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Can Google explain this search result?

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Mon, May 10, 2010 at 5:14 pm

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Can Google explain this search result?

Consumer Watchdog is launching InsideGoogle.com to educate the public and opinion leaders about Google’s dangerous dominance over the Internet, computing and our online lives. As we have been putting the site through its paces while it’s still in “Beta” mode,  I discovered an example of exactly the sort thing Google needs to explain.

We are more than a little critical of Google. Inside Google’s blog is authored by experienced consumer advocates and journalists working to expose the “black box” at Google with an eye towards holding Google engineers accountable to social mores, ethical customs and the rule of law.

So today, I entered  the name of the site, “Inside Google” into the Internet giant’s  highly vaunted search engine. Nothing about our site was on the first three pages. It was number eight on the fourth page of listings.  Most consumers don’t go much beyond the first page of results.

Then I tried Bing.com.  As you can see from the screen shot below, Inside Google was the second listing returned.

How about those secret Google  algorithms, eh?

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This post was written by:

John M. Simpson

- who has written 362 posts on Inside Google.

John M. Simpson is a leading voice on technological privacy and stem cell research issues. His investigations this year of Google’s online privacy practices and book publishing agreements triggered intense media scrutiny and federal interest in the online giant’s business practices. His critique of patents on human embryonic stem cells has been key to expanding the ability of American scientists to conduct stem cell research. He has ensured that California’s taxpayer-funded stem cell research will lead to broadly accessible and affordable medicine and not just government-subsidized profiteering. Prior to joining Consumer Watchdog in 2005, he was executive editor of Tribune Media Services International, a syndication company. Before that, he was deputy editor of USA Today and editor of its international edition. Simpson taught journalism a Dublin City University in Ireland, and consulted for The Irish Times and The Gleaner in Jamaica. He served as president of the World Editors Forum. He holds a B.A. in philosophy from Harpur College of SUNY Binghamton and was a Gannett Fellow at the Center for Asian and Pacific Studies at the University of Hawaii. He has an M.A. in Communication Management from USC’s Annenberg School for Communication.

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35 Responses to “Can Google explain this search result?”

  1. Larry Says:

    How about: Can Microsoft explain this search result? Why shouldn’t we believe that it isn’t jiggered in CWs direction because they are Google haters, too.

  2. tito Says:

    I think I can. I believe this has to do with the unfortunate naming of your site. Over time there have been many blogs and reports from well recognized/respected sites (therefore there would be many links to them) with the phrase ‘Inside Google’:

    For instance:
    ‘A Rare Peak Inside Google HQ’ (The Guardian UK)
    ‘Inside Google’s Secret Search Algorithm’ (Gizmodo)
    ‘Inside the Mind of Google’ (2009 CNBC hour television long special)
    ‘Life Inside Google (CNN Money article)
    ‘Bitscan: Inside Google’ (NYTimes)
    ‘Inside Google’s New Look’ (BusinessWeek)
    ‘Inside Google’s Secret Struggles with Chinese Power’ (The Atlantic)
    ‘Inside Google’s Android’ (AppleInsider.com)
    ‘Inside Google, data drives everything’ (The Register UK)
    ‘Inside Google’s Gmail’ (CNET)

    And a number of blogs such as:
    ‘Inside Google Desktop’
    ‘Inside Google Books’

    I don’t know the details or differences in Google’s and Bing’s search algorithm, but I know that they partially depend on cross linking and traffic. This site (insidegoogle.com) was apparently registered March 16th, 2010. I sincerely doubt that Google changed their search algorithm during the last couple months in order to ‘bury’ this site in their search results. Their revenue directly links to the credibility and impartiality of their search result rankings and I don’t think they’d risk this.

    While I think you are performing important work here, please remember an important maxim of critical thinking and the scientific method: “Correlation does not imply causation.”

  3. Jim Says:

    So you’re not #1 for the search term “Inside Google”- deal with it! Thousands of businesses everyday don’t rank on the first page for their own target keywords. There is nothing new going on here, especially considering your target phrase “Inside Google” is a term that is shared by many web pages more popular than this blog.

  4. B Says:

    It take a long time, and good SEO effort, to rank well in Google.

  5. Frederick van Peebles Says:

    It’s hardly a black box. They’ve taken the time and effort to publish a pretty comprehensive overview of ranking here:
    http://www.google.com/corporate/tech.html

    And there’s a more than comprehensive help centre, should you wish to learn more here: http://google.com/webmasters/

  6. dan livnik Says:

    Man, you are seriously pathetic.
    There is a point to having a site that looks at Google, but this this site just tries to hit at Google in any possible way. Most of what you write is absurd, including this one which is obvious that this site is just not important enough. Compare to another 20 search engines and see that you are not number 1 in any.

  7. Alex Yule Says:

    As stated above, its more likely you just chose a poor name.

