Archive for July 2022


Bing has tanked

24.07.2022

Well, folks, here鈥檚 someone who鈥檚 done the maths. The stats in the last post suggested as much but the sample was so small.

Maurice de Kunder at WorldWideWebSize.com has a definitive graph:
 

 

His methodology is explained at his site.

I鈥檇 say late May or early June was when I noticed Duck Duck Go queries on Lucire become largely useless. After a month of seeing no improvement, I began looking into alternatives.

No one knows why, since Bing鈥檚 not going to admit any of this. If I was Duck Duck Go, I’d be looking into alternatives smartly. Anyone want to get in touch with Alltheweb and Inktomi? Their indices in the early 2000s were bigger than this.
 
PS.: I tried to tell the SEO sub-Reddit, but no joy. It was immediately removed.
 

 
The original text:

Since June I noticed that our internal site:domain.com searches powered by Duck Duck Go were not returning many results any more. As DDG is powered by Bing, I checked it out there, and, sure enough, we dipped from thousands of entries to 50 (and even 10 at one point). This is a 25-year-old site with decent inbound links.

I did a lot of investigating which I wrote up on my own blog (which I won鈥檛 link here due to sub-Reddit rules) and came across this website, which seems to suggest Bing has tanked. The person who runs it is pretty clued up on statistics.

I have run a small sample of 10 sites through the search engines as well and these back up their findings.

At this rate, Bing is smaller than Inktomi and Alltheweb in the early 2000s. What strikes me as weird is that all the Bing licensees haven鈥檛 done anything, either, so Duck Duck Go, Ecosia, Qwant, and Onesearch have all shrunk, too. (Swisscows is still reasonably sized.)

Anyone else been through something similar in the last two months?

Why don’t they wish to know? I would have thought this was rather serious for an SEO group.

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Posted in internet, technology | 4 Comments »


More signs of Bing’s tiny index

24.07.2022

Because I have OCD, one more round of stats.

It鈥檚 not just us: Bing seems to have a reduced index for everyone. Here are a handful of sites that I fed in at random for site: searches. The only site where it beats Mojeek in indexed pages is, you guessed it, Microsoft鈥檚. I guess since Google favours Google鈥檚 own results, Bing does a better job indexing Microsoft鈥檚鈥攁nd I doubt it鈥檚 because their own people conform to Bing鈥檚 applied-when-they-choose rules.
 
Die Zeit
Google: 2,600,000
Mojeek: 4,796 (0路18 per cent of Google鈥檚 total)
Bing: 3,770 (0路15 per cent of Google鈥檚 total)
 
Annabelle (Switzerland)
Google: 11,700
Mojeek: 405 (3路46%)
Bing: 105 (0路90%)
 
Holly Jahangiri
Google: 738
Mojeek: 222 (30路08%)
Bing: 49 (6路64%)
 
The Gloss (Ireland)
Google: 19,200
Mojeek: 1,968 (10路25%)
Bing: 71 (0路37%)
 
The New York Times
Google: 36,200,000
Mojeek: 2,823,329 (7路80%)
Bing: 1,190,000 (3路29%)
 
Lucire
Google: 6,050
Mojeek: 3,572 (59路04%)
Bing: 50 (0路83%)
 
The Rake
Google: 11,500
Mojeek: 1,443 (12路55%)
Bing: 49 (0路43%)
 
Travel & Leisure
Google: 28,100
Mojeek: 9,750 (34路70%)
Bing: 220 (0路78%)
 
Microsoft
Google: 122,000,000
Bing: 14,200,000 (11路64%)
Mojeek: 1,748,199 (1路43%)
 
Detective Marketing
Google: 998
Mojeek: 579 (58路02%)
Bing: 51 (5路11%)
 

In the earlier Microsoft thread I linked, the original poster found that after they joined Bing Webmaster Tools and imported their Google data, that鈥檚 when their site vanished from Bing. So, again, we鈥檙e not alone.

I’d seriously be rethinking my business model if I was running a search engine that was reliant on Bing.

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Putting the search engines through their paces

24.07.2022

One more, and I might give the subject a rest. Here I test the search engines for the term Lucire. This paints quite a different picture.

