Is Google now the Wayback Machine, too?
Since I haven’t used Google regularly since 2010, I can’t do what’s called a longitudinal study, though when I started examining search engine results for Lucire after Bing tanked last year, nothing in my Google searches jumped out at me—till earlier in 2023.
I guess wherever Bing goes, Google follows, since they’re not really innovators—they did well in search, but everything else seems to be about following or acquiring.
Not really: site:jackyan.com still shows my mayoral campaign pages, even though they haven’t been linked since the day before the 2013 mayoral election. And site:jyanet.com, which I tried at the weekend, has some ancient things, there, too.
Like Bing, Google has some trouble crossing into this side of 2010.
Let’s look at the top 10.
1. Home page. Current, so that’s good. And at least it’s the home page. Bing doesn’t always give you one.
2. CAP Online, last updated 2008, and very sporadically between 2001 and 2008. I don’t think we’ve linked it since then. Maybe, at best, a year later.
3. Lucire’s original home page from 1997. This hasn’t been linked since we got Lucire its own domain in 1998—25 years ago.
4. Our press information pages. Fair enough, and current.
5. JY&A Media. Relevant and currently linked.
6. JY&A Consulting’s old page. Hasn’t been linked by us since 2010. I imagine some might still link to it? But it gets a 404, and has done for a long time. Why rank it so highly?
7. JY&A Fonts. Current and relevant; I would have thought it would rank more highly.
8–10. Press releases from between 2007 and 2009.
I’ve benefited from search engines grandfathering things, but I really couldn’t believe my eyes with pages we haven’t linked to in anywhere between 13 and 25 years. And not that many people would have maintained their links to these pages, either. Certainly the Fonts and Media pages should be up further with links in, and current internal links on our site.
For (6), I don’t have the knowledge to do 301s and a refresh page might penalize jya.co, where the Consulting website is today.
When we took the site to HTTPS last year, both experts and friends told me that it would take a matter of days or weeks for Google to restore its position; that one would not get penalized for going to a secure server. That, I discovered, was not the case. Search engines don’t update, not as regularly as you might think. If what I am seeing is any indication, search engines in 2023 have massive trouble updating, and the top 10 reflect the status of your website as it was a long time ago. For jyanet.com, the top 10 would be perfect if it was 2009; for jackyan.com, it’s how things were in 2013; and for lucire.com, it’s a bit more of a hybrid of what was current in 2005 (framesets! And the old entertainment page) and some pages from after 2011 (including current home and shopping pages).
I don’t care how Google defends itself or blames others for its decreasing ability to find relevant pages; it’s blatantly obvious its search has worsened.