  8. Rob Elliott Says:

    Don’t hate the player, hate the game…

  9. Tosh Says:

    I searched for insidegoogle.com and your site was ranked #1.

  10. rathish Says:

    Why Google, even a kid who knows what’s SEO can answer this? Millions of dollars are spent to position and maintaining the listing … and its not paid to Google, but to smart SEO experts.

  11. Kelly Says:

    This website, Inside Google, came up in 5th place on the 1st page of my Google search. Not at the top of the search results but scarcely hidden.

  12. Dawn Says:

    I just did a google search for “insidegoogle” and your website came up in the 3rd spot. The second spot was your original site, insidergoogle.blogspot.com.

    I then ran a search for “Inside Google” and your website came up in the 5th spot.

    I hardly think this is reason to be so paranoid! While I’m not a fan of Google’s takeover, I don’t think they’re trying to spite you. Of course, I’m sure you can respond with something to the effect that once you let the cat out of the bag, they HAD to put your website back up on top of the list!

  13. John M. Simpson Says:

    I can’t explain the change.

    When I first posted this piece I noted where Inside Google appeared on Google’ search engine — that was in the hinterlands of results — and compared it to where it ranked on other search engines, neat the top from the beginning. Now Inside Google has moved up on Google. Maybe it’s all in the algorithms, but then that’s all the more reason to be more transparent about them: so people can understand how they are ranked.

    We never had anything to do with the site “insidegoogle.blogspot.com.”

  14. William Says:

    Relegated to the back of the queue?

    My web site has been the authority for our keywords for twelve years and has always appeared on page one on almost every search engine that has existed and still exists. And it still does except for Google!

    Google’s algorithm is not about quality of search as they have been claiming for far too long… it’s all about enhancing Adwords revenue with close proximity substitutes and oppressive extortion by favoring those that either pay for Adwords or those who help to extend their content network.

    Also, their Adwords billing and keyword bidding is manipulated from within… it’s time for a wake up call!

    How about compensation for what we have lost in sales?

  15. Notsofast Says:

    John,

    Don’t think you’re NOT on to something. I know from experience that Google deliberately pushes down content it does not want people to read – unless that content becomes so popular that it HAS no other choice than to rank it higher. (take your case, for example.)

    There are those who’ll read this and say I’m full of it, but it’s happened to several blogposts I’ve written and entire websites I’ve had up. And this is not confined to just posts about Google, either. Over the last 2 years, I have witnessed an unmistakable bias towards conservative points of view as well.

    Keep an eye on the top ranking news articles that appear in search over the course of a few months – especially when important policies are being discussed, and you’ll see what I mean.

    Before anyone goes blabbering about ‘well, learn some SEO…’ – I AM an SEO. And a damn good one at that. I’ve reviewed the on-page factors, backlink analysis, and social activity and things do not add up.

  16. Nathan H. Says:

    Dear Mr John M. Simpson,
    Please stick to stem cell research and leave Search Engine Optimization to us. It’s obviously not your strength.

  17. TimR Says:

    Don’t do evil unless there is a ton of money to be made.

  18. Rick Says:

    Why would you ever include Google in the name of your site if you can’t answer this question. This is very basic entry level SEO stuff.

    Suggest you educate yourself before pointing fingers or even stating an opinion.

    The name implies knowledge of a subject matter which you do not have yet.

    Lastly, full disclosure by Google would lead to MORE spam, not less since there would be a clear road map to success.

  19. joseph Says:

    Hate to tell ya this but the search inside google now displays your website as #1 so there goes the black box theory.

    Takes time I see the domain was rigisterd 3-10 I am not sure when the article was written but to me it shows a complete lack of what is going on within Google.

    For one when the domain was registered Google was undergoing a complete infrastructure change and there was a delay in all rankings.

    What I would do is be more aware of what is going on before posting an article that only shows lack of knowledge and understanding in the world of SEO.

  20. Ted Says:

    Wow so many goggle lovers find there way to a consumer watchdog site. Must have struck a nerve. John M. please keep up the good work. Knolage is power and Knolage in the hands of the people is reveloution. goggle will pay a great many persons to come here and nay say dont let that defer you from the work of showing goggle for who it actualy is. (very large completely proffit centered monoply goaled corrupt coporation)

  21. jeremy Says:

    When was your site made? That would be the most probable factor in why you wouldn’t have good ranking. If you start a site its unlikely to rank high on its first day its crawled unless you use new spellings and search for the new spelling. Why would Bing have you high? Because they do not care as much about how long your site has been around. Anyways, you comments show you are the wrong people to try and figure out whats wrong with the internet. Why don’t hire some young people and truly listen to them????

  22. Henry Says:

    I’m pretty appalled by many of Google’s actions, as well, but this article is turning into an embarrassment for Consumer Watchdog.

    Do you realize that InsideGoogle.com is now (as of 9/3/2010) listed NUMBER ONE on Google for the phrase “inside google”?