Lucire is an established site, dating from 1997, indexed by all major search engines from the start. The word did not exist online till the site began. It does exist in old Romanian. There is a (not oft-used) Spanish conjugated verb, I believe, spelt the same.

The original site is very well linked online, as you might expect after 25 years. You would normally expect, given its age and the inbound links, to see lucire.com at the top of any index.

There is a Dr Yolande Lucire in Australia whom I know, who I鈥檓 used to seeing in the search engine results.

The scores are simply for getting relevant sites to us into the top 10, and no judgement is made about their quality or relevance.
 
Google
lucire.com
twitter.com
lucire.net
instagram.com
wikipedia.org
linkedin.com
facebook.com
pinterest.nz
neighbourly.co.nz
鈥擨 hate to say it, as someone who dislikes Google, but all of the top 10 results are relevant. Fair play. Then again, with the milliards it has, and with this as its original product, it should do well. 10/10
 
Mojeek
scopalto.com
lucirerouge.com
lucire.net
lucire.com
mujerhoy.com
portalfeminino.com
paperblog.com
dailymotion.com
eldiablovistedezara.net
hispanaglobal.com
Mojeek might be flavour of the month for me, but these results are disappointing. Scopalto retails Lucire in France, so that鈥檚 fair enough, but disappointing to see the original lucire.com site in fourth. Fifth, sixth, seventh, ninth and tenth are irrelevant and relate to the Spanish word lucir. You鈥檇 have to get to no. 25 to see Lucire again, for Yola鈥檚 website. Then it鈥檚 more lucir results till no. 52, the personal website of one of our editors. 5/10
 
Swisscows
lucire.net
wikipedia.org
lucire.com
spanishdict.com
lucire.net
lucire.com
drlucire.com
facebook.com
spanishdict.com
viyeshierelucre.com
鈥擟onsidering it sources from Bing, it makes the same mistakes by placing the rarely linked lucire.net up top, and lucire.com in third. Fourth, ninth and tenth are irrelevant, and the last two relate to different words. Yola鈥檚 site is seventh, which is fair enough. 6/10
 
Baidu
lucire.net
lucire.com
lucire.cc
lucire.com
kanguowai.com
hhlink.com
vocapp.com
forvo.com
kuwo.cn
lucirehome.com
鈥擨nteresting mixture here. Strange, too, that lucire.net comes up top. We own lucire.cc but it鈥檚 now a forwarding domain (it was once our link shortener, up to a decade ago). Seventh and ninth relate to the Romanian word str膬lucire and eighth to the Romanian word lucire. The tenth domain is an old one, succeeded a couple of years ago by lucirerouge.com. Not very current, then. 7/10
 
Startpage
lucire.com
lucire.com
lucire.net
instagram.com
wikipedia.org
linkedin.com
facebook.com
pinterest.nz
fashionmodeldirectory.com
twitter.com
鈥擜ll relevant, as expected, since it鈥檚 all sourced from Google. 10/10
 
Virtual Mirage
lucire.com
instagram.com
wikipedia.org
lucire.net
facebook.com
linkedin.com
pinterest.nz
lucirerouge.com
nih.gov
twitter.com
鈥擨 don鈥檛 know much about this search engine, since I only heard about it from Holly Jahangiri earlier today. A very good effort, with only the ninth one being irrelevant to us: it鈥檚 a paper co-written by Yola. 9/10
 
Yandex
lucire.com
lucire.net
facebook.com
twitter.com
wikipedia.org
instagram.com
wikipedia.eu
pinterest.nz
en-academic.com
wikiru.wiki
鈥擳his is the Russian version. All are relevant, and they are fairly expected, other than the ninth result which I鈥檝e not come across this high before, although it still relates to Lucire. 10/10
 
Bing
lucire.net
wikipedia.org
lucire.com
spanishdict.com
lucire.com
facebook.com
drlucire.com
spanishdict.com
twitter.com
lucirahealth.com
鈥擧ow Bing has slipped. There are sites here relating to the Spanish word lucirse and to Lucira, who makes PCR tests for COVID-19. One is for Yola. 7/10
 
