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Truth, Lies, And Search Engines


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50 replies to this topic

#16 market seeker

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Posted 29 July 2003 - 07:58 PM

great article
Cant wait for the next experiment. I hope you continue with it.

#17 dragonlady7

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Posted 30 July 2003 - 09:21 AM

It is nice to see someone actually testing, rather than endlessly theorizing. One does tend to see a whole lot of endless theorizing on forums of this sort...

So, ah, let me know when you've figured out everything worth knowing, right? :aloha:

#18 projectphp

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Posted 05 August 2003 - 02:48 AM

The result of this experiment was that Google did not list the pages in any visible order, they were listed rather randomly. Thus we can conclude that Google does not at all use meta tags to rank your site. As other search engines pick up the test site it will be possible to test them as well.

That is a well dodgy conclusion!!!! Well dodgy! No offence intended,. mind you, but not a particularly good conclusion. My philosophy professor said "Lack of evidence is not evidence of a lack", which is what your conclusion is here. You say "I see no payttern, therefore there is none". Not neccessarily true, there may be one that you just don't see. A far better conclusion is "The result of this experiment was that Google did not list the pages in any visible order, they were listed rather randomly. As it is still early days, and various off-page factors can not be ascertained, no firm conclusion can be drawn from this. However, it looks extremely likely that they have no perceivable ranking benefit." Drawing firm conclusions is always a bad idea, unless there is absolute proof IMHO.

You also have your control group malformed. You have:
A. Meta tags with keyword
B. No meta tags

What about "off-page factors". Were they equally linked? Form the one page with few other links? OR were they in some sort of order? Was one indexed before another, indicating age makes a difference? That would all make a huge difference. There are many conclusions that could be drawn, none of which are conclusive, and you are assumming that the control group was absolute, which I have to disagree with ever so slightly.

For most people this test is enough, after all if a search engine does not use meta tags to list a site then why would it use them to rank a site

Was that the result? You don't actually mention that anywhere in the text. I am gobsmacked if it is!!!

But what about clickthroughs? How does a good title and a bad one relate in terms of clickthroughs? While that is not relevant to RANKINGS, it is EXTREMELY important to clickthroughs.

lastly:

...even though search engines like Google ...

is a little misleading. Not all Search Engines are the same, and they are not very "alike" in many ways.

That said, I really truly LOVED the concept behind what you did. Your ideas are FANTASTIC, to the point of brilliance, and I hope you continue the exploration. I look forward immensely to what you decide to test next, and please, take wqhat I said in teh spirit it was meant. I think with a few tweaks, a lot of what you have donbe will make a MASSIVE difference!!! OLAY!!!!

:lol:

#19 projectphp

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Posted 05 August 2003 - 03:03 AM

One more beef: Why use genome? Why not "wasadudewholeft"? That is easier to check BY FAR, and much more accurate.

And, besides, go here http://www.searcheng.../sim_spider.cgi and try the page http://www.searcheng..._listing_2.php: they don't measure any meta description EITHER!!!!

OK, so I dug a little more.

From http://www.highrankings.com
<META NAME="Description" CONTENT="HighRankings.com provides search engine optimization and positioning, along with directory submissions, SEO workshops and consulting.">

searching for "HighRankings.com provides search engine optimization and positioning" on google, http://www.google.co...8&output=search, and all results are either a SERPS that is indexed, or a directory (GoGuides).

So, my hat off to you, you REALLY taught me heaps today!!!! TA!!!!

#20 braindead

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Posted 10 August 2003 - 06:27 AM

Site search is not the best way to go here. I'd rather we do a search for "dog named homer" without the quotation marks.

Google search - dog named Homer

This search is returning two pages from Mr Beasley's site. Both the returned pages, in spot #10 and spot #11, are pages with meta description tags. It would appear to suggest that Google is using that tag for ranking.

#21 Jill

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Posted 10 August 2003 - 10:57 AM

I don't think so, Braindead. Those words are also on the page. At least I see them on the one page I looked at.

Jill

#22 Haystack

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Posted 10 August 2003 - 11:02 AM

This search is returning two pages from Mr Beasley's site. Both the returned pages, in spot #10 and spot #11, are pages with meta description tags. It would appear to suggest that Google is using that tag for ranking.

Hi braindead, welcome to the forum.

