Google fooled by search engines on commercial pages (Shallow Thoughts)

Akkana's Musings on Open Source Computing and Technology, Science, and Nature.

Thu, 20 Jan 2005

Google fooled by search engines on commercial pages

I've been very frustrated with google searches lately. Not because of those blog links The Register is always complaining about, and for which the silly new "no-follow" anchor attribute was added: I hardly ever see blog links in my google searches, and when I do they're usually relevant to the search.

(Update: Mary pointed out to me that I was confusing two issues there. The new anchor attribute does indeed solve a very valid problem (not the one The Reg complains about), and isn't silly at all. She's quite right, of course.)

No, the problem I have is that the top hits always turn out to be a search engine on some commercial site. Clicking on the google link takes me to a search page on some random site which says "No pages were found matching your search terms".

Today I hit a perfect example. I was looking up Apache http redirects, so I googled for: htaccess mod_rewrite.

The first item is the official Apache documentation for mod_rewrite. Great!

The second item looks like the following:

htaccess mod_rewrite
... Many htaccess mod_rewrite bargains can only be found online. Shopping on the Internet is no less safe than shopping in a store or by mail. ... htaccess mod_rewrite. ... htaccess-deny-from-all/htaccess-mod-rewrite.html - 8k - Cached - Similar pages

Strangely, only google seems to show these sorts of search hits. Perhaps the spoofing sites only do their work for the googlebot, and don't bother with lesser searchbots. But google still wins the relevance award for most searches, even after I wade through the forest of spoofs; so I guess they don't need to worry about the spoofers until other search engines catch up in relevance. Eventually, someone else will catch up, and google will need to clean up its results. Until then ... <pulling on my rubber boots to wade through the muck in search of real results ...>

[ 18:03 Jan 20, 2005    More tech | permalink to this entry | ]

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