Qwant.com
lucire.net
wikipedia.org
spanishdict.com
drlucire.com
spanishdict.com
tumblr.com
lucirahealth.com
lacire.co
amazon.com
lucirahealth.com
鈥擣or a Bing-licensed site, this is even worse. No surprise to see lucire.com gone here, given how inconsistently Bing has treated it of late. But there are results here for Lucira and a company called La Cire. The Amazon link is also for Lucira. 3/10
 
Qwant.fr
lucire.net
wikipedia.org
reverso.net
luciremen.com
lucire.com
twitter.com
lacire.co
lucirahealth.com
viyeshierelucre.com
lucirahealth.com
鈥擳he sites change slightly if you use the search box at qwant.fr. The Reverso page is for the Spanish word lucir茅. Sixth through tenth are irrelevant and do not even relate to the search term. Eleventh and twelfth are for lucire.com and facebook.com, so there were more relevant pages to come. The ranking or relevant results, then, leaves something to be desired. 5/10
 
Duck Duck Go
lucire.com
lucire.net
wikipedia.org
spanishdict.com
drlucire.com
spanishdict.com
lucirahealth.com
amazon.com
lacire.co
luciremen.com
鈥擶ell, at least the Duck puts lucire.com up top, and the home page at that (even if Bing can鈥檛). Only four relevant results, with Lucire Men coming in at tenth. 4/10
 
Brave
lucire.com
instagram.com
twitter.com
wikipedia.org
linkedin.com
lucire.net
facebook.com
fashion.net
wiktionary.org
nsw.gov.au
鈥擣or the new entrant, not a bad start. Shame about the smaller index size. All of these relate to us except the last two, one a dictionary and the other referring to Yolande Lucire. 8/10
 

The results are surprising from these first results’ pages.
 
鈽呪槄鈽呪槄鈽呪槄鈽呪槄鈽呪槄 Google
鈽呪槄鈽呪槄鈽呪槄鈽呪槄鈽呪槄 Yandex
鈽呪槄鈽呪槄鈽呪槄鈽呪槄鈽呪槄 Startpage
鈽呪槄鈽呪槄鈽呪槄鈽呪槄鈽呪槅 Virtual Mirage
鈽呪槄鈽呪槄鈽呪槄鈽呪槄鈽嗏槅 Brave
鈽呪槄鈽呪槄鈽呪槄鈽呪槅鈽嗏槅 Baidu
鈽呪槄鈽呪槄鈽呪槄鈽呪槅鈽嗏槅 Bing
鈽呪槄鈽呪槄鈽呪槄鈽嗏槅鈽嗏槅 Swisscows
鈽呪槄鈽呪槄鈽呪槅鈽嗏槅鈽嗏槅 Mojeek
鈽呪槄鈽呪槄鈽呪槅鈽嗏槅鈽嗏槅 Qwant.fr
鈽呪槄鈽呪槄鈽嗏槅鈽嗏槅鈽嗏槅 Duck Duck Go
鈽呪槄鈽呪槅鈽嗏槅鈽嗏槅鈽嗏槅 Qwant.com
 

It doesn’t change my mind about the suitability of Mojeek for internal searches though. It’s still the one with the largest index aside from Google, and it doesn’t track you.

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Posted in China, France, internet, publishing, technology, UK, USA | 2 Comments »


Not alone in discovering Bing is broken

24.07.2022


MIA again on Bing: Lucire鈥檚 home page. The alt tags are not missing, with perhaps some exceptions for small logos. And not having an H1 tag is not fatal to other pages of ours that have been indexed. It remains bizarre.
 
After Holly Jahangiri鈥檚 very useful feedback to my previous post, I thought I鈥檇 give the search engines she sampled a go for site:lucire.com.

Bear in mind that Duck Duck Go, Ecosia, Qwant, Onesearch and Swisscows license from Bing, and Startpage picks up Google, so their indices will reflect the mothership.

Here’s how we look today. Bing remains well and truly beaten by Google, Mojeek, Baidu and Yandex.
 
Google: 6,100
Mojeek: 3,569
Swisscows: 498
Baidu: 201
Startpage: 198
Virtual Mirage: 100
Yandex: 94
Bing: 50
Qwant: 50
Duck Duck Go: 49
Ecosia: 49
Brave: 14
Searchencrypt: 8
Searx: 0
Onesearch: blocked in New Zealand
 

I am not alone, it seems. This thread on Microsoft Answers was enlightening. Others in the thread have found themselves gone from Bing (but not Google), and Microsoft appears to know about it, admitting to some fault and escalating the issues internally, but nothing ever gets done.

