engine to list PDF files, Google now lists Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents from across the web, as well as Rich Text Format and PostScript files.

Google Unveils More of the Invisible Web
SearchDay, Oct. 31, 2001

Google has quietly extended the scope of its web index, for the first time including a number of file formats that are all but ignored by other search engines. These file formats make up a small but important part of the Invisible web, and Google’s effort to make them searchable is a noteworthy advance in search engine technology.

Google Reaching Out To Webmasters
Search Engine Watch, Oct. 16, 2001

As Google’s popularity has swelled, so has the interest in getting listed in the service from webmasters. To help with this interest, Google has been moving forward on a number of fronts.

Google Adds Spam Reporting Features
The Search Engine Update, Nov. 20, 2001

Google has become the latest search engine to offer a dedicated spam reporting feature, having announced the new service at last week’s Search Engine Strategies conference in Dallas.

The Position Checking Wars
The Search Engine Update, April 19, 2001

The vast majority of people are unaffected by Google’s ban on position checkers. If you run small reports, at infrequent intervals, you are unlikely to concern Google enough to take action. However, it could happen. Any use of an automated search tool that has not been approved by Google is a violation of the company’s terms of use. To date, Google has not taken action to ban the actual web sites of those who position check.

Google Does PDF & Other Changes
Search Engine Watch, Feb. 6, 2001

Google now includes listings of Adobe PDF files from across the web, a first for any major search engine and a feature long overdue for them to offer. PDF, for Portable Document Format, is a popular means for researchers, among many others, to publish information. By including PDF content in its listings, Google makes its service even more useful for those trying to get into the nooks and crannies of the web.

Bush’s Dubious Victory At Google
Search Engine Watch, Feb. 5, 2001

It turns out that for the past three months, if you did a search on Google for a particularly insulting phrase — think “dumb Oedipus” — the top result was to the official George W. Bush campaign store. How on earth did this happen?

Articles From 2000 & Before

Lookin’ For Liv In All The Wrong Places
Search Engine Watch, Nov. 3, 2000

One of the great things about Google is that it has really stood apart from other crawler-based search engines in fending off spam. Its heavy reliance on link analysis, among other factors, has made life difficult for those seeking to manipulate Google’s results. However, a recent story about how a porn site achieved some top rankings has shown that even Google is vulnerable to spam, though the black eye it has received is more than it deserves.

Google Announces Largest Index
Search Engine Watch, July 5, 2000

Another milestone in the search engine size wars was hit when Google went live with a full-text index of 560 million URLs in June, making it the largest search engine on the web. In addition, because of how Google makes use of link data, its reach extends to a further 500 million URLs that it has never actually visited, the company says. That means searches at Google potentially encompass more than 1 billion pages, which is the size the entire web was recently estimated to be at earlier this year.

Google Gets Kid Safe, Suggests Maps
Search Engine Watch, June 2, 2000

Google has added a new feature to filter adult content out of its listings, and the search engine now also provides links to online maps in response to relevant queries.

Google Speaks Languages, WAP, Adds Other Features
Search Engine Watch, May 3, 2000

Google has unveiled beta versions of its site for non-English speakers and those accessing the web using wireless devices. The search engine has also added new features to its search results and launched a new “university” search engine.

Numbers, Numbers — But What Do They Mean?
Search Engine Watch, March 3, 2000

One of the latest trends these days is for crawler-based search engines to flaunt both how many pages they have in their index plus the larger number of pages they visited to create that index. AltaVista says its collection of 250 million pages came from an original set of 400 million. FAST says its 400 million page index was developed from a group of 700 million. Excite’s 250 million pages were retained after reviewing 920 million. And Inktomi says its core index of 110 million pages was created after analyzing over 1 billion across the web.

More Evil Than Dr. Evil?
Search Engine Watch, Nov. 1, 1999

So here’s the deal — a post on Memepool back in October noted that if you searched for “more evil than satan himself” on Google, the Microsoft home page was listed first. Oooooooooooh! Tasty Bits from the Technology Front then picked it up, and I seem to recall it getting a mention in some other places. Certainly people must have been talking about it, because now TBTF reports that for a short time, that search was more popular than “sex” at Google.

Counting Clicks and Looking at Links
Search Engine Watch, Aug. 4, 1998

Location and frequency have long been key factors used to help search engines rank results. Some new techniques may be about to change that. The idea of leveraging links as a means to improving results is making a comeback. And later this month, one search engine is going to enhance its service through clickthrough tracking.

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