Robert_Charlton - 6:18 am on Oct 23, 2010 (gmt 0)
Just today I did a site: search for something that I know is there, just not sure what the URL is, using a long quoted phrase -- and I got nothing.
This is interesting, because the same thing happened to me both today and yesterday. When I searched for a quoted phrase on a page I knew existed, Google did the following...
a) said that the quoted phrase didn't exist and switched to an unquoted search...
b) and then returned the page with the unquoted phrase highlighted. It matched the quoted search exactly.
<slightly offtopic> I've been seeing variations of this for months now, and I have a strong hunch it's got something to do with a problem Google might be having on its tiered posting lists (covered in one of its patents on its phrase-based indexing scheme).
Google will often return an exact phrase that it say isn't there when you make the search more general... either by unquoting it, as here, or by adding an extra word.
We've been discussing this on the "Exact Long Tail Phrases in the Title are Not Ranking Well" discussion, and, to avoid taking this thread away from the original question, I think I'll post more complete thoughts over there, at...
Exact Long Tail Phrases in the Title are Not Ranking Well