I had that old theory, blogged about previously, that computer databases get worn after a while. I saw that with Vox, a lot of Facebook鈥檚 ills can be put down to it, and maybe Bing has now got there? No tech ever wants to admit it because of how crazy it sounds. But if we can lose data on hard drives and USB sticks, then I don鈥檛 care how many back-ups these big firms have, they are still fallible. (What if faults in one database are copied on to another, and the checksums weren鈥檛 verified?)

I replied to the Microsoft poster, and it鈥檚 a pretty good summary so far:

Hi EbinVThomas, here鈥檚 my experience, and I鈥檝e run websites for three decades. The short version is I think Bing is stuffed and it鈥檚 not a Microsoft core business, so it doesn鈥檛 get much love (indeed, one of their FAQ pages has a heading about 鈥榮each鈥). I know the Microsoft fans will attack me for saying this, just as the Apple fans have a go at me when I say something negative about Macs, but I haven鈥檛 read anything to change my opinion.

We started vanishing from Bing earlier this year, maybe about three months ago. For some of our sites, I thought it was our belated switch to HTTPS for some of them, but as you鈥檒l read, that wasn鈥檛 the case.

These sites date from (at their present domains) 1995, 1997, 2002 and 2008, and they are well linked, well respected, and one has been winning awards from 1997 to today. Google and Mojeek have no problems with any of them. Two of the sites (the 2002 and 1995 ones) did drop from their number-one and two positions on Google (for a name search) when they switched to HTTPS but one has mostly recovered, the other (from 1995, with a lot of inbound links to HTTP) fluctuates.

One of the other sites uses Duck Duck Go for its internal site search (and has done since the 2010s), which is powered by Bing. Earlier this year鈥攕ay about six weeks ago鈥擨 noticed that the internal search was getting more and more useless, even though I knew the articles used to be found by DDG.

I began doing site:domain.com searches for this one. It had c. 50 entries on Bing, down from several thousand earlier in the year.

My first reaction was to blame ourselves鈥攎aybe it was the full switch to a secure server (some earlier pages were already on HTTPS), or something else. We also began using Cloudflare again after a 12-year break around this time.

I signed up to Bing Webmaster Tools. The site promptly went down to 10 entries! In other words, signing up to Tools made the site鈥檚 presence a lot, lot worse.

I found some weird site maps that I never put in, nor did any of my team. Nevertheless, I put in new, fresh ones last week, all pointing to HTTPS. Most of the pages have not been indexed.

I had to turn off Cloudflare鈥檚 IndexNow because it was sending some totally irrelevant and old pages and files to Bing. (So we can blame Cloudflare for some issues, but the majority still rests with Bing.)

Since the new site maps, Bing is now returning 53鈥5 entries (depending on the hour).

It finally included the home page which had been missing from the site: searches. Yet only yesterday Webmaster Tools said the page was not indexed because of certain issues, but it had been found in 2018. That made no sense as it was present until quite recently. Those issues included a description tag being too long (fine, I edited it), and no H1s (but why should there be? Not everyone wants humungous type on their page). But Bing had been fine historically with the page (since Bing started, so well before 2018) and it even appeared in the index during the last few weeks. A related page for our business doesn鈥檛 have H1s, an even longer meta description, and it鈥檚 on Bing. (It鈥檚 just not been entered into Webmaster Tools, which seems to be a kiss of death!)

Webmaster Tools even said it had accepted the site maps and the thousands of pages listed.

As far as I can make out, Webmaster Tools says one thing but reality says another.

So, was it Cloudflare and HTTPS that had knocked us? Well, no. Of the four sites I mentioned, we didn鈥檛 change the set-up of the one started in 2008. It鈥檚 a reference site, and has plenty of inbound links from Wikipedia since it鈥檚 fairly authoritative.

No Cloudflare, and still on HTTP. All fine on Google and Mojeek.

Also thousands of pages.

On Bing: 51 pages.