In looking at the two Dog Named Homer pages, I didn't see any meta tags, but that phrase is used within the body copy of both pages.

I then ran a search for a large snippet of the meta description from my own site in quotes on Google to see if my site would appear for a phrase only used in that order.

While there are results mentioning my business, Google did not deliver any pages from my site: haystackinaneedle.com

Google is definitely leaning toward on-page information because it provides a better search experience to their users. Imagine running a search, then clicking through to a page that doesn't use the words you searched for? That would hurt Google's credibility.

#23 qwerty

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Posted 10 August 2003 - 11:08 AM

Imagine running a search, then clicking through to a page that doesn't use the words you searched for? That would hurt Google's credibility.

There are exceptions to that, however. It's not that uncommon if you run a query on Google and go to the cache of one of the resulting pages to see the little note that reads "These terms only appear in links pointing to the page" (or something like that).

However, I've never seen a note that indicated that the terms only appear in the head rather than the body of the document.

#24 mcanerin

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Posted 10 August 2003 - 12:04 PM

I'd like to opine that a link that says Click Here is less intuitive and user friendly that one that says "Research Results" or whatever, and should be ranked higher.

From a user standpoint, it would be best if descriptive linking would be encouraged. From a SE standpoint, it's probably more accurate than trying to guess what a link is about compared to reading the linking and landing pages and somehow understanding through magical space alien technology what the link is about. Certainly it can (and is) done, but what is easier and more intuitive?

What is this link about?

If you are not here to see our p*rn/spam/warez Leave Now

You know - does the SE? How much work does it have to do to find out? Traditionally it would look at the surrounding paragraph. Would that help here?

Yes this is a controlled statement that demonstrates a point, but it is also a very common type of statement.

Ian

#25 braindead

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Posted 10 August 2003 - 05:18 PM

I don't think so, Braindead.  Those words are also on the page.  At least I see them on the one page I looked at.

Jill

The two returned pages are:

Pink Dog. > View Source>:
<meta name = "keywords" content = "dog"><meta name = "description" content = "dog"><TITLE> The Pink Dog </TITLE>

Black Dog. > View Source>:
<meta name = "keywords" content = "dog"><meta name = "description" content = "dog"><TITLE> The Black Dog </TITLE>


Google has determined that these two pages, with meta description, are more relevant than the pages without meta description tags. Is that proof that Google uses meta description to rank? No. Just something to think about, at most.

#26 Jill

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Posted 10 August 2003 - 05:20 PM

Well, that actually wouldn't surprise me. It's the Meta keyword tag they totally ignore.

But I shouldn't say anything, as I haven't really looked closely at any of this evidence or what Chris did.

J

#27 braindead

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Posted 10 August 2003 - 05:20 PM

There are exceptions to that, however. It's not that uncommon if you run a query on Google and go to the cache of one of the resulting pages to see the little note that reads "These terms only appear in links pointing to the page" (or something like that).

However, I've never seen a note that indicated that the terms only appear in the head rather than the body of the document.

Google does not specify where it found those words.

These terms only appear in links pointing to the page


Is used even when the only occurence is in the page titles.

#28 qwerty

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Posted 10 August 2003 - 05:35 PM

Could you clarify that? Are you stating that when G indicates that the search query only appears in links pointing to the page, that that may indicate that the query is in the title? Why would they refer to that as "links pointing to the page"?

My understanding is that if, for example, a few hundred pages pointed to my site with the anchor text of the link reading "qwerty's page", then my page would potentially come up in a search for "qwerty's page" even if those words did not appear anywhere on the page, including the title.

#29 Jill

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Posted 10 August 2003 - 05:56 PM

Yes, I'd like to see some evidence of that too. Never heard that one before.

Jill

#30 braindead

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Posted 10 August 2003 - 06:20 PM

You can often take the words out of the page titles, search for them and find the page in the SERPs, click on cache, and see:


These terms only appear in links pointing to this page: insulated form permanent buildings energy efficient structures indoor air quality




http://216.239.57.10...&hl=en&ie=UTF-8

When in fact, links to that page do not contain those terms. It's just in the page titles.


My understanding is that if, for example, a few hundred pages pointed to my site with the anchor text of the link reading "qwerty's page", then my page would potentially come up in a search for "qwerty's page" even if those words did not appear anywhere on the page, including the title.


That is true also. "Google bombing"




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