    Yes, maybe Google “automagically” pushed your site to the top of the results in response to your article, or — much more likely — time, traffic, and content advanced your site naturally, in accordance with Google’s algorithms.

    Either way, you’re looking pretty silly to anyone who bothers to confirm your story with a quick search.

    Even an update will help restore some credibility to this article.

  23. Federico Says:

    How can you explain that just now if you search “inside google” in google, this page is in the first place?

    ¿Como podés explicar que si buscas ahora “inside google” en google, esta página es el primer resultado?

  24. candon Says:

    Henry, Federico and others. User your brains. Look at the date of the article and that of your posts. Google have had plenty of time to read this site and article.

  25. Ben Says:

    Wow! Look at all the Google search experts! SEO is basically making your site accessible to search engines. You shouldn’t be forced to constantly change the organization and content of your site to keep up with the “algorithms”. If the algorithms are as good as they claim at finding “good” results, why would you need to go through hoops just for Google? http://searchengineland.com/google-sewage-factory-the-chocomize-story-47403

    Search engine results differ from time to time and region to region, but assuming this site has consistently appeared in the top five results for Bing and more recently for Google…. that must mean either
    A) Google changed its “algorithms” (who knows how many times),
    B) Google was lagging behind Bing at the time this post was written, or
    C) The early posters were right (But that would mean that everyone that posted since Tosh’s comment, or arguably even the second comment, are just trolls commenting on an outdated, irrelevant blog post).

  26. jeremy Says:

    @candon Just because some bored googler reads the site why would they care to put it at the top of a search as you assume they would??? Your idea is about as stupid as the idea that they were wasting time putting it at the bottom of the search results. Why don’t you study the the thing you criticize before you write about it? If you had studied the observations that people make about how google ranks things you would stop seeming so stupid. But that would mean you would have to be smart. Never-mind

  27. ScornfulCommenter Says:

    Really? You think it’s a conspiracy? Far more likely you don’t understand SEO – And let’s be frank, Bing’s a pile of crap anyway.

  28. don Says:

    Awesome video, Google already is too big and has gotten to many free passes..

  29. candon Says:

    Jeremy, I don’t have to study anything. I can teach you a thing or two about how Google ranks sites. Use your brain before posting that pile of crap. You are assuming many things I have never said. Again please use your brain. You are embarrassing humans here. You have to be a moron to post all that on September when the article was posted in May. About Google, you know nothing about Google, what they do and don’t do. The heat is getting close to them thanks to CW.

  30. Tom Says:

    What a waist of time. I read an article that made check out this site and I really think it is pathetic

  31. Stunned Says:

    @John M – How embarrassing, I actually started cringing as I read the article, you really don’t have a clue and I think people won’t be able to take you seriously after this article. In future, don’t write articles on things you don’t understand.

    @candon – YOU have to be a moron to think the date on which this article was posted, makes any difference. In fact, it shows your lack of knowledge in this field. I don’t think you’ll even understand what I mean by this, which won’t be surprising.

    I would be surprised though, if a single person working at Google has even laid eyes on this site. Out of the billions of websites on the internet, do you really think your false opinions make a ripple?

    After reading this article, I find CW untrustworthy, unreliable and I will never again waste my time on insidegoogle.com.

    BTW – I didn’t get paid by “Google Spies” to post this comment. I work in the SEO industry and genuinely disagree with what was written here.(As do all the SEO experts who commented above… could it be that you’re wrong?)

  32. Jakob Says:

    @John
    I know it is almost a year since you wrote this post, but I wanted to let you know that it made me loose a lot of respect for you.

    When you use the name of one of the worlds most best known brands coupled with a common word like “inside” for your site, you really can’t expect to appear anywhere near page 1 until the site is “well known” online.

    The only thing this blog post proved were that non-google search engines apparently put more weight on the domain name (insidegoogle.com) then Google did when determining how to rank your site. There could of course also be a score of other reasons for the difference

    It is a great idea to look closer at Google, but you write about topics that are outside of your expertise, I think it would suit you to either consult an expert or at least point out to the reader that you aren’t an expert on the topic.

  33. Janice Says:

    I am not sure but I think I have experienced the same problem. I am pretty tech challenged and the intracacies of the SEO world are way beyond my comprehension. However, I am currently suing Google Inc and Google AU for defamation. I won’t go into details here but these are explained on my blog. drjaniceduffy.com

    I started the blog because, after initially removing some links after they were served, Google has not removed the rest. I started a blog in September 2011and within days it was ranking on the first page for a search for my name. My dashboard showed visits from Google IP addresses (not the bots) and suddenly the blog was plummeted into cyberspace. It is indexed on Google but has a page rank of 0. The web page rank is 3. I have run a check with Google diagnostics and there are no issues that contravene their technical guidelines.

    I honestly cannot say that I have been censored because I have virtually zero tech ability. I can say that the ranking history is looks suspiciously like censoring.

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