Thousands of entries have vanished since earlier this year, and I鈥檓 going to hazard a guess to say it began happening around the time you wrote your original post.

It has had a slight impact on our traffic, especially since we had promoted Duck Duck Go so heavily since 2010 and encouraged others to shift from Google to it.

It seems that Bing can now only cope with 50-odd pages from certain sites. The older sites have fewer pages indexed now on Bing than they did on Excite or Hotbot in the 1990s, and certainly far fewer than Altavista! Our sites are so incredibly varied鈥攕tatic, dynamic, HTML, PHP鈥攕o it can鈥檛 be structural or the way we have set things up. None have had issues at Google other than one that dropped in the index for a certain relevant search, and Mojeek is fine with them all and took the HTTPS shift for three of them in its stride.

These are such old sites with a history in Bing, so my feeling is that a new site won鈥檛 stand much of a chance.

This is a long way of confirming your original post: it鈥檚 not you, it鈥檚 them.

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A new video for the home page

23.07.2022

Earlier today, Amanda and I had a wonderful time at Te Papa to celebrate the Chinese Languages in Aotearoa programme. My contribution was appearing in a video, that was on this blog last October.

It dawned on me that despite being on YouTube, this really needs to be on the home page of this website, replacing the below.
 

 

It just never occurred to me any earlier how ideal the Te Papa video was, and how much it speaks to my whakapapa and my identity. But the penny has dropped now.

I know I still need to update the 2018 intro. It needs to be more profound than what appears in these blog posts.

It should also reduce confusion for visitors trying to find out more about my Toronto mayoral candidate namesake, who I note still does not have a declared website or email address on the that city’s official list.

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Posted in China, culture, Hong Kong, media, New Zealand, Wellington | No Comments »


Bing is definitely very broken, and it’s hurting Duck Duck Go

23.07.2022

The last few days have been about 鈥楬ow awesome is Mojeek?鈥 and 鈥楬ow shit is Bing?鈥

I鈥檓 finding great search results from Mojeek, and as a site search for Lucire, it鈥檚 absolutely brilliant. Blows Duck Duck Go (Bing with privacy) away, even back when DDG had a reasonably comprehensive index of our pages (before the HTTPS switch). I don鈥檛 have to subject anyone to Google tracking, and I didn鈥檛 have the hassle of installing an internal search ourselves.

Cisene, who I met via Mastodon, very helpfully suggested on that social network that I submit site maps for the Lucire website as that would take a reasonably short time to remedy Bing鈥檚 ills. I鈥檝e never had to do them for Google or Mojeek: their spiders work as they have always done since the dawn of search engines. For some reason, Bing needs its hand held if I want it to have thousands of pages again, as it did earlier this year.

One thing I found curious with Bing is its insistence, in a site search, to place a page that we have not linked to since 2005 at the very top. Of course I could delete the page or program in a forwarder, or make a 301, but I was also once told that dead links and forwarders were bad things for search engines. Our 鈥楢bout鈥 page also ranks highly in all search engines, despite not being linked to in anything we鈥檝e done in over 15 years as well.

But where鈥檚 the home page? Happily, after submitting site maps, Bing鈥檚 index of our pages went from 10 to a whopping 55, and the home page appeared for the first time in a site:lucire.com search:
 

 

鈥業t鈥檚 an improvement,鈥 I thought, though the search engine is still massively handicapped compared to where it was at the start of 2022.

Checking on Bing Webmaster Tools to see where things were, I was curious to see it claim that it could not crawl or index our home page though it was discovered in 2018:
 

 

But you just crawled and indexed it. Which is it?

The excuses this time (as Big Tech people love to make stuff that blames users) are that there are no <H1> tags (I鈥檝e got news for you, Bing: we don鈥檛 use them, and why should we? There was never any rule that stated that headlines must be between them, and no one else seems to care) and that the description is too long (again, it was fine for you before鈥攁nd actually you’ve just shown that it is fine).

They aren鈥檛 in the business of search though, as their explanations reveal. It’s seach:
 

 
Goodness knows how many years that鈥檚 been there, ignored.

It鈥檚 all so slap-dash and unprofessional, and as Duck Duck Go search results are based on Bing’s, I鈥檓 going to have to stop recommending it. Fortunately, I found Mojeek at the perfect time.

