Thursday, September 28, 2006
"Disorganizing the world's information and making it difficult to access." That wouldn't be a very good mission statement for a search engine, would it?
We use Google's own blogger product for this (PR 7, in business since 1999) website. We publish only actual content and make about a dollar fifty a year in ad revenue. In short, we're not spamming the engine by posting frequently, so WTH? (That's "polite" for WTF.)
A bunch of pages from this website (the top couple SERP's here, for example) now seem to be in Google's supplemental index and thus harder to find in search results. Why? I've heard other bloggers mentioning similar problems. Apparently blogs make it easier for spammers to publish, so the rest of us are obviously suspect. Grrrr....
Or, blogs create too many "orphaned" pages, with no links? This shouldn't be true, as the linkage is built right into the archiving, and again, if it's Google's own blog product, they should have a pretty good idea of how that works. If you post 30 times a week, what are the odds that someone external to you will always link to everything and say "great post!". Is that the only measure of relevance? Should we be forced to engage in stealth linking campaigns for every third post just to keep them out of supplemental?
Honestly, two-year-old posts from this blog should *never* go into supplemental. Why would they? Did something change? They were good enough to index before, so what's wrong with 'em now?
What's maddening about that is when we contrive to publish certain posts as if they are "articles," they tend to rank better. Anytime a search engine's policy makes it useful to come up with such contrivances, they're really not doing their job properly. A bunch of "well linked short articles" shouldn't rank any better than blog entries. Again, the idea of blogs is a good one - it helps people publish without hassles.
The decision to publish something as an "article" rather than just laying back and letting the blog do its job as a superior content management system (well, I'm using blogger, so I wouldn't quite say "superior," but convenient and adequate) is not a "relevancy affecting" issue, it's merely a content management decision. Is blog software so terrible as a content management solution? Of course not! It was invented precisely as a more accessible form of content management.
One reason content can find its way into supplemental can be "duplicate content". Sometimes we allow others to republish our stuff (though rarely). But that's not the only issue. I wish I knew what the real issue was. Likely, it comes down to the sheer volume of spam, link-farm-that-isn't-a-link-farm--honest!, and scraped crap that gets thrown at Google on a daily basis, which means a lot of stuff is getting routed into Supplemental. I just fail to see how a single post on an older, trusted site, using Blogger, would meet that fate. There's a 50% chance those posts might be useful to at least one searcher in the future, possibly even the President of the United States. There are many sites where that chance is closer to 0%... as in, well below 0.01%.
On a related note, the hack published over at SEOmoz that can help you discover how many pages you have in Supplemental doesn't seem to be working anymore.
Bin Laden. Viagra. Hot Russian Brides. Peace out.
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