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What Does Search Engine Saturation Really Mean?


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4 replies to this topic

#1 lister

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Posted 10 September 2009 - 02:12 AM

Hi, if I type site:mydomain.com into google it renders lots of my pages, about 80 in total.

Does that mean that those 80 pages have been indexed by G?

#2 OldWelshGuy

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Posted 10 September 2009 - 02:49 AM

ordinarily yes, but Google has been displaying some odd things of late. Sometimes it will show you a figure of say 550, but when you try to view them, the pages are truncated often ending at 275 or the likes (number pulled from fresh air for example).

I have tried to tie this to something, but can't, so have assumed it is something to do with the old suplemental index and PIP's etc.

Saturation is very important though, as all things being equal, more pages in the index, means more traffic through the front door.

#3 Jill

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Posted 10 September 2009 - 11:21 AM

QUOTE
Does that mean that those 80 pages have been indexed by G?


More accurately, it means those 80 URLs have been indexed. They're not necessarily pages, as they could be different URLs but same (duplicate) pages.

#4 Michael Martinez

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Posted 10 September 2009 - 01:08 PM

The question in your thread title is distinct from the question you ask about Google's site search operator. Saturation implies there is a bar or metric that allows you to determine how much of something has been touched, absorbed, transformed, etc.

100% saturation in any content means that nothing more of whatever is being measured can occur.

With respect to search engine indexing, we can speak of several different types of saturation.

For example, given a list of X search engines, you achieve 100% search engine saturation if your site is found in all X search engines (although that is perhaps the crudest of metrics as it would be 100% even if one search engine indexes a single page whereas another indexed 1000 pages).

Using that same list of X search engines, you can also (or alternatively) say you achieve 100% search engine saturation if and only if all X search engines index every page on your site.

For any specific search engine, like Google, you can speak of 100% saturation in several ways (all actually extensible to the larger group of X search engines, but these are metrics that allow you to drill down meaningfully into a single search engine's index).

For example, you can speak of crawl saturation, which measures how much of your site a search engine actually fetches.

You can speak of index saturation, which measures how much of your site is listed in the search engine's index. NOTE: There is no correlation between crawl saturation and index saturation because a search engine has the option of listing documents it has found links to but which it has not yet fetched.

You can speak of full index saturation as opposed to partial index saturation as well. You have to be careful how you use these terms because there are no formal definitions for them and they can be used equally well in more than one way. For example, you could use a working definition for full index saturation that stipulates a page has been crawled and fully indexed by the search engine -- or you could stipulate that a page must simply have been fetched -- or you could stipulate that a page must have a cache link in the search engine listings.

Most if not all site searches in Google produce limited results. That is, they won't show you all the pages that Google has crawled/fetched and they won't show you which pages are in the Main Web Index and which pages are in the Supplemental Index. However, if you see consistent indexing numbers over time and then suddenly see a dropoff, that's a signal that you should check your bellwether rankings and search referral data. If you see corresponding dropoffs in both rankings and referrals (referrals being more important than rankings), then you can reasonably conclude that your site has fewer pages indexed in Google (or any search engine, for that matter).

All of which is to say that you need to build your own site-specific measuring stick and the more signals or metrics you use the better, because no one number by itself really means anything much.



#5 2Clean

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Posted 11 September 2009 - 10:07 AM

new buzz word "saturation" - an invisible and pretty subjective phrase open to all kinds of interpretations. Silly terms for SEO's to hide behind and loose the client in the process.




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