I鈥檓 also discovering that maybe Bing can no longer handle more than 50-odd pages per site anyway, which, of course, makes it useless as an engine that powers a site search. (Like I keep saying, the defunct Excite in the 1990s could do better. Any search engine from those days could spider and index more effectively.) It would be in line with other Microsoft products, such as Notepad, where the software giant now prevents us from typing or , except, presumably, people from the countries where those are the common, keyboard-accessible currency symbols. Want to write C忙sar drinks Nescaf茅? You can try, but the diphthong and will be missing.

Today I searched site:autocade.net on Bing. Now, we never switched Autocade to HTTPS. After how all our sites fell, would you risk it? This site is dependent on search-engine traffic.

And here are the number of pages each search engine brings up for a site search.
 
Google: 4,080
Mojeek: 3,348
Bing: 51
Duck Duck Go: 50
Brave: 17 (plus 4 underneath first entry)
 

So I can鈥檛 keep blaming the switch to HTTPS, though our troubles with all search engines I knew of then began around this time. Autocade still slipped in Bing despite no down time; we went to a newer Mediawiki version, but that was about it. Everything progressed as it always did.

Google eventually allowed things to recover (for the most part) with the exception of our company website (which rose up to 13th before dropping to 26th today), Mojeek never even had an issue to begin with, but Bing and Duck Duck Go don鈥檛 link to Jack Yan & Associates鈥 website till after the 40th position.

So where are we now with the sites I last looked at?
 
Number of results for site:lucire.com
Google: 6,250
Mojeek: 3,563
Bing: 53
Duck Duck Go: 53
Brave: 15 (plus 4 underneath first entry)
 
Number of results for site:jackyan.com
Google: 1,860
Mojeek: 438
Duck Duck Go: 54
Bing: 43
Brave: 13 (plus 4 underneath first entry)
 
Number of results for site:jyanet.com
Google: 743
Mojeek: 296
Bing: 49
Duck Duck Go: 49
Brave: 20
 

I honestly think Bing is broken.

Just as well no one I know uses it, but quite a number of people do opt for Duck Duck Go, because of the work it鈥檚 done in promoting privacy. I still admire them for this stance. But as many of you know, it sources its results from Bing, so if one is broken, both will be. And that鈥檚 a darned shame as I almost hit 12 years of having Duck Duck Go as my default (from August 2010 or thereabouts).

All the more reason to retain Mojeek as my default search engine.

Will I bother looking any more into Bing? Probably not, but how do I convince all those I recommended Duck Duck Go to to check out Mojeek?

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Posted in internet, marketing, publishing, technology, USA | 4 Comments »


Rand Fishkin’s 鈥楽omething is Rotten in Online Advertising鈥

21.07.2022

I鈥檝e been meaning to link Rand Fishkin鈥檚 鈥楽omething is Rotten in Online Advertising鈥 for some time, so here it is.

He writes, in his second and third paragraphs (links in original):

Where to even begin鈥 Should we start with the upcoming聽loss of third-party cookies? The bizarre Google & Facebook duopoly聽teamup against anti-trust action? The rise of online ads as a聽money laundering & terrorist-funding tactic? Or maybe we should talk about brands鈥櫬ever-shrinking ability to attribute聽ad clicks. Hundreds of millions in聽provable ad fraud.聽Disturbing privacy issues聽that remain unaffected by GDPR or other government efforts.

No wonder a lot of聽savvypeople聽believe adtech and the entire online advertising industry are due for a聽subprime-mortgage-style reckoning.

It鈥檚 a well written piece, covering ad fraud, the incentivization of ad fraud, and real-world examples, including this:

The world’s biggest con continues. The con artists don’t need to do three-card Monte any more. They can just get into ad tech. Rand’s piece is well worth a read.

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Half an hour is a long time in politics

20.07.2022

Hat tip to Johnnie Moore for this one, on Twitter earlier today.

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Posted in internet, politics, UK | No Comments »


Forget Duck Duck Go, Bing, and Google鈥擨’m trying Mojeek

17.07.2022

It was disappointing to note that after switching to HTTPS, and signing on to Bing Webmaster Tools, the search engine results for those sites of ours that made the change are still severely compromised.

