A little less than a month ago I posted an article describing how the new Google algorithm had filled the results page for a search of my name "Troy Philis" with irrelevant results . Here is a screenshot of what I was talking about:

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The first listing is of my portfolio site. So far, so good. The second, however, is entitiled "Troy Philips Photography." This result is completely irrelevant because the word "Philis" is nowhere on the website. In addition, the page contains pictures of half-naked men in thong bathing suits. Not something I want to be associated with (not that there's anything wrong with that).

Take another search I entered today - for C & T Recycling. In Google, the term C & T Recycling does not appear on page one of the SERP:

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I really wanted to find information on C & T Recycling though, so I decided to try Yahoo. The term shows up near the top of page 1:

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Search Yahoo for my name, and it's all me:

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So why would the biggest search engine serve up bad, irrelevant search results, when they are in the business of serving up good, relevant search results. To answer that question, I'll need to define the two most important variables in ordering search results: 1) Keyword Relevance and 2) Link Authority - or PageRank.

Keyword relevance is what we've been talking about, and is what Google is now lacking in its searches. How closely do the search results displayed match the search terms you typed in to the search box? How many times do those terms appear on different parts of the page? Do links pointing to that page include the search terms?

Link authority is determined by counting the links pointing to a particular page. Huge corporations have websites with many, many pages, all linked together through the navigation. Their websites are generally linked to by many other individuals, associates and companies. A small company's website may have relatively few pages, and even fewer pages from other websites linked to it. Link authority tells the seach engine if your website is a big fish or a little fish. 

It is possible to roughly check link authority, or PageRank, as Google calls it, using the Google Toolbar. In checking the examples of irrelevant search results described above, I found that the intruding irrelevant result always had a higher link authority than the relevant results that it pushed down the results page. 

Conclusion: Google appears to have made a decision to let link authority trump relevance under certain circumstances. If you are like me, and would like to see results related to the search terms you typed in the box, rather than results Google is telling you are more important, than you will switch to Yahoo for your search needs too!

What does this mean to a small business trying to get some free advertising on Google? It's going to b e more difficult - get your website established as early as possible, work consistently on search engine promotion and optimization, and don't count on quick and easy results.

UPDATE: Another factor in the appearance of irrelevant search results could be a result of Google's apparent attempt to push searchers to more "popular" SERPS where more expensive Adwords advertisements are displayed.

Comments  

0 #22 google plus age 2014-03-18 06:33
Wow! After all I got a webpage from where I be able to really take valuable information regarding my study and knowledge.
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0 #21 michaelmouse 2013-05-17 10:26
Once upon a time, long ago, in the digital age, I determined I didn't like google's politics. I don't like to donate to what I don't like so bye bye gaggle. It's not much of a statement but then that's what positions are all about.
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0 #20 Shannon 2013-05-11 19:54
What I hate most about Google is the irrelevant search results. When I'm searching for something rare, such as a specific commercial from 1960 at YouTube, I go to Google, type youtube.com then what I'm searching for like so: youtube.com "brand" "item" "year" "commercial" individually IN QUOTES, sometimes even using the minus button to narrow my results and instead of coming back with "No results", Google gives me search results from websites that aren't even YouTube and aren't even videos! It's ridiculous. Just say "No results". I'm changing my homepage to Bing so that I'll use it every time I search... unless it also sucks, that is.
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0 #19 bob 2012-12-21 13:52
:angry-red:
Like others, I am finding Google searching t become worse by the day

The push to herb people to what give Google it\'s highest advertising earnings is going to create opportunities for others in the market to come up with alternatives

Google, wake up, you became prominent because you assisted people in finding what they wanted, instead of trying to herb them to what you think they want

I\'m trying to find full length old movies, ones out of copyright - all I am getting is tons of Indian links to hindi movies - totally useless. Google also refuses to show me links with results longer than 5 mins despite me stating 20+

Yep Google, just like the worlds financial ponsi scheme that\'s built upon rehypothication over and over again with sfa real assets at the core, go Google is becoming
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+2 #18 Jon Randall 2012-10-21 11:51
I am now actively trying out alternatives to Google now, because its alleged search \"results\" aren\'t worthy of the Mad Hatter. Just one example is that searching for the term firewood in my area gives high-level returns for people with the last name Wood. You can\'t make this stuff up. It used to be indispensable, and now is utterly disposable.

Brilliant \"programming,\ " Google.
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0 #17 Internet Happens 2012-08-24 17:29
I have been \"Googling\" for a little while to test the magnitude of irrelevant search results and I find that in 2012 Google has officially ruined their search engine... The majority of search results are irrelevant to my keywords. It is EXTREMELY frustrating ! If you have time you may want to do the same and post a follow up to this article. Peace!
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0 #16 jon 2012-06-24 16:19
:angry-red:
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+2 #15 Dewix 2010-08-11 06:36
What has happened to Google?

Today it has the look, feel and totally irrelevant results that \"Bling\" has.

Google results now are near to useless & almost the same as Bling.

Has Google finally poached one Microsoft staff member too many?

How do I let Google know my annoyance?
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-1 #14 HArdik 2010-04-23 20:24
Google\'s quality might have slipped from time to time, but consider how many SEO\'s and developers must be trying to hijack google\'s system. Facing occasional slips, but providing optimum results over-all is pretty acceptable and i totally support Googlefor that..

You Rock Google ...

- Hardik
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0 #13 Bay Area Web Design 2010-04-20 01:55
Domain age and PR are only tools used by search engines to combat spam. Google isn\'t smart enough to be able to filter out all robotext and scraper garbage based on relevance or quality alone.

Site (domain) age just refers to age of the site overall, not individual posts. Google does look at how fresh content is, but doesn\'t always do a great job of serving up new quality content over stale, \"trusted\" information.
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