My apologies to the late screenwriter Murray Smith’s family for using him as an example for this search engine analysis, but it proves a point of how useless Google is.
Apart from the Companies’ Office in the UK, there’s very little recorded about Murray by his legal name. This blog is one of the few places where he’s mentioned. This very basic search makes you wonder just how badly Google categorizes the sites it has spidered—or how much of a vested interest it has in showing splogs and spun sites ahead of legitimate ones. Are we being censored? After all, we know Google censors and that they have extremely thin skin.
I’ve tracked blog visits here and in January, ours have fared very badly compared to a year ago. I’ve stopped blaming Bing because Google’s ability to pick up PHP pages seems to have declined, and this entire blog is PHP.
Here’s how the search looks on Mojeek.
Not too bad. Without the quotation marks, Mojeek does what it should do: look for pages with the greatest incidences of the words. I do wish it would have put the site with the four names in sequential order first, but I am biased. Placing the name in quotes does place this site first.
Here’s where the disappointment begins. Google:
Nothing. Not even in the top 30 or so (I’ve kept a screenshot).
How about putting the name into quotes?
Just two results, from a site that has pulled its data from the UK Companies’ Office, and not the office itself. See what I mean about Google rewarding these sites? Checkcompany.co.uk might not be a splog or spun site, but it may have been created by trawling public data.
How’s Bing? The good news: it recognizes that Murray-Smith is a surname, though it gives the wrong person for most entries from the first page—except for one, which is for the man himself. It’s an Ancestry.com link. Strange that nothing from the Companies’ Office has come up, but we know how bad Bing can be.
Here’s the real kicker, and I’ve been able to repeat this on different days. If I reload the results on Google, it senses that I was annoyed and decides to do the search properly. The result: this blog’s entry on the subject appears up top.
But who reloads entries? Probably no one.
Therefore, we know Google has spidered this blog. It chooses to not show results from it, probably because I keep saying Google’s ad business is a negligence lawsuit waiting to happen (repeating does not help). I don’t know how they’ll explain that reloads give you better search results. And we know they intentionally give bad results anyway, to keep the share price up.