I鈥檝e written about searches for my own name earlier, where my personal and company sites lost their first and second positions on all search engines that I knew of after we made the switch. Only Google has my personal site back up top, with the company site on the middle of the second page. Bing has my personal site at number two, and I鈥檇 love to tell you where the company site is, but their search engine results’ pages won鈥檛 let me advance beyond page 2 (clicking ‘next page’ lands you back on the same page; clicking 鈥3鈥 and above still keeps you on p. 2). Duck Duck Go, which uses Bing results, has it well below that鈥擨 gave up looking. And this is after I signed up to Bing Webmaster Tools in the hope I could get the sites properly catalogued.

It鈥檚 a real shame because Duck Duck Go has been my default for 12 years this August.

However, it was the loss of search results for Lucire that really bothered me. Here鈥檚 a site that鈥檚 25 years old, with plenty of inward links, and c. 5,000 pages. Before the switch to HTTPS, the popular search engines had thousands of pages from our site. These days, Bing and Duck Duck Go tell me they have dozens of pages from Lucire鈥檚 website. Again, only Google seems to have spidered everything.

When I check Bing Webmaster Tools, the spidering has been shockingly poor.

The received wisdom that you should have HTTPS instead of HTTP to do better in search engines is BS, and the belief that search engines will eventually catch up has also not been realized. We made the switch in March, and I鈥檓 to believe that Bing hasn鈥檛 completed the indexing of our sites.

Are they using the same computers New Zealand banks do? (Cheques used to clear overnight in the 1970s, and now banks tell us that even electronic payments can take days. When we last used cheques, they were telling us they would take five to seven days. Ergo, bank computers are slower today than in 1976.)

The real downer is that Lucire鈥檚 website search box is powered by Duck Duck Go, so our own site visitors can鈥檛 find the things they want to look for. If you believe some of the search engine marketing, over 40 per cent of site visitors use your search function.

What to do?

I began looking at having an internal search again. We used to have a WhatUSeek (later SiteLevel) internal site search, but that site鈥檚 search functions appear to be dead (the site is still live). A user on Mastodon recommended Sphinx Search, an open-source internal site search, but the instructions were too complex. I even saw real computer geeks having trouble. The only one that I could understand was called Sphider鈥擨 could follow the instructions and knew enough about PHP and MySql鈥攂ut it was last updated many years ago, and successive projects also looked a bit complex.

A Google internal search was absolutely out of the question, as I have no desire to expose our readers to tracking鈥攚hich is why so many other Big Tech gadgets have been removed from our site(s). Baidu and Yandex also have very limited indices for our sites.

I am very fortunate to have tried Mojeek again, a British search engine recommended to me by Matias on July 2. What I didn鈥檛 know then was Mojeek has its own spider and its own index, so it doesn鈥檛 have to license anything from Bing. And, happily, it claims to have 3,535 results from lucire.com, which might not be as good as Google鈥檚 5,830, but it beats Bing鈥檚 50 earlier today鈥攊n fact, at the time of writing, it showed a grand total of 10. That鈥檚 how bad it鈥檚 got. Duck Duck Go now has 48, also down from a few thousand before March.

Like Google, it seems to have coped with the switch to HTTPS without falling to pieces! And guess what? For a search of my own name, my personal site is number one, and our work site is number two. Presumably, Mojeek is the only search engine which coped and behaved exactly as the experts said!

You can imagine my next move. Mojeek has a site search, so now all Lucire searches are done through it. And readers can actually find stuff again instead of coming up nearly empty (or having very irrelevant results) as they have done for months.

Duck Duck Go鈥檚 lustre had been wearing off as there were recent allegations that its browser allowed Microsoft to track its users, something which Duck Duck Go boss Gabriel Weinberg personally denied on Reddit, saying that users were still anonymous when loading their search results.

I still have good memories of chatting to Gabriel in the early days and figuring out ways of spreading the word on Duck Duck Go. My contribution was going to hotels and changing the search defaults on business centre computers. Back then I had the impression Duck Duck Go did some of its own spidering, but these days, if Bing has a shitty index for your site, the Duck will follow suit. And with HTTPS not living up to its promise, that鈥檚 simply not good enough.

Tonight, Mojeek is very much the site of the day here, and I heartily recommend you try it out. I鈥檝e switched the desktop to Mojeek as a default, and I鈥檒l see how it all progresses. Right now I feel it deserves our support more than Duck Duck Go. Finally, we might truly have an alternative to Google, and it鈥檚 run from the UK鈥檚 greenest data centre. With our servers now being greener, too, running out of Finland, the technology is starting to match up to our beliefs.
 

Google, the biggest index of them all
 

Mojeek, a creditable second place
 

This is it on Bing: a 25-year-old history on the web, and it says it has 10 pages from lucire.com. Altavista, Excite and Hotbot had more in the 1990s
 

Duck Duck Go is slightly better, with 48 results鈥攄own from the thousands it once had
 
After switching to HTTPS
Number of results for lucire.com
Google: 5,830
Mojeek: 3,535 (containing the word Lucire, as term-less searches are not allowed)
Duck Duck Go: 48
Bing: 10
 
Number of results for jackyan.com
Google: 878
Mojeek: 437 (containing the term “Jack Yan”)
Duck Duck Go: 54
Bing: 24
 
Number of results for jyanet.com
Google: 635
Mojeek: 297 (containing the word jyanet)
Duck Duck Go: 46
Bing: 10
 

Presumably the only search engine that could handle a server going from HTTP to HTTPS and preserving the domains’ positions

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If corporate America says it, it鈥檚 probably untrue

16.07.2022


Le dernier.
 
I see the Le Snak range has now left us, after its US owner PepsiCo cited a lack of demand. I call bullshit, since during 2021 it was becoming increasingly difficult to find them on the shelves. Throttling distribution is not the same as a lack of demand, something you see time and time again with corporate claptrap.

It鈥檚 like the myth that New Zealanders all prefer automatic transmissions. No, not supplying manuals will inevitably force people to change. Has the industry done a survey as I have? Last time I conducted one, in the 2010s, we were still running 50鈥50, with a lot of people saying, 鈥業 prefer a manual, but I had no choice but to buy an automatic.鈥

Ford is a useful example of US companies citing reduced demand but doing things behind the scenes to ensure it. The line that no one was buying big cars saw to the end of the road for the Australian Falcon and the closure of its Broadmeadows plant. Did any of you see any advertising for the Falcon leading up to that? Or see many Falcons on dealer lots? It seems to me that a corporate decision had been made, and steps taken to guarantee an outcome. Throttle the distribution (鈥榃e鈥檙e out of stock鈥) and of course demand falls.

Get your tape measures out, and you鈥檒l find the Falcon was smaller than the Mondeo (which at that point was still selling) on key measures other than overall length and, presumably, boot volume. The two-litre Ecoboost Falcon with its rear-wheel drive was promoted with all the energy of a damp squid, but it had all the ingredients for success as a decent-handling sedan. But Broadmeadows was an inefficient plant, from what I understand (from hearsay), and bringing it up to speed would have cost more than a bunch of Pinto lawsuits. ‘But there’s no demand for what it builds anyway!’ they cry. Then they can justify the closure.

Go back to the 1990s and the same thing happened with Ford鈥檚 Contour and Mystique twins in the US. People were buying BMW 3-series in droves, cars the same size as the Contour. But Ford claimed there was no demand, leading to its US cancellation after the 2000 model year. Reality: I say the Dearborn fiefdom didn鈥檛 like the fact the Contour was part of a world-car project (which gave us the original Mondeo) led by Ford鈥檚 K枚ln fiefdom. Not-invented-here killed the Contour, and a relative lack of promotion also guaranteed its fate. (Ford would wind up contesting the segment again later in the 2000s with the Fusion and Milan, but put far more effort into promoting them since they were US-led programmes. I actually saw advertising for them in US magazines! I saw a Milan in Manhattan with Mercury encouraging us to try it out!)

If you take the line that anything a big US firm utters is an utter lie, it keeps you in good stead. Use that approach with Facebook, for instance, and you鈥檒l find things make sense more often than not. And of course we all knew what Elon Musk meant when he said he wanted to buy